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Is ruby a viable corporate alternative?

 
 
Wilson Bilkovich
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      11-29-2006
On 11/29/06, Richard Conroy <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> I am not sure what you mean by *corporate* alternative, that term in
> my mind suggests internal applications to an enterprise.
>
> One area that Ruby is going to have trouble with is on Windows. Ruby is a great
> experience on Unix & Mac environments, but it can get pretty clunky on windows.
> For GUI-based applications you can have some byzantine install procedures
> (the GUI admin client installation for SQLite takes the ****).
>
> Rails on Linux massively outperforms Rails on Windows, thats probably not a huge
> deal, but the support ecology is biased towards Unix environments - don't expect
> the plugins and libraries to always have windows equivalents or the
> windows equivalents
> may be less mature or less well tested (not enough eyes). Often you simply have
> less options as a developer when you are shipping on a windows platform (like
> no Capistrano).
>
> Ruby is a great language but if windows development is of primary
> interest to you,
> you will have to curtail your ambitions or research the problem thoroughly.
>
>


I've done some Ruby GUI apps on Win32, and distributed them across a
large enterprise.

My best recommendation is to learn a scriptable install language for
Windows. The one I use is:
http://nsis.sourceforge.net/

RubyScript2EXE is great, but it's insanely hard to make it bootstrap a
Windows system to a ready state on its own.
I ended up making an NSIS package that:
1. Checked the registry to see if the current version of the
application was installed.
1a. If yes, launch the app with the appropriate 'rubyw.exe' invocation.
1b. If no, perform the install.

Updating everyone to a new version is then just a matter of pushing
down a single EXE file. The next time they run the app, it will
update.

Still, I'm sure Linux people are cringing at how convoluted that
sounds. It does work, though, and works about as well as anything ever
does on Windows.

 
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Richard Conroy
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      11-29-2006
On 11/29/06, Wilson Bilkovich <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> On 11/29/06, Richard Conroy <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
> > I am not sure what you mean by *corporate* alternative, that term in
> > my mind suggests internal applications to an enterprise.
> >

>
> I've done some Ruby GUI apps on Win32, and distributed them across a
> large enterprise.
>
> My best recommendation is to learn a scriptable install language for
> Windows. The one I use is:
> http://nsis.sourceforge.net/


This is solid advice for any kind of Windows development. Windows
installers are ridiculously more difficult than they need to be.

> RubyScript2EXE is great, but it's insanely hard to make it bootstrap a
> Windows system to a ready state on its own.
> I ended up making an NSIS package that:
> 1. Checked the registry to see if the current version of the
> application was installed.
> 1a. If yes, launch the app with the appropriate 'rubyw.exe' invocation.
> 1b. If no, perform the install.
>
> Updating everyone to a new version is then just a matter of pushing
> down a single EXE file. The next time they run the app, it will
> update.


Yeah, its the application update bit that really makes your flesh
crawl.

 
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gregarican
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      11-29-2006
This is exactly the situation I still find myself in. Perhaps 80% of
the time I can do what I need to do using Ruby. The other 20% of the
time I switch to Python to do the job. Over time hopefully Ruby becomes
more and more Windows-oriented. At least to the degree it's Mac and
Linux friendly.

Brad Tilley wrote:
>
> When I have to muck around with security descriptors or other more complex
> windows specific stuff, I general use Python when Ruby cannot do the task as
> easily.


 
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Mr P
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      12-07-2006

Ken Bloom wrote:
 
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Robert Klemme
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      12-07-2006
On 07.12.2006 17:18, Mr P wrote:
> Those of you who cited productivity improvements were particularly
> interesting and I found your enthusiam contagious.


Be careful, no cure has been found so far. Everybody who starts
searching got infected and... ok, now *I* am getting carried away here.

> I've asked every developer on our team to complete a lengthy RUBY
> tutorial, and every one of them has gone into it grumbling that I'm
> making them do something they didn't want to do. But upon completion,
> every one has been excited and positive about the language. So I think
> we're on the right track. They were excited about being able to learn
> the fundamentals of a new language so quickly, and as I'm sure you've
> heard- I kept hearing "this is JUST LIKE PERL", or "This is better than
> the JAVA syntax.." etc.


Sounds good! I'm just wondering: they certainly said "this is JUST LIKE
PERL - but much better", did they?

> Thanks so much, onward into the fray!


Good luck - and have a lot of fun along the way!

Kind regards

robert
 
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Chris McMahon
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      12-07-2006

Mr P wrote:

> Anyhow- as the team director, I'm always *looking ahead*. Although Perl
> is still serving us well, I'm thinking for the benefit of our
> developers ( to get more languages in their personal toolkit ) as well
> as making productivity improvements through OO design and the ruby
> environment, I'm starting to talk up and promote Ruby as the NEXT
> language.


I am a professional software tester, and I started my career by reading
COBOL and C, but doing no programming. I started programming seriously
with Perl and picked up Ruby because of the Watir project, and because
Ruby was becoming the de facto language for serious software testers.

Today I mostly use Ruby, but have no problems switching to Perl if the
Perl tools are better, or if Perl is a better fit for the environment.
For instance, when I need Expect, I use Perl's, because it's better
than Ruby's. When I need a SOAP client, I use Ruby's, because soap4r
is better than *everybody's*. Also, you can't beat Perl for serious
network programming, mostly thanks to the work of Lincoln Stein.

You might keep an eye out for Brian Marick's new book, which has all
kinds of examples of neat things to do with Ruby. I'll bet there are
some miniature projects in there that your team could try.
http://pragmaticprogrammer.com/titles/bmsft/index.html

 
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David Vallner
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      12-07-2006
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Mr P wrote:
> I've already forwarded the TIOBE page to the team and
> seen favorable responses.
>


[insert rant about how TIOBE is pure, unadulterated bull here]

One word: inconclusive. About anything.

David Vallner


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