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Ruby In Steel PE (free edition) 1.0 Released

Go grab a copy...
by Huw Collingbourne
Monday 26 February 2007.

Version 1.0 of the free Personal Edition of Ruby In Steel went online today. There haven’t been too many changes since the last release (RC2) though, by popular request, we’ve made the splash screen less intrusive ;-)

This version is free, it is not time-limited and it has no restrictions on its use.

Let me go over those points one by one…

Free : Yup, it costs all of Zero Dollars, Pounds, Euros and Yen…
Not Time-Limited : It won’t bomb out at some arbitrary date. Unlike the beta releases…
No Restrictions On Use : You can use it to program for fun or for money. Go ahead, we don’t mind, honestly…

So where’s the catch? Well, as far as I know there isn’t one. You do have to own a copy of Visual Studio 2005 (standard edition or above) which may look like a catch if you don’t already own it. But, bearing in mind that Ruby In Steel is aimed at users of Visual Studio, I’m guessing that this shouldn’t be too big a catch for most of the people who are reading this blog…

But maybe you think that Ruby In Steel PE is a ‘cut down’ version of our commercial product, a piece of software which has been deliberately crippled? Nope, that isn’t so. In fact, it is, in essence, the full version of Ruby In Steel up until the point at which we started work on IntelliSense and the fast ‘Cylon’ debugger. Until September 2006, there was only one version of Ruby In Steel. That version had colour coding for Ruby and RHTML, code collapsing, project management, built-in dialogs to run Rails scripts and start the server, plus an integrated visual debugger with breakpoints, watch variables, step in/out/over, call stack and so on. Those features have all been retained in the Personal Edition. In the months between last September and now we’ve smoothed off a few rough edges and fixed a few bugs, but we haven’t added any significant new features.

Meanwhile, we have been working on new features for the commercial edition, Ruby In Steel Developer. The two biggies, to date, have been IntelliSense (syntax-and-scope-sensitive code completion, hovering parameter info tooltips, navigation bars etc.) and the ultra-fast ‘Cylon’ debugger. There have been other additions too including Ruby ‘quick-expand’ snippets, a dedicated Ruby snippet editor, drill-down watch variables in the debugger, hover-and-drill-down variables in the Ruby console, support for more servers (WEBrick, Mongrel LightTPD), thread-safe debugging, keyword-end matching, the Ruby Explorer class navigator and so on.

As time goes by, the differences between the PE and the Developer Edition will increase. We already have extra debugging features under development and we’ll be launching a ‘Visual Rails’ edition to integrate web page design capabilities with Rails later this spring.

But this does not mean that the PE is not a ‘serious’ IDE. On the contrary, as I said, it was our default IDE, our only IDE up until September of last year. I personally have done a great deal of quite complex Ruby and Rails development using Ruby In Steel PE. I hope that some of you will do so too…

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