RubyConf: RubyCLR

For the last session of RubyConf 2006, John Lam gave a talk by the name “You got your Ruby in my CLR!” RubyCLR is “a high-performance Ruby to .NET bridge that allows seamless integration of CLR and Ruby objects in the same Win32 process.” RubyCLR started as a tradition. John has a three-year-old son and for his first birthday John wanted to give him something other than plastic toys. For his son’s first birthday, John wrote a python program. John said that this was a way for him to “hack on family time.” For his son’s second birthday, John wanted to write a Ruby program that interoperated with Microsoft/CLR libraries for a flash card like game.

John had some code samples of how of using RubyCLR to develop a Windows Forms application. RubyCLR is open to C# hacks, it allows inline C# code in Ruby files! RubyCLR makes .NET suck less. John also talked about another scenario for using RubyCLR in a .NET environment. He stated that XAML is just too verbose and that with RubyCLR developer can use the XML Builder approach to building Avalon UI applications.

If you want to adopt a technology like RubyCLR, or JRuby for that matter, John suggests that you introduce it in non-threating tasks such as testing or administrative scripting. Another interesting quote by John was when he said “everything in life is easy until you turn on security.” He made this comment when asked about how he deals with opening a Ruby class when it has passed the verifier. I am sure he will come up with an interesting solution to issues like security, especially now that John Lam has been hired by Microsoft to continue his work with RubyCLR.

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