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Ruby News and Releases in 2011: A Retrospective

By Peter Cooper / December 7, 2011

2011 is drawing to a close and I have been reminded of a post I made about a year ago: Ruby in 2010: A Retrospective of a Great Year for Ruby. 2010 was a stunning year with the release of Ruby 1.9.2, MacRuby 0.5, Sinatra 1.0, Rubinius 1.0, and DataMapper 1.0!

This year, MagLev, Capybara, Cucumber, RefineryCMS, OmniAuth and TorqueBox all hit their 1.0 milestones, but I've dug through the archives to see what else 2011 brought for the Ruby scene.


Rails Installer: Ruby and Rails on Windows in a Single, Easy Install - Wayne E Seguin, of RVM, released a super simple Rails, Git, SQLite, and Ruby installer for Windows. It's now an Engine Yard project and going strong.

Clever Algorithms: Free E-book of Nature-Inspired AI Recipes for Ruby


Ruby Turns 18 - Matz had previously said Ruby was "born" on February 24, 1993, so "she" turned 18 years old in February. Yes, I'm sad enough to have had that in my calendar ever since I read about it ;-)

Netbeans Drops Ruby Support (And JRuby Picks It Up) - The Netbeans IDE team announced they were dropping support for the Ruby and Rails specific features in their popular IDE. Separately, though, Thomas Enebo of the JRuby core team said that they had spoken to the Netbeans team and they would be adopting the project.


JRuby 1.6 Released - JRuby 1.6 was released with, significantly, Ruby 1.9.2 support. JRuby has continued its role as a formidable and leading Ruby implementation throughout 2011.

MacRuby 0.10 Released - Apple's MacRuby got XCode 4 support (although some have complained it's been a bit shaky since) and the ability to put together apps suitable for Mac App Store submission. There are now at least several MacRuby powered apps on the store.

DHH Offended by RSpec, Says Test::Unit is Just Great - Rails creator David Heinemeier Hansson inadvertently kicked off a relatively interesting discussion about testing tools.

DataMapper 1.1 Released

LivingSocial Acquires Ruby/Rails Consultancy InfoEther - This wasn't your typical boring acquisition. LivingSocial, a daily deals site, purchased InfoEther, the US's first significant Ruby consultancy and home to Chad Fowler, Rich Kilmer, Tom Copeland, and others. Ruby recruitment in overdrive!


The Rails Hotline launched - The Rails Hotline is a free helpline run by volunteer Ruby and Rails developers. It was very popular early on and while I haven't heard much about it lately, there still seem to be people staffing it.

Haml and Sass 3.1 Released (Separately)


TorqueBox 1.0.0 Released: A Java Platform for Rack Apps - Almost three years in the making, Torquebox 1.0 arrived. It's a popular JBoss-powered application server for Rack apps (including Rails apps) that provides a smorgasbord of useful backend features.

RubyGems 1.8.0 Released - Significant because 1.8 is still the version that comes with Ruby 1.9.3 in late 2011. After a raft of slightly temperamental releases, 1.8 has been a champ.

The Ruby Rogues Podcast Launches - A new discussion based podcast made it into the Ruby world in May. It's still going and has frequent episodes with great discussions on all sorts of Ruby related topics. Much recommended.

Avdi Grimm's "Exceptional Ruby" Book Released - Avdi Grimm released a PDF e-book about error and exception handling in Ruby, based on his 'Exceptional Ruby' talk at Magic Ruby 2011. It has proven to be quite a talking point since.


The Story Behind Ruby 1.9.3 Getting 36% Faster Loading Times - Perhaps the story I spent the most time on in 2011. Two different solutions to speeding up Ruby 1.9.2's notoriously slow requires were tabled, only one made the cut. Ruby 1.9.3 has since proven to be somewhat swifter.

Refinery CMS 1.0 Released - Version 1.0 of Refinery CMS arrived 2 years after it first became an open source project. Refinery is one of the most popular Rails-based content management systems and the 1.0 release boasts full Rails 3 support and a solid stable base built up by over 100 contributors.

Capybara 1.0 Released - It was certainly the year for Capybara. The acceptance test framework for webapps is now perhaps the most popular tool in its field.

Cucumber 1.0.0 Released - Continuing with the testing theme, Cucumber also hit a significant milestone in 2011.


Ruby's Creator, Matz, Joins Heroku - Surprise in the Ruby community as Yukihiro 'matz' Matsumoto took up a Chief Architect position with Heroku, the Salesforce-owned Ruby application hosting company.


Rails 3.1.0 Released - A full year after Rails 3.0, Rails 3.1 was released to much fanfare, adding key features like the asset pipeline, roles, reversible migrations, jQuery as the new default JavaScript library, and a new focus on CoffeeScript. I explained the controversy behind some of the changes when they were announced back in April.

rbenv: A Simple, New Ruby Version Management Tool - Sam Stephenson of 37signals unveiled his new lightweight Ruby version management tool and.. well, there was quite a bit of drama around it. Now, though, it seems people have fallen into sticking with the tool they like best and both RVM and rbenv seem to be going from strength to strength.


RailsInstaller 2.0 Shipped - The Windows-based RailsInstaller hit its 2.0 milestone and became a great way to get Ruby 1.9.2 and Rails 3.1 on Windows in a single install.

The Ruby 1.9 Walkthrough Released - I released my epic 3 hour Ruby 1.9 screencast guide in September. It's been a fun ride!

TrollScript Released - A significant new entrant to the world of programming languages arrived in the shape of a Ruby-based interpreter for a new Brainf**k dialect by Tom Bell.


Ruby 1.9.3p0 Released - The official production release of Ruby 1.9.3 finally hit in October and brought faster Rails app loading times to millions. Hurrah! I made a more detailed roundup of the changes.

Ruby 2.0 Release Schedule Announced - It was announced that Ruby 2.0 would be coming along in 2013, but I also put together some info about what Ruby 2.0 is and what it might contain. Got A Facelift - James Britt gave a significant facelift this year and unveiled his work in October. It's certainly been a major improvement so far.

Ryan Bates Unveils RailsCasts Pro - Ruby's most popular screencasting legend (other than Geoffrey Grosenbach, of course!) 'went pro' and started to charge for extra episodes of his popular weekly screencast series.

Sinatra 1.3 Released - Sinatra, the popular webapp DSL / microframework, reached version 1.3.0. The significant addition this time around was a 'streaming API' for streaming data to clients instead of delivering it all in one big package.

Spree (Open Source Rails E-commerce System) Raises $1.5 Million - Spree is a popular open source Rails e-commerce system and its creator raised $1.5m in venture capital to take it even further (as well as offer Spree-based consulting). Tom Preston Werner (GitHub) and James Lindenbaum (Heroku) also joined as advisors.

DataMapper 1.2.0 Released - DataMapper is a popular ORM (Object Relational Mapper) and a powerful alternative to ActiveRecord for many developers. Version 1.2 brought all-important support for Rails 3.1 amongst other things.


MagLev 1.0 Released - Two years after its alpha released, one of the most intriguing alternative Ruby implementations made to its big 1.0.

OmniAuth 1.0: Authentication APIs Reach A New Level - OmniAuth is a popular library for performing authentication against numerous external authentication systems (like OAuth, OpenID, Facebook, and Twitter). Version 1.0 brought massive structural changes (for the better) and introduced capabilities to do local/internal authentication too.

DHH Got Married - Dashing the dreams of everyone who planned to woo him one day.


  1. K Clair says:

    Hi, You have a bad link on the page, the second link in August is prepended with an 'x'.

  2. Peter Cooper says:

    Good call - thanks!

  3. Ray Hightower says:

    Great list, Peter! Here's one you might add: Groupon (big user of Ruby) acquired Obtiva in August 2011.

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