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Ruby and Flex Developments In 2009

Plans For The Year Ahead
by Huw Collingbourne
Thursday 1 January 2009.

As we enter the New Year, I thought this would be a good opportunity to bring you up to date with our plans for the months ahead.

Here’s a preview of the Amethyst Designer, which will be exclusive to the Amethyst ‘Professional’ IDE. It’s too early to go into details of its capabilities but there are a few clues in the screenshot. Incidentally, to prove that this really is our ‘development’ version, you can see that some of the glyphs on the toolbox are incorrect - suffice to say, we’ll fix those in the finished version!

Regular readers of this blog can’t have failed to have noticed that we will be branching out this year into the exciting world of Flex development. And when I say ‘exciting’, I really mean it. Adobe’s Flex is a terrific framework for developing cross-platform applications to deploy either on the web or (using the ‘AIR runtime’) on the desktop. Flex uses Flash graphics which means that you can design really good looking user interfaces that not only have all the ‘controls’ you’d expect - such as text boxes and data grids - but can also make full use of static or animated graphics effects too.

Our Flex IDE is called Amethyst. We released the first public beta in December and we’ll release the second beta before the end of January. The first beta concentrated on core editing functionality such as code colouring, code folding and configurable source code formatting. The second beta will provide IntelliSense code-completion. Soon we will also release a version with integrated debugging.

All the features mentioned above will be available in our free product, Amethyst PE. We are also working on a commercial product, Amethyst Professional, which will have all the features of Amethyst PE plus significantly enhanced IntelliSense and debugging and a fully integrated drag-and-drop design workplace - the Amethyst Designer (seen above). Development on the Professional edition is currently well advanced and a public beta will be released within the next few months.

Meanwhile, we are also continuing to develop Ruby In Steel and we will release the latest update, Ruby In Steel 1.4 (which, as always, is a free upgrade to registered users), within the next few weeks. This will have a few new editing and IntelliSense features which we’ll describe in more detail shortly, plus fixes for some pretty obscure bugs which have been reported to us by users.

Incidentally, Ruby In Steel users who’ve never used Flex before really should give it a try. Using a framework such as Rails, you can create ‘back ends’ (the Model and Controllers) of your applications which use Flex at the ‘front end’ (the View). I really love developing Rails apps with Flex as they just look so darn’ nice. I plan to write a tutorial shortly that will show you how to create a Rails+Flex application in a single Visual Studio solution using Ruby In Steel plus Amethyst.

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