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RubyMine: A New “Intelligent” Ruby IDE Built on IntellJ

By Peter Cooper / November 4, 2008

rmine.pngRubyMine is an all new IDE for Ruby and Rails developers, developed by JetBrains (best known for Java IDE IntelliJ IDEA). RubyMine is built upon the IntelliJ IDEA platform and brings together all of the essential features you'd expect of an IDE (editor, debugging tools, source control integration, code completion, and so forth) along with lots of extra goodies specific to Ruby, such as GUI-based support for RSpec and Test::Unit.

The current release of RubyMine is billed as a "Public Preview" with a full release set for Q1 2009. This public preview is free to use for 30 days and JetBrains are keen to elicit feedback on their RubyMine forum in that time. As a commercial developer tools vendor, I suspect JetBrains will most be charging for RubyMine when it's finalized. The pricing for IntelliJ IDEA is £450 ($599 - oddly) for a "commercial license" and £187 (or $249) for a "personal license" - just to give you an idea of the level JetBrains operates at.

RM_rails_debug_linux_tn.pngOn a casual tryout of RubyMine, I found it to be a little smoother than Eclipse based IDEs, and although it's clearly not a fully native OS X application (in terms of widgets) it looks pretty good. It took several minutes for my first Ruby project to be created as it was busy parsing all the Ruby files on my system for some reason, but once this was done, further projects were created instantly. Up and running, the IDE seemed to do the trick, but I didn't go too far as I'm not a big fan of IDE-based development. This was on OS X only, so your mileage may vary.

In any case, it's interesting to see another "everything but the kitchen sink" cross-platform Ruby IDE to compete with RadRails and NetBeans, but if RubyMine becomes a commercial application priced similarly to IntelliJ IDEA, I can't see it becoming popular except with devoted IDEA users migrating to Ruby, but hopefully JetBrains will pull something interesting out of the bag to make it a more interesting proposition.

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  1. Markus Jais says:

    The latest version of Netbeans is very, very good when it comes to Ruby support. I think it will be tough for a commercial product to get significant market share.

  2. Dmitry Jemerov says:

    The pricing of RubyMine wasn't officially announced yet, but I can say that the price of RubyMine will be much closer to the price of TextMate rather than IntelliJ IDEA.

  3. Lars Fischer says:

    I use Netbeans for my latest Ruby project. It's better then Textmate but usability (code completion) is a complete failure. It just get's in the way.

    All the Eclipse based IDEs are IMHO not stable enough (at least when using a Mac).

    I have been using IntelliJ IDEA for 6 years now and it's clearly the best IDE for Java development.

  4. Peter Cooper says:

    Dmitry: That makes it a lot more exciting then :)

  5. Pazu says:

    This is worth watching. IntelliJ IDEA is the best Java IDE around, period. Strike that, IDEA is one of the best editors for any supported languages. $249 may sound steep, but it's worth every cent.

    If you're paid for your coding time there's no reason not to invest some of it back into professional tools.

    What to expect: a decent, consistent editor. One thing about Eclipse that bothers me to madness is how inconsistent editors can be. Every plugin implement a new editor, with new and completely inconsistent behaviours. Tabs to spaces? Indenting? Each editor behaves differently. In IDEA this isn't a problem, the editor behaves consistently in all supported languages.

    Also, code inspections. IDEA has over 900 inspections for Java, and while Ruby support is nowhere near that, I expect it to grow with time. With JRuby built in, I expect to soon be able to write Ruby inspections in Ruby itself.

  6. Daniel Berger says:

    At first I thought this had something to do with RedMine. I actually thought the latest tracking system they were using for Ruby itself was called RubyMine, but I guess it's Ruby-RedMine.

  7. Nathan Youngman says:

    "Because not all those products will include all the functionality of IntelliJ IDEA, they can be much less expensive, and we can choose the price based on the target market. And developers don't get the stuff they don't care about. The new products can be much slimmer, lighter, and easier to get started with."
    - Dmitry Jemerov (Jetbrains)

  8. Peter says:

    I just wish they'd develop RubyMine using Cocoa. I'd really like to see Textmate to evolve into a generic IDE for various languages with debugger and code hinting support. Hurry the @#$% up! Enough already with this hold up for TM 2.

  9. Nazar says:

    Just gave RubyMine a spin in both Linux and Windows...

    I am a huge Netbeans fan but cannot help be very impressed by RubyMine. My congratulations to the developers!

    Lets hope the price is attractive enough to warrant an impulse purchase (hint hint).

  10. Andreas says:

    RubyMine sounds interesting. If it's not a native Cocoa application, what's it based on then? I really like NetBeans and its Ruby features are really great, but being a Java application makes it painfully slow sometimes, so that I went back to TextMate some time ago.

  11. Aslak Hellesøy says:

    This is exciting news. IntelliJ IDEA beats the other editors hands-down in terms of speed, refactoring, ease of use and functionality (IMO). (Same goes for ReSharper for .NET development).

    Building it on Java (instead of Cocoa) allows them to leverage Java components from their IDEA platform and the fantastic development skills they already have in the company. I don't see a good reason to change that.

    One to watch out for!

  12. Harry Seldon says:

    Does it support Linux 64 bits ?
    What is the price of TextMate ?

    Besides that if the support of git is really good I will definitely consider using it.

  13. Tom Harrison says:

    I have been using IntelliJ IDEA for years, since I switched from a Borland IDE, and then tried NetBeans and Eclipse and hated them both. As I moved to Rails 16 months ago, I tried the IDEA Rails plugin, but found it just ok. I also have used Apatana (fka RadRails) and while it has gotten better, it's clunky Eclipse baggage is very apparent.

    IDEA is simply a different product than most IDEs. It works with you, not against you. I hear a lot of people who use TextMate for Rails, and it reminds me of a guy I worked with in 1990 who used vi to develop the visual text editor for the development environment my company sold. I had nothing but respect for his aptitude and supreme vi skills, but at some level it just seemed wrong. (He told me later that in addition to normal shortcuts for exiting the editor, you could also do :q! like in vi :-).

    Java was best done in emacs for the first four or 5 of its years. But as projects get bigger, and the language supported more libraries, and more complicated features and so on, an IDE was pretty much essential. I think an IDE represents a step of maturation and stability of a language and environment that makes it feasible to create a useful and complete IDE.

    That IntelliJ has pursued their new IDE is a great thing, not just because there are better options for those of us who need more than a fancy text editor, but also because it means Rails is getting more real.

    (What will be really cool, of course, will be when the first IDE for Rails is written in Ruby ... and it is fast and stable).

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