By a Newbie, for Newbies.

I'm trying to get started with Ruby development, and have just spent a 
couple of days looking for an IDE. In my googling, I came across this 
forum several times, so it seems to be a good for posting my 
experiences. I apologise for the long post, but it does seem to be 
relevant.

My background - 20 years experience, with a mix of Linux and Windows. 
I'm Currently profficient with Visual Studio, and was once profficient 
with emacs. I can do simple tasks with vi. I have also used several 
IDE's in addition to Visual Studio - such as Oracle JDeveloper and 
Delphi.

My favourite IDE to date - Visual Studio 2003/5, for it's good looks, 
lightning response, intellisense, code completion, integration of 
different languages, code navigation, good window organisation, ... in 
short, because it offers a huge range of features within a well 
structured and light feeling UI.

If there were a Ruby plugin for Visual Studio, I would have gone 
straight to that, and been willing to pay, say, $200 for it, but there 
isn't, so I went on a great Ruby editor hunt.

The hunt

After several days of massive googling, downloading, and configuring, I 
discovered that there is no product which comes close to being a "Ruby 
for Visual Studio", but the best overall, and quite usable, was 
Arachnoruby. At $29, for the non-commercial version, it's not free, but 
is cheap.

I will give a run-down of all the editors and IDE's I tried. Most of 
these I would have found to be an acceptable Ruby editor, however there 
was always something which made Arachnoruby preferable, and worth paying 
$29 for. Obviously, I may have done an injustice to any of these, and 
missed an important quality. In that case, I apologise and am happy to 
be corrected. Nevertheless, in my 2 days of looking for a Ruby editor, I 
had to go on first impressions, and Arachnoruby the one I kept coming 
back to.

I am running an AMD 2800, with 750 MB of RAM. I dual boot Windows XP, 
and Xandros Linux.

1. Free general editors, plugins needed...

eclipse - The only one of the "free, plus plugin" tools where the plugin 
could be located and installed with a wizard. It did take me some failed 
attempts to achieve this, but I put that down to my unfamiliarity with 
eclipse. RoR support is in development, which is a big plus. The Ruby 
plugin seemed to work nicely, but didn't do "as you type" indentation. 
It does provide "formatting", on a keystroke, but "as you type" 
indentation is worth a lot to me. The other Ruby features were nice, but 
not as important to me as the indentation.

jedit - couldn't get it running in Xandros. I have used it in the past 
in Windows.

My overall impression of Java based editors (eclipse, jedit) is that the 
"look" is good, and sometimes "great", but the "feel" is sluggish. They 
would have to have very strong Ruby support to make me prefer them to a 
"lighter" editor.

emacs - an old favourite of mine, but I've used fully graphical IDE's 
for too long to want to go back to it's keystroke based command set. To 
me, it is easier to think about a program when you are not thinking 
about how to navigate the editor. The plugin seemed to work quite nicely 
for indentation, but I didn't get syntax highlight working. I assume 
that the auto-complete function is just the old emacs one of looking for 
words in the current file. I believe that emacs is (or was) the 
preferred editor of the the Ruby "owners", so it must offer a lot to 
those willing to invest the time.

Vim -From the net buzz Ruby support seems to be mature, and while I 
enjoy vim for small tasks, I've never used it for serious programming. A 
quick look at the instructions for installing Ruby support (only for the 
dedicated) was enough to make me move on to more promising (for me) 
products.

gedit - Slow, in Xandros. Perhaps this is because it is a Gnome app 
running  on a KDE desktop. The Ruby plugin mentioned on the net didn't 
seem to have enough to recommend it to make it worthwhile trying.

cream - Some Ruby support "out of the box". It provided nice syntax 
highlight, and an "auto-indent" option (but this didn't work for me). It 
is nice and light, being vim based, and is switchable between GUI and 
raw VIM mode. It seemed worth more investigating.

2. A cross platform, pure Ruby editor

FreeRIDE - Overall, very good, and promises more. Automatic indentation 
is adequate, but not complete. The integration of interpreter, debugger 
and Ruby manuals is there, but not as well organised (to my eye), as in 
Arachnoruby. Recommended.

SciITE - A nice place to start. It is light and clean, and does syntax 
highlighting and basic indentation (as per FreeRIDE) but just doesn't do 
very much as a Ruby editor.

3. KDE based

I love the look and feel of KDE applications, so I would have been keen 
to get Ruby working in one of these...

kate - A very nice programmers editor. It was difficult to locate and 
install the Ruby plugins, and when I did they were adequate, but seemed 
to only provide syntax highlighting. No auto-indent, or other strong 
Ruby support.

kdevelop - couldn't install it on Xandros

Quanta - It installed first time with an "apt-get" in Xandros. A truely 
beautiful editor! I couldn't get any Ruby support running though. 
However, I might be using it for HTML in the future, and if it gets good 
Ruby support, then I'll be having another look.

4. Did not try -

slickedit
komodo

Both of these are mature, cross language, cross platform editors, with 
"add-ons" for Ruby. Both are expensive, and after looking at the feature 
sets, and reviews, I couldn't see any reason to try them when 
Arachnoruby seemed to match them (for Ruby development) at $29.

5. My winner, Arachnoby

Works out of the box! It has Ruby syntax highlighting, very nice "as you 
type" indentation, debugger, live syntax checking. The default colour 
scheme is garish, but an alternative scheme can be selected. The 
auto-complete function is basic - it just looks for identifiers within 
the current file. This, however, is as good as any I found during my 
investigation. It's still in beta - version 0.6.5, so some of the 
features are only stubs, but the stubs seem to be in the right place, 
and look promising for a great Ruby IDE. Arachno uses a cross platform 
widget set, which has some drawbacks. The "look" is reasonably modern 
and graphical, but not as sharp as it could be - KDE and Windows both 
look better. The "feel" is as responsive as a native application.

So, I can only go on first impressions, but the first impression of 
Arachnoruby was the best of all. In addition, longtime users on the net 
praise it.

So, my recommendations...

1. If you are a heavy user of emacs, jedit, vim, kate, kdevelop 
etc..then find the Ruby plugin for you. However, you probably wouldn't 
be looking here anyway.

2. FeeRIDE is a good place to start for anyone else.

2. Arachnoruby is, in my humble, and not very well informed opinion, the 
best of them all for someone looking for a new IDE, and well worth $29

A final note: I was looking for a Linux editor, in Xandros, which is 
Debian based. Arachnoruby is cross platform, but the Windows version is 
ahead of the others. I decided to continue with version 0.5.6 in Linux, 
rather than version 6.5 in windows. My first attempt at running 6.5 with 
Cross-Over office didn't succeed. I'll try again later, but for the 
moment I've had enough of installing and configuring, and want to get on 
with Ruby coding!



-- 
Posted via http://www.ruby-forum.com/.