Ruby on Rails IDE geared to Visual Studio 2008 users

SapphireSteel extends product line for developers used to Microsoft’s software development platform

By Paul Krill (infoworld.com)


SaphireSteel Software, which helps Microsoft Visual Studio users work with the Ruby on Rails Web framework, launched on Monday a version of its Ruby In Steel IDE embedded with Visual Studio 2008 capabilities.

Ruby In Steel Text Edition, priced at $49, is hosted in the Visual Studio 2008 Shell, which enables tools to be built based on the Visual Studio IDE. With Text Edition, developers do not need to have their own copy of Visual Studio as they have with the previously released Ruby In Steel Developer Edition, said Huw Collingbourne, SapphireSteel technology director.

“We put all our support into Visual Studio so the end-user gets a Ruby-flavored edition of Visual Studio,” with its attendant capabilities, Collingbourne said.

Use of the Visual Studio Shell gives SapphireSteel a chance to compete with Eclipse-based IDEs, such as CodeGear’s 3rdRail, which also is billed as a Rails IDE, SapphireSteel said. But 3rdRail costs $399.

Text Edition does not support Microsoft languages like C# or C++, but HTML designer and JavaScript support is included. While lacking the high-performance debugger and IntelliSense code completion capabilities of the $199 Ruby In Steel Developer Edition, Text Edition features both RHTML and embedded Ruby in Rails editing.

“[Developers] have the choice of which templating system they want to develop in,” said Collingbourne.

Ruby in Steel Text Edition and tools like it received a thumbs-up from Ruby on Rails founder David Heinemeier Hansson in an e-mail on Monday.

“I have not used it myself, but I’m very happy to see this growth spurt of new tools dedicated to Ruby on Rails crop up,” Hansson said. “Ruby In Steel is particularly interesting to developers coming over from the Microsoft world as Visual Studio is a familiar environment to them. That’ll likely ease the transition.”

Other features in Text Edition include code coloring and folding for focusing on specific parts of code, auto-expand snippets plus a snippet editor, bracket and keyword matching, and code formatting tools.

Integrated debugging with step into/over/watch variables is featured; developers can see how variables change.

Also offered is customization with alternative color schemes, integrated command prompt and docked interactive Ruby and IRB (Interactive Ruby) consoles. Users also get an all-in-one setup program to install Visual Studio, Ruby, Ruby In Steel, and the MySQL database. Comprehensive documentation and help are offered as well.

Paul Krill is editor at large at InfoWorld.


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