Today platform-as-a-service provider Engine Yard will announce support for JRuby, an implementation of the Ruby programming language designed to run on the Java Virtual Machine (JVM). All existing Engine Yard customers will need to do to run an existing Ruby application as an JRuby application is make a small change to its config file and, if the application uses a database, alter a few gems. All the JVM setup and configuration is handled by Engine Yard.
JRuby provides faster speeds, better scalability and support for concurrency to Ruby applications. Engine Yard VP of Technology Dr. Nic Williams says the biggest benefit in using JRuby is making concurrency easy for programmers to use. Mike Piech, VP of product management and marketing, adds that the ability to use Ehcache is another big bonus. Also, the ability to use Java libraries in Ruby projects is especially valuable for enterprise developers that want to focus on using Ruby but still have a number of Java libraries they depend on.
“I would be interested in hearing from any Ruby developer who has a reason NOT to use JRuby at this point,” says Williams.
Engine Yard is the JRuby project’s sponsor and three of the four core contributors work full-time on the project for Engine Yard. Engine Yard also employs David Calavera, developer of the Trinidad application server, which Engine Yard uses in its JRuby stack.
JRuby is now the third language supported by Engine Yard, which started out predominately as a Ruby PaaS. Engine Yard acquired Orchestra, a PHP PaaS, in August.
Ruby is loved by many developers, but issues with speed and scalability have damaged its reputation and likely stunted its enterprise adoption. For example, Twitter has been replacing parts of its code base with Scala and Java. Scala, along with Clojure, Erlang and Node.js have also been gaining traction with developers.
However, Ruby has continued to gain traction for big data with Wukong, a Ruby interface to Hadoop, as well as connectors for the graph database Neo4J. Interest in Ruby remains high. And as more applications move into the cloud, solid support for JRuby in PaaSes may keep the language relevant for many years to come.