Lab test: Climb aboard Ruby on Rails
The InfoWorld Test Center sifts through nine Rails IDEs and editors to help you choose the tools to suit your development needs
The Ruby in Steel product is now up to Version 1.2, which is one of the critical milestones on its road map, as it introduces Visual Rails Workbench (see Figure 1), a Web page designer for Rails that supports Embedded Ruby and templates. That's a significant accomplishment. At this point, the product has most of the Rails integration features that I missed in 1.0, plus some bonus features that I didn't know I'd want, such as a fast JRuby debugger. (See the full feature list for both the Developer and Text Editions.)
The Visual Rails Workbench, the fast debugging, and the great IntelliSense support are the three core features that differentiate Ruby in Steel 1.2 Developer from the Text Edition. The performance hit from debugging with Cylon is barely noticeable, which is not the case with the standard Ruby debugger. There are also mind-blowing dynamic debugging scenarios that work in the Cylon debugger.
Right now, the Visual Rails Workbench can be a little funky when it comes to synchronizing an overall page design with its components, but SapphireSteel assures me that Version 1.3 will fix that issue. Later in the development cycle, the IntelliSense support will be extended to database code and user-selectable libraries, and the Visual Rails Workbench will be extended to handle RXML and RJS. You'll note that there's nothing resembling the Ruby in Steel Visual Rails Workbench in any of the other products I reviewed.
If I had three wishes for new features in Ruby in Steel that aren't currently on its road map, they would be refactoring support, better test integration than the current simple front end for "rake," and support for TextMate-compatible bundles.
[Jump to the review of the Ruby on Rails IDE of your choice from the list below:
SapphireSteel Ruby in Steel Developer Edition 1.2 and Text Edition 1.1.5
Aptana RadRails 1.0
ActiveState Komodo IDE 4.3 and Edit 4.3
CodeGear 3rdRail 1.1
NetBeans IDE 6.1
MacroMates TextMate 1.5.7
JetBrains IntelliJ IDEA 7.0.3 with Ruby plug-in 1.0
E Text Editor 1.0.20 Beta
Intype 0.3.1 Alpha]