Patrick Joyce

May 19, 2007

Ruby Tooling: State of the Art

Brian Leanord

How’s Neteans Like Rails

  • Free
  • Open Source
  • Plug-in Architecture
  • Large community

Download latest Ruby-only IDE from ther CI server

Or you can download the IDE 6.0 preview (M9)

Daily improvements. They do a milestone every 5 weeks.

Not actually Ruby, it runs with JRuby But configurable to use Native Ruby

Code complete, integrated RDoc. You can jump from controller to view and vice versa. You can also jump directly to the tests via keyboard shortcut.

Can run servers (mongrel or webbrick)

Can run arbitrary generators and get their descriptions in one place from the IDE.

The integrated RDoc and code completion is really cool. I love textmate, but I often wish I didn’t always have to remember the exact name for every single method call. DHH even botched a method name during his keynote yesterday. I don’t know if it would be a good idea to learn rails or ruby using this but I definitely think that there is a huge amount of potential for tooling moving forward. What I’d be really interested in is how they handle figuring out scoping and such with such a dynamic language but unfortunately this seems like more of a commercial than a technical discussion.

It has Local history! This is a feature that I really loved in Eclipse and miss in all the other editors I use.

I like their visual diff.

They have “templates” that are similar to TextMate snippets. They have a bunch, and are planning on cloning all the TextMate snippets.

They have built in regex documentation and builder that is ctrl-space sensitive. They also have one for date format strings. Nice!


They have a graphical debugger that is built of of the Fast Ruby Degugger gem. Only works with native Ruby for now, not JRuby. Similar to Visual Studio or Eclipse interactive debugger. Will loook really familiar to any of their users. I think that the irb based debugger that DHH demoed yesterday may be more powerful, but not having to context switch may be valuable. I think that this debugger might be really useful for learning the framework or an app.

Can set breakpoints in view code. Pretty cool.

Can you kick into the debugger from tests?

He thinks so.

Can you run the tests?

Tests are run from the rake task in a console window. Not yet a harness that shows everything green and red or continuously runs them in the background or anything.

They’ve really doe a huge amount of work, but part of what this shows is how little


  • Rails Console
  • Automated Refactoring
  • Better code completion for rails framework.

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