Ruby Gets An Official Spec: Heading To Become An ISO International Standard
It's long been a bone of contention in the Ruby world that Ruby, as a programming language, doesn't have an official spec (though RubySpec has been a noble, community effort to build an executable specification for Ruby). Now, though, there's a draft, official Ruby specification available for you to check out- based on Ruby 1.8.7 (which some aren't happy about).
From the announcement:
For wider and more application of Ruby language, "Ruby Standardization Working Group" has been established under Information-technology Promotion Agency, Japan (IPA) to define the specification of Ruby language on Oct. 2008. Since then the WG has been drafting the specification of Ruby language.
As the first draft of Ruby language specification has just recently completed, we'd like to request users and developers of Ruby communities to review it.
By gathering review comments widely from you, we are going to improve the draft of Ruby language specification further. Then we will propose the improved draft to Japanese Industrial Standards Committee (JISC) to be JIS. After JIS for Ruby has been published, we will propose it to International Standardization Organization (ISO/IEC JTC1) to be International Standard.
Why now? In a ruby-core thread about the forthcoming standard, Shugo Maeda spills the beans:
In addition, one of reasons why we need open standard for Ruby is that the basic guideline for the government procurement in Japan require it. In that policy, we should refer to open standards instead of specific products for fair competition.
While the prospect of getting cushy government contracts is appealing to Japanese Rubyists, it could also start to play a role elsewhere as governments start to ride their own open standards/open source bandwagons.
Ultimately, this news isn't going to matter to the majority of Rubyists yet, but becoming an international standard will ultimately lend more legitimacy to a language that has been flagging in popularity lately. If you want to jump right to checking out the standard (available only as a PDF at the moment), click here.