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4/1/2010
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Engine Yard Supports JRuby For Java Apps

The San Francisco supplier of services for running Ruby applications in the cloud now supports JRuby used with Java applications.

Engine Yard, the platform for running Ruby on Rails applications in the cloud, now supports the use of JRuby, the version of the Ruby interpreter that works inside Java applications.

The support gives Java developers who've wanted the speed and flexibility of the Ruby language to serve as an additional resource for their applications can get professional support in doing so. Engine Yard employs three of the top JRuby developers: Charles Nutter, Thomas Enebo, and Nick Sieger. A fourth core developer is Ola Bini, employed by ThoughtWorks of Chicago, a supplier of Agile software development tools.

"There are businesses that have a hard time adopting new technology (such as Ruby) without commercial support. People can now buy developer support contracts" as of March 30, said Enebo in an interview. They will get priority support in identifying and fixing JRuby bugs or resolving technical issues in the use of JRuby. Support contracts are available at $2,000 a month.

Using the Ruby on Rails framework and JRuby in place of Java "allows you to connect the dots in an application. It has conventions on where the code is supposed to go and a well-designed place for everything" in the Ruby on Rails framework, said Sieger.

Ruby on Rails is known for its speed of development because the Rails framework can provide basic models and views needed by an application aimed at Web site operations. It can make use of JavaScript and some Java libraries and invoke lightweight Web services for an application.

Many laborious tasks in Java can be solved more quickly using Ruby. The JRuby interpreter allows that code to be used with or integrated directly into Java applications. The interpreter converts Ruby code into the intermediate Java Byte code that runs in the Java Virtual Machine.

Only a handful of languages can do so outside JavaScript and Java itself. Two others are Groovy on Grails, now owned by VMware, and the open source Jython interpreter for compiling Python to Java byte code.

Engine Yard has established itself in San Francisco as a leading hosting service for Ruby applications. By supporting the wider use of JRuby, Engine Yard is seeking to enlarge the community of developers making use of Ruby on Rails and potentially enlarging the body of work that can run in the Engine Yard cloud service.

JRuby is open source code that can be downloaded here.

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