Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Sometimes I think Apple's out to get me!

So, I write an article about installing Ruby for Rails on Tiger. Then Apple announces that RoR will be included in Leopard.

Then I write an article about using TimeMachine over a wireless connection. Just days after the magazine hits the stand, Steve Jobs announces Time Capsule.

Now, I've just finished a pair of articles on RubyCocoa. They haven't even been published yet, but Apple's already at it again.

Today, I just learned about a new, open source project backed by Apple, called MacRuby.

MacRuby is a Ruby 1.9 port that runs on top of Objective-C. It's not ready for prime time yet, but it looks promising. First off, it is Ruby 1.9--which I think is a great thing. Among other things, this means it will be much, much faster than RubyCocoa, which uses Ruby 1.8.

From there, things get really interesting--and just a bit odd. All MacRuby objects are subclasses of NSObject. Because of this, they inherit all the base object methods from both Objective-C and Ruby. They've also added an expanded syntax for keyed attributes in method calls.


[person setFirstName:first lastName:last];


person.setFirstName(first, lastName:last)


person.setFirstName first, :lastName => last

You can even write your own classes in Ruby that use keyed attributes:

def setFirstName(first, lastName:last)
@name = "#{first} #{last}"

Of course, you can do all the cool RubyCocoa tricks. Make calls back and forth between the Objective-C and Ruby portions of your code. Import Cocoa frameworks. Etc. But, in MacRuby, it all looks just a little bit tighter.

For example, MacRuby's String, Array and Hash classes are simply subclasses of Objective-C's NSString, NSArray and NSDictionary. This lets you transparently pass objects between Ruby and Objective-C.

I look forward to playing around with this project as it develops.


1 comment:

Patrick L said...

Hi Rich - this isn't directly related to this post, but I figured it's close enough. I sat down this morning to run through your first RubyCocoa article in the April MacTech, but got stuck right here:

"First, download the source code from ftp://ftp.mactech.com/src/."

So, I don't know if the code was ever there, but I certainly can't find it now. Any chance you could send the missing file(s) my way? I don't suppose you can do much with the tutorial without this...