Friday, January 18, 2008

Infoq news: "Request: Sun, Drop Support for JRuby"

With the latest big news around Oracle-BEA and SUN-MySQL deals I have missed an interesting article on Infoq with the following title:
- Request: Sun, Drop Support for JRuby
I have to say that I do agree with Craig Wickesser asking Sun to Drop Support for JRuby.

Syntax Matters?
Yes syntax matters, not only for the "beauty" of it, but also because of the investment that enterprises have made into it. We should not force people to completely remodel their brain all the time, for no gain. 

I love Groovy language, and one of the main reason is because it gives me the most bang for my buck. Java people can immediately catchup with the syntax, and step by step leverage powerful features available by dynamic languages and domain specific languages. I was hoping to see a great adoption by SUN... It is one thing to support scripting with the JSR-223, but SUN has to "endorse" a scripting, and from what could be seen today it is not Groovy nor Javascript. When we see all the marketing noise it is Ruby with JRuby... And I do not think that is necessary good for the Java platform. 

Do not get me wrong, I think that is a great idea, and need for Java to be able to execute many languages, for example we see a lot of IBM WAS and BEA WL administrator using Python to administer their application server instance with Jython. But once again the "default" one should be close to Java and integrate with it as close as possible to reduce the impact on scalability and performances, and I do think that Groovy did a great job on these topics.

What about RubyOnRails?
I am not a RoR expert, far far away from it, but I have learned it, and developed small applications with it, and I have to say that I love this framework.  And I am sure that like many Java developers that used RoR, I was thinking:  "If only I had the same productivity in my favorite platform: J2EE...".

I was not expecting to run RoR application as-it-is, but more hoping that JavaEE will learn from RoR to simplify development...  And... somebody did it, with Grails. Grails takes inspiration from RoR, but in a "real" JavaEE environment, since it leverages key pieces of the current Java applications such as Hibernate and Spring, using the power of Groovy to glue all this together.

In conclusion...
I do not know for you but yes I do think that SUN should drop support for JRuby, and in place push a language more natural for existing Java Developers, I vote for Groovy. In addition to the language itself, I also expect the JavaEE EG to provide a more productive way of developing "simple" Web applications. This is where I see Grails coming in the picture, but many other framework could do the job, taking advantage of some interesting concepts of RoR...

As Rick says, I (we?) am not looking for a Revolution but for an Evolution.


Alexis MP said...

Hi Tug,
Grails runs great in GlassFish and Groovy/Grails support is coming in NetBeans 6.x. Can't Sun do jruby and groovy (and php)?

Tug said...


I was sure that you will comment ;)
My post was probably not clear enought...
First of all, I am trying to talk about the "overall" platform and not only the IDE.

That said, sure Sun/NetBeans should support as much technologies/languages that they can afford to. But the feeling that I had lately is was almost that "the best way to developer web app is with RoR running JRuby", kind of saying that Ruby is really the big new thing... And the fact that Sun hired the JRuby folks is a "big" sign no?

And I am not looking for the big new thing, we still have lot of customer that still try to move to Java from older technologies (C/S, Mainframe) and all this noise is really confusing for them...

PS: from an ex Oracle guy to a Sun guy: good move with the MySQL stuff ;)

Tony said...

G'day Tug

Good to see more blogging from you.

The article had this quote...

"Sun please drop JRuby support. It is a waste of time. Take that money and spend it on Groovy which has a compatible syntax to Java. Do the language evolution there and quit abusing Java syntax. Give us some decent Groovy IDE tools. Quit messing with Java so frequently."

Personally I'm not too worried about Sun supporting JRuby. This has been described as the era of languages and competition is something that helps make java better.

I'm happy with the groovy support provided in IntelliJ, so don't need to rely on Sun for Groovy IDE tools, they are already available thanks to competition in the IDE area.