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Ruby, Sapphire and Amethyst

Or ’jam tomorrow’...
by Huw Collingbourne
Friday 27 July 2007.

The Queen said. ’The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday - but never jam to-day.’
’It MUST come sometimes to "jam to-day,"’ Alice objected.
’No, it can’t,’ said the Queen. ’It’s jam every OTHER day: to-day isn’t any OTHER day, you know.’

Over the past year and a half or so we’ve tried to be as open about our developments plans as possible. In fact, that’s the main reason for having this Blog. I know from my own past experience that there is nothing quite so frustrating as having a “Wall of PR” standing between you, the customer, and the people who are actually developing your software.

But there are some things we have under development, and other things that we have planned, which we don’t talk about. That’s not because we are being super secretive. It’s usually because either a) those things as so far into the future that they just aren’t relevant to people using our software or b) we don’t even know ourselves how our plans will turn out. They may, for example, be dependent on things going on at Microsoft - such as the precise features of Visual Studio 2008 or the Dynamic Language Runtime.

Even so, I think it is only reasonable for users of Ruby In Steel to ask - “Yes, but what’s coming next?”

We’ve already spoken in general terms about the next significant release of Ruby In Steel Developer. This will focus on consolidating and extending the current Rails features. We will release an integrated Rails web page designer (‘The Visual Rails Workbench’) and will also have a ‘Ruby Connector’ to let your .NET programs ‘talk to’ the Ruby interpreter or create visual front-ends to Ruby in using the VS form designer with languages such as C#, VB or Chrome.

After the release of 1.2 we’ll be concentrating on general enhancements to usability, plus additional editing, debugging and IntelliSense improvements.

And in the longer term...?

Right back at the start of the Ruby In Steel public beta, in early 2006, we announced that we have a future project code-named Sapphire. That project remains our goal but it is far too early to give its specifics. What I can say, however, is that this will be aimed at the .NET side of the Ruby equation.

We also have another project which we have not previously announced and which I can announce today for the first time. This project is code-named Amethyst. Again, it’s too early to give details. What I can say is that Amethyst will comprise a dramatic extension to the Ruby In Steel development environment and this will precede Sapphire.

Now, already I can see that I may be in danger of falling into the trap I mentioned earlier - by talking about things that are some way off (jam tomorrow?) when what our customers really want to know is what we are doing to help them get their work done today...

Well, just to reiterate: Ruby In Steel 1.2 will be out before the end of the year and this will have a number of fairly significant new tools for Ruby and (particularly) for Rails developers. Currently all our effort is going into making Ruby In Steel 1.2 the best Ruby On Rails development IDE available.

However, development won’t stop - or even slow down - there. We are determined to innovate as we take Ruby In Steel (and, ultimately, Sapphire In Steel) forward with the Amethyst and Sapphire projects.

Stick around, it should be interesting... ;-)

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