Strong opinions, weakly held

The race for Ruby IDE support

One thing I’ve been predicting to everyone who’ll listen is that like deployment and scalability, serious IDE support is on the way for Ruby. Learn the language now, reap the benefits of better, easier tools down the road. Looks like that prediction is looking good right now. NetBeans is making serious progress on Ruby refactoring.

In the meantime, Windows developers can pick up Ruby in Steel a Ruby development extension for Visual Studio. It doesn’t support refactoring yet, but once one of the IDEs supports it, they all will shortly afterward. Intellij IDEA has a Ruby editing plugin that doesn’t yet support refactoring. Eclipse fans have RDT. There are a number of other IDEs that are up and coming as well.

Currently, I’m still doing my Ruby development in TextMate, but as soon as there’s an editor that has real refactoring support, I’m certain I’ll make the leap. Tim Bray is right in saying that “find usages” is the make or break feature in terms of refactoring.


  1. I still do all my code in vim with ctags. I have my grep function set to only grep ruby files in my source directory and this works fairly well for me.

    Of course, I take a pretty dim view of the terms ‘refactor’, ‘patterns’ and ‘Active_Record’, so I may not be the average Ruby coder.

  2. I’m still an emacs man, myself, but NetBeans seems closest to providing temptation to use a mouse.

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