A Bull in the China Shop of Life wrote:

> Subject: Why are there four IDE development efforts, and can they be
> combined?

I know Rich already responded to this, but let me add a few additional
comments.

> So far I've seen FreeRIDE, Practical Ruby, I think one called RubyIDE and
> another whose name I can't remember.
>
> The fact that there's this much interest is a GOOD thing, but I'm just
> wondering how these efforts could piggy-back off each others work or even
> ideally combine <although I know this is hard due to conceptual design
> differences between the projects' founders>
>
> If nothing else, what about a common architecture for plug-ins?

FreeRIDE is 100% plug-in based (except for the FreeBASE code that implements
the plug-in facility).

> For those IDEs that are trying to map to different GUI abstractions, what
> about a re-usable GUI-agnostic API?

I am currently working on the initial GUI framework for FreeRIDE, and I have
completely separated the GUI front-end (the logical visual components, like
edit panels, menus, navigation trees, etc) from the GUI backend (which does
the actual rendering). At present, I am writing a back-end plugin for
rendering the GUI using FXRuby/FOX and FXScintilla.

Someone could just as easily write a plugin to render the GUI with GTK+ or
any other sufficiently capable GUI system.

> Just wondering.  I'm not contributing to any of them (I must admit I am
> only beginning to really learn Ruby.  All my cycles are being eaten by
> Java which I'm in the intermediate stages of learning for work) so this is
> by NO means a gripe or demand, just wondering what people's thoughts are.

I understand the problem only too well. If you are really interested in
IDEs, I would suggest you join the FreeRIDE team anyway. Everyone will
contribute what they can -- even just being willing to install each release,
test it, and provide feedback would be extremely valuable.

Later on, if you got the itch to write a plugin to implement that nifty new
feature you just though of... well, no one's going to stop you :)