RubyRun Community Edition: Diagnostics Reports for your Ruby Apps
It was a few months ago that Rubysophic - a Bay Area startup working on products relating to Ruby diagnostics - came quietly into the Ruby scene, launching their first product, RubyRun Community Edition, a free, standalone application-performance diagnostic tool. While the most obvious use is with Rails applications, RubyRun works on any Ruby code (within reason) though it's primarily suited to Web applications.
I spoke with a few developers at Rubysophic recently to find out more about RubyRun and why they were offering it for free. It turns out that their team mostly comes from the J2EE (Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition) world (from companies including HP, IBM, and Cisco) and they wanted to release a suite of enterprise-quality diagnostics tools and services for the Ruby world. It seems that their ultimate plan is to offer a holistic range of services - not just tools like RubyRun but direct collaboration on performance issues.
Diagnostics, Not Monitoring?
The sort of data that RubyRun provides might remind you of New Relic's RPM product (it certainly did for me when I tried it out!) or those from FiveRuns, but the Rubysophic guys wanted to stress that they're "not a monitoring company" and are entirely devoted to "diagnostics." They told me that RubyRun is suited more to when you want to track down a problem and fix it, rather than as a permanent addition to your app.
Upon playing with the tool, I got to see some rather in-depth "traces" of what my Rails applications were doing. It wasn't the sort of information I'd want to see all the time, but for fixing specific performance issues, it was incredibly detailed.
Standalone, No Phoning Home
I also noted another key difference between RubyRun and other monitoring tools (useful though they are) was that RubyRun runs standalone. It doesn't talk to a server. Everything is published locally into HTML reports - performance summary reports, detailed reports, and process traces. Further, the latency is in the single milliseconds range per request, so even though it's not designed for permanent use, it doesn't hurt too much on minor applications.
After getting a tour from the Rubysophic guys, I realized that despite getting the impression RubyRun was competing with the services offered by New Relic and Five Runs, it's not. RubyRun is a very direct tool that you can call on to look into both performance and code problems primarily during the development stage. It gives you information down the object level - how many objects of each class are currently instantiated, etc - and down to every single step made in a single request.
For free, it's a good tool. I imagine Rubysophic will be offering more commercial-level services in the future, perhaps even liaising with people who need problems diagnosed, but for now RubyRun is free and definitely worth playing with if you're developing applications where you want deep traces and instant HTML reports.
For more information check out the official product page, the gargantuan and highly detailed user guide, or download it. (They won't like me for saying this, but if you don't want to give your details, check out the quick start guide to see how to install it as a gem ;-))
(Disclaimer: Rubysophic is a sponsor of Ruby Inside. While I was unaware of RubyRun before this, I was impressed that they were offering a free, no-strings-attached product and thought it deserved highlighting. There are no sponsor-influenced posts on this site - except the monthly Thanks To Our Sponsors posts - and I believe RubyRun is a particularly interesting offering in any case. If you have similarly community beneficial products and services that could be featured in a similar way, do get in touch!)