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Adding JRuby to your Java Toolbox

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JRuby is an alternate language for the Java platform. It is based on Ruby, a programming language developed by Yukihiro "Matz" Matsumoto. As stated on the RubyCentral homepage (see Resources), Ruby is a programming language that "combines the pure object-oriented power of the classic OO language Smalltalk with the expressiveness and convenience of a scripting language such as Perl." It is a relatively mature language, known for its clean, intuitive syntax and semantics and transparent, developer friendly programming model.

JRuby is a pure Java implementation of the Ruby interpreter. Like most languages discussed in this series, JRuby is both powerful and easy to learn. It incorporates the sophisticated text-processing of Perl, the iterators and closures familiar to Groovy developers, and the rapid development features of Jython and other languages discussed in this series. JRuby is also an interpreted language, so it can be run from the command line or used to evaluate simple expressions or blocks of code on the fly.

While JRuby doesn't try to be all things to all people, it certainly takes advantage of some of the milestone features found in its predecessors to form a powerful yet syntactically simple language. Unlike most languages discussed in this series, JRuby combines most of its powerful features into a single package. For example, JRuby combines iterators with text-processing features, making it relatively simple to write powerful yet intuitive parsers. It also lets us use functions as first class data types, which we can combine with blocks or closures to expand our classes to handle much of the grunt work typically left to loop constructs and more traditional iterator classes (like those found in the Java Collections framework).

JRuby combines the object-oriented strength of Smalltalk, the expressiveness of Perl, and the flexibility of the Java class libraries into a single, efficient rapid development framework for the Java platform. In this third installment in the alt.lang.jre series, Michael Squillace and Barry Feigenbaum introduce JRuby, a sophisticated addition to your Java development toolbox.
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