FastRI is an alternative to the ri documentation browser for Ruby.

Why prefer it over ri? FastRI
* actually works
* is *much* faster than ri
* can perform fast full-text searching over all your rdoc documentation
* is smarter than ri, and can find classes anywhere in the hierarchy without
  specifying the "full path"
* can be told to use different search strategies (completion, nested
  namespaces, etc.)
* supports RubyGems much better than ri, and knows which gem a method/class
  came from
* can serve RI documentation over DRb

Getting it
==========
Additional information, tarballs... at 
  http://eigenclass.org/hiki/fastri

FastRI can be installed with RubyGems:
  gem install fastri
(if you get an old version/a 404 error, please allow some time after the
release until the package propagates to the RubyForge mirrors). Please read
below for an important note regarding the RubyGems packages.

Visible changes since version 0.3.0
===================================
* speed increases
* works on Leopard and with non-standard RubyGems setups
* -1 (--exact) option to disable second-guessing.
* -a (--all) option to show the documentation for all matching entries

Usage
=====
Starting from 0.3.0, fri can be used in either local mode (--local, -L) or
remote mode (using a fastri-server, -R, --remote). 
By default, fri will run in remote mode. There's a new executable named 
qri that defaults to local mode (it behaves otherwise identically to fri).

Remote mode is slightly faster (typically about 150ms) , since the
documentation index is kept in memory and needs not be read from disk.

Local mode
----------
 $ qri Array
  ----------------------------------------------------------- Class: Array
       Arrays are ordered, integer-indexed collections of any object. 
       Array indexing starts at 0, as in C or Java. A negative index is 
 ...

 $ qri compact
  ---------------------------------------------------------- Array#compact
       array.compact     ->  an_array
  ------------------------------------------------------------------------
       Returns a copy of self with all nil elements removed.


Remote mode
-----------
There are two parts to using FastRI in remote mode:
* the server: fastri-server
* the client: fri

FastRI uses a Rinda Ring to allow servers to be discovered automatically
without needing to indicate the DRb URIs manually. It can work across 
machines if you make sure the ring server is bound to the correct interface,
and the ACL permissions are correct.

Running in remote mode:

 $ fastri-server      (creates the index on the first run, blocks)

Later, (times measured with a cold cache):
 $ time ruby bin/fri -f plain Array#fetch
 ------------------------------------------------------------ Array#fetch
      array.fetch(index)                    -> obj
 [...]
 real    0m0.287s  (real    0m0.127s with a hot cache)
 user    0m0.048s
 sys     0m0.008s

Compare to:
 $ time ri -T -f plain Array#fetch
 ------------------------------------------------------------ Array#fetch
 [...]
 real    0m10.136s (real    ~ 1.5s with a hot cache)
 user    0m1.140s
 sys     0m0.464s

This illustrates FastRI's ability to locate classes deep in the class
hierarchy:

 $ fri Base
 ------------------------------------------------------ Multiple choices:

      ActionMailer::Base, ActionView::Base, ActionWebService::API::Base, 
      ActionWebService::Base, ActionWebService::Client::Base, 
      ActiveRecord::Base, MapReduce::ActiveRecord::Base, 
      RSS::Maker::Base, Scruffy::Components::Base, 
      Scruffy::Formatters::Base, Scruffy::Layers::Base, 
      Scruffy::Renderers::Base, Scruffy::Themes::Base

 $ fri Themes::Base
 ------------------------------------------- Class: Scruffy::Themes::Base
      Scruffy::Themes::Base
      Author: Brasten Sager

      Date:   August 14th, 2006

Compare to 
 $ ri Themes::Base      .... several seconds later ...
 Nothing known about Themes::Base

A small note about RubyGems + FastRI. 
=====================================
RubyGems adds a noticeable overhead to fri, making it run slower than if you
installed it directly from the tarball with setup.rb.

Compare the execution time when installed with RubyGems:
  $ time fri -f plain String > /dev/null

  real	0m0.385s
  user	0m0.244s
  sys	0m0.036s

to the time fri actually takes to run, without the overhead introduced by 
RubyGems:
  $ time ruby bin/fri -f plain String > /dev/null

  real	0m0.088s
  user	0m0.040s
  sys	0m0.008s

If you care about those extra 300ms (and there are situations where they will
matter, e.g. when using fri for method completion), get FastRI from the
tarballs.

License
=======
FastRI is licensed under the same terms as Ruby. See LICENSE.

Feedback
========
Bug reports, patches, comments... are appreciated.
You can contact the author via <mfp / acm.org>. Please add "fastri" to the
subject in order to bypass the spam filters.

-- 
Mauricio Fernandez  -   http://eigenclass.org