JVM Speed demon

JRuby 1.7 release gives JVM language turbo

After last week's big announcement that the Ruby to JVM bridge language was heading to Red Hat's jurisdiction, along with key developers Charlie Nutter and Thomas Enebo, the news of a new version for JRuby was lost in the noise.

Fortunately, we've sought to amend that here by looking at what's changed for JRuby 1.7, with a preview released last week in the midst of JRubyConf in Minneapolis. The focus for the first update since March 2011 is all about performance, with dozens of contributors playing a part in harnessing the best of the language so far.

Java 7 users will be pleased to hear that they can finally get something for JRuby out of invokedynamic, the JVM's helping hand for dynamic typed, object-oriented languages, a la Ruby. There's also promises of improved throughput and raw parallelism for those dabbling with highly-concurrent applications.

Nutter told InfoWorld what JRuby 1.7 was all about, saying:

That allows us to tell the JVM exactly how Ruby works, how it makes calls, so that it can optimize them like Java calls.

All of the optimization work that's gone into making Java fast can now apply to Ruby.

This will give JRuby a huge boost with it being even more seamlessly linked to the JVM, and we expect further benefits to emerge down the road with the language moving under Red Hat's JVM umbrella. Nutter supported that notion by also talking about that move, leaving Engine Yard amicably behind after 3 years, saying it was 'a good time to make a move' with Red Hat 'doing a lot of multilanguage work.'

For all that's new within JRuby 1.7, check out the relevant documentation with all bug fixes noted. It looks like JRuby will finally reap the rewards of Java 7, with 1.7 and we await what Red Hat will do with it moving forward. Forward to Preview 2!

Chris Mayer

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