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South Dakota .NET User Group

chrisortman

Dynamic languages on the CLR

As I find myself cranking out a lot of code lately I am really yearning for a more wrist friendly way of doing things. I also think I'd see a lot of benefit from a dynamic language when writing unit tests since I want to crank them out quickly and not have language / compiler get in the way. I've also been looking into Ruby and Ruby on Rails and there is much to be desired there. The sheer power of the rails 10 minute video is staggering. Sure there are some for Asp.net also, but the difference is in my willingness to actually build an application using the practices in the Asp.Net side. The concepts behind rails are uber!

So in my initial hunting I've managed to find a few options:

RubyCLR -- this provides an interop layer between .NET and Ruby. I've used this a bit and really like what I see. My biggest complaint is that the only way I've been able to pass an object defined in ruby back to .NET is by implementing an interface....not a huge deal, just not ideal. This was created by Jon Lam, and if you're into blogging and aren't reading his...you're missing out. Check out http://www.iunknown.com

IronRuby -- Is a Ruby interpreter for .NET. Since this runs inside the CLR you can do some things here (like inheritance) that you can't do using RubyCLR, however you also can't use all / any ruby syntax either. I haven't tried this yet, but it appears to be a bit less mature than RubyCLR at this point.

IronPython -- Wow, kudos to you Microsoft. This is a python interpreter for the .NET framework. It is in the late beta stages and from what I have read is fairly stable and performs well. It also looks like it has visual studio integration. The only thing really keeping me from trying it out at this point is that I don't know python syntax very well and from what I've glanced at so far it doesn't look very inviting (especially after looking at Ruby code)....I see all kinds of _ and __ all over the place.

Boo -- This is a new language with it's own compiler. It offers similar syntax to ruby and pythong (it actually seems like it is taking the better from both) and compiles natively to .NET code. It is very tempting in many regards, however I'm leary of moving to a non-standard custom language that may or may not last or stay supported.

If anyone has any stories to share with any of these I'd love to hear about them.

Published Jun 07 2006, 09:35 AM by chrisortman
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