Wednesday, September 12, 2007

NetBeans Ruby IDE

If you're looking for a new Ruby editor, I suggest you check out NetBeans. Tor Norbye and the gang have been doing a great job adapting this Java IDE for use with Ruby and Rails.

I usually use SciTE, the Scintilla text editor, for writing my Ruby code. It's fast, flexible, and lightweight, consuming a fraction of the resources of a full-blown IDE. It's still my editor of choice for small scripts. But I've begun using NetBeans for larger projects and am very pleased so far.

NetBeans is now available in a Ruby-only version which, presumably, is a little slimmer than the full Java + Ruby IDE. And you can trim a little more fat by deactivating a few plug-ins. On my Windows XP systems, memory usage is in the 80-120Mb range. That's acceptable, even on my more memory-challenged machine, when you consider the potential productivity gains offered by the IDE features. And the fact that it's free is certainly a plus.

Further details can be found on the NetBeans Ruby Support page, on the NetBeans Ruby wiki, and in numerous in-depth reviews like this one by Daniel Spiewak.

New builds are posted every few hours, and the latest stable build can always be found here. I usually replace my nbrubyide folder every day or two.

So if you're looking for a full-featured Ruby IDE, take NetBeans for a test drive and see if it meets your needs. It may be a dumb name, but it's a good Ruby IDE.

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