In another step towards PaaS provider Engine Yard becoming a fully featured multi language platform player, they are today announcing that JRuby on Engine Yard is entering general availability. Timed to coincide with next week’s JavaOne conferent, JRuby is a Java implementation of the Ruby language that Engine Yard initially supported. Using JRuby, Java developers can use Ruby to extend the capabilities of their existing Java applications or create new applications that leverage existing Java software components.

This implementation is the first multi threaded implementation of Ruby to have full production support and hence allows end users to gain benefits of multiple concurrency. Dr Nic Williams, VP of Technology at Engine Yard also points out that “Engine Yard is the first platform to make available all stable, production-ready Ruby implementations, including JRuby, MRI, and Rubinius.”

JRuby itself is a Ruby runtime that runs on the JVM and delivers the advantages of Ruby along with full Java interoperability. Ruby applications running on JRuby benefit significantly from the JVM’s multi-threading and other performance strengths. Engineyard is also bullish about some other benefits that JRuby brings including;

  1. Concise syntax (compared to Java)
  2. Ruby is dynamically typed, as opposed to Java which is static
  3. Ruby supports code blocks
  4. JRuby ships with complete Java integration
  5. Ruby supports mixins
  6. Ruby classes are mutable
  7. Ruby programs need no compile step

Three of the JRuby open source project’s four core contributors work at Engine Yard, including Thomas Enebo, Charles Nutter and Nick Sieger. Engine Yard also sponsors the development of Trinidad and employs its primary developer, David Calavera. Trinidad is an application server designed to run Rack applications within Apache Tomcat, a lightweight Java web server and a key enabler for JRuby support.

The bottom line is that much of the enterprise development world still lives in Java – this additional functionality allows those existing assets and programming skills to be synergized with the speed and agility of Ruby. It also sees Engine Yard further its own ambition (and, to be honest, the ambition of most PaaS players) to become a true language and framework agnostic development platform. With the recent acquisition of Orchestra, Engine Yard added PHP to its PaaS along with the original Ruby on Rails, with Java now in the fold that ticks another box, it will be interesting to see which is the next language they go for – perhaps .NET? To push the adoption of this integration, Engine Yard is offering developers 500 free compute hours for JRuby on their platform.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

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