The other – Ruby.NET – was created by Wayne Kelly, at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), in Brisbane, Australia. My city. Where I live. Which is great, because Wayne is going to talk about Ruby.NET on Monday night.
[/end infommercial for Ruby meetup]
[start of critique on why the hell I don't know tickitty-boo about Ruby.NET, and the perils of Open Sourcing something that no one knows anything about]
RubyCLR/IronRuby and Ruby.NET have the same aim – to allow Ruby to be used to write .NET apps, in addition to the other languages you can run on the .NET CLR (common language runtime) – C#, C++, J# and VB.
So if RubyCLR is now Microsoft IronRuby, and is being shipped with Silverlight and thus/probably with Visual Studio 2008, does this mean RubyCLR won and Ruby.NET lost?
Hint: refer to “I don’t know tickitty-boo about Ruby.NET” above and Microsoft’s $X trillian market cap and pervasive promotion of Silverlight lately.
I can’t compare the two projects technically, but I can compare them from a marketing/community perspective, and with a healthy dose of sarcasm. I also want to ask you for help – even if you haven’t used Ruby.NET nor ever will. Its an anti-Microsoft thing. Read on…
From the get-go, John Lam has talked and blogged about RubyCLR/IronRuby. It even had a fancy website back in its RubyCLR days, with a logo and everything. John will be at RubyConf in Charlotte NC in November, talking about IronRuby.
Ruby.NET doesn’t have its own website – its just a page somewhere on the QUT domain – http://plas2003.fit.qut.edu.au/Ruby.NET/, with updates that aren’t available via RSS.
Ruby.NET doesn’t have a blog, nor does Wayne. Oooh, I found Wayne has a 1995-compliant “who am I?” page, including the 1995-edition yellow balls .
But, he did do this video with the Ch9 MSDN site.
This isn’t a dig at Wayne entirely – I haven’t met him yet and hopefully he finds the above funny enough that he’ll still talk to me
Rather, this is a call for help for getting Ruby onto .NET in a safe, friendly, Microsoft-free, open source way. Its about World Peace.
Ruby.NET maybe open sourced, but as a project and a movement, it needs help: “I am inexperienced at managing this kind of open source project I need your help and advice.” [Wayne]
Lots and lots of Ruby developers are sitting on Windows boxes, and probably a lot of them do/have written .NET stuff. Blending Ruby into .NET means awesome WinForms loveliness with a decent language behind the scenes.
So, on Monday, Wayne is going to show off his wares. If you are in Brisbane, come along. For everyone else, I’ll park the video camera at the back of the room.
Now, before I ask you for assistance, I need to tell this story (blockquoted for dramatic effect):
I was at Web Directions South conference a few weeks ago, which Microsoft helped sponsor, and had a large booth at the front door promoting Silverlight.
I met some of the Silverlight people at drinks and got talking to one guy who was an ex-programmer-come-spruiker, and the conversation degraded as follows:
Him: IE7 was delayed for a long time because 'ajax' came out and it scared Microsoft.
Me: Microsoft of f@#ked up IE7 on purpose?
Him: We have shareholders.
Me: So you did it on purpose?
[Me: exits the table]
This translates directly into my fears for IronRuby (similarly concerned are Martin Fowler and Ola Bini). Microsoft was persecuted for modifying Java outside the license agreement. Shareholders first, community last, and all that.
Ruby.NET isn’t my project, but I envisage it to be an important project.
But it will be an abandoned trivial project unless it gets a community of users, the corresponding portion of patchers, and a corresponding portion of core developers.
To my mind, Ruby.NET needs marketing help. It needs a website + blog, logo + identity: a place for users to feel proud of, a site they can show their bosses when they are trying to convert their team from C#.NET to Ruby.NET.
You don’t need to use Ruby.NET to be able to help here.
If you can help, please contact Wayne directly.
Alternately, if you have any public thoughts on how Wayne can build a community around the project etc, go for gold below.
NOTE: I’ve never built a large community around any more my projects so I can’t claim any real high-ground over the Ruby.NET project. But I do know I’d rather have choice in my Ruby for .NET implementations, and Ruby.NET is only going to be a choice if it can become a self-sustaining project.
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