2007 Predictions, a look back

by Pat Eyler

Last year at about this time, I made some predictions about the Ruby world in 2007 , and now it’s time to hold myself accountable, and to point out some things I missed. Here are my predictions along with some corrections where needed:

  • Refactoring tools—I wrote that 2007 would be the year we’d start to see real refactoring tools. This turned out to partially right, as netbeans was released with refactoring support. A number of other IDEs have also ramped up their refactoring support. Stand-alone tools have lagged though, so the editor users among us are still waiting.
  • YARV —With the merging of YARV into the Ruby development tree and now the release of 1.9.0, Ruby’s official VM really hit the big time this year.
  • RSpec—RSpec also hit the big time in 2007. According to a survey I ran recently, nearly half of Ruby developers are using RSpec.
  • JRuby—Of all projects I pointed out, JRuby has been the biggest winner. With a solid 1.0 release (and an impending 1.1 release), execution speed that is on par with Ruby 1.8.6 (and better in some cases), and improving integration with Java have made JRuby and exciting Ruby implementation going forward.
  • rubinius—Ruby’s own self hosting implementation has mad a lot of progress in 2007. It still isn’t ready for prime time, but with the hiring of five major Ruby hackers to work on it, Rubinius seems to be on the cusp.
  • a Ruby spec—Two different Summer of Code hackers worked together to build a spec for Rubinius in RSpec. JRuby is now using this as part of their test suite, and I believe that IronRuby is looking at it too.
  • more than just Ruby on Rails—This was a prediction that I got almost completely wrong. Rails is still the big deal in web development on Ruby (and the gateway drug bringing more people into Ruby than anything else). There are more options out there now that there werein 2006, but none of them is making big enough waves to look like a contender yet.
  • Rake—This is another prediction that didn’t go as I’d foreseen. Rake is still going strong, but it hasn’t really reached past the Ruby community yet.
  • RubyConf 2007 (in Toronto?)—Well, it wasn’t in Toronto, but by all accounts it was a great conference. For the first time, it’s grown past a single track. We’ll have to see what the future holds for 2008.
  • regional conferences—2007 was the year that regional conferences came of age. Several conferences put themselves on the map and video recordings of presentations from them are all over the net at this point.