[Ironruby-core] How do you convince .Net developers to use IronRuby?

C. K. Ponnappa ckponnappa at gmail.com
Wed Nov 4 23:27:46 EST 2009

Hey Shay,

> how do you suggest to present IronRuby to .Net developers
The deal is that you're not convincing a Chevy SUV driver to switch to a 
Ford SUV. You're asking him to switch to a Lamborghini sports car. The 
ride quality is different, the engine  is fundamentally different, the 
handling is different and though the risks to passersby are roughly the 
same (they get run over if the driver is careless), the risks to the 
driver are different (not much can happen to you in an SUV because, so 
to speak, your ass is covered).

What I'm trying to get at with this weak (but still amusing, I hope) 
analogy is that often with Ruby versus the mainstream (C#/Java), the 
fact that it's IronRuby or JRuby matters little; it's the fundamentally 
different approaches you need to take to ensure delivery that is the 
bigger issue. This includes technical issues like the unavailability of 
Intellisense (look at the bright side - the Java devs ask for 
refactoring support when you try to pitch JRuby to them which is a lot 
harder), software engineering issues (reliability, codebase entropy) and 
political issues (the last is a huge factor in the mainstream). My 
perspective - don't bother about it, at least right now. You have an 
audience that has already accepted and dealt with these issues; 
basically, convert the existing C-Ruby community first. Converting all 
the Ferrari owners to Lamborghini is an easier proposition, and 
generates enough publicity that the more adventurous among the 
mainstream will start experimenting of their own accord.

As others on this thread have pointed out, most .Net shops are extremely 
conservative and most developers have next to no exposure to what the 
Ruby community would consider standard engineering best practices like 
TDD and CI. I'd say that the primary audience that you need to convert 
is the existing Ruby community by convincing them that IronRuby is a 
viable production platform. I'd say once the Ruby community accepts and 
promotes IronRuby just as they already have JRuby, then you can worry 
about bringing the luddites on board.

At the risk of upsetting a lot of people, I think much of the mainstream 
.Net world is blinkered and has a very narrow perspective. For example, 
I have friends (and acquaintances) who are Microsoft devs who spend all 
their time writing C#, but who have never even _heard_ of Nant, NUnit 
and NHibernate. They have never heard of ReSharper and think 
VisualStudio is a cutting edge (*cough*) IDE. The Alt .Net guys are 
changing this, but these things take time.

Focus on converting the Ruby community and the edgier folks in the 
mainstream (who tend to have their ears to the ground anyways) will follow.


Shay Friedman wrote:
> Hi there,
> In the last month I had 3 sessions about IronRuby, all of them in 
> front of .Net audience. I really believe in the IronRuby but I find it 
> very very hard to pass that to existing .Net developers.
> I try to show the benefits of using IR - getting things done faster 
> (like POCs, internal tools), using REPL, using IR abilities from C#, 
> IR and Silverlight (like Gestalt), unit testing, RoR...
> Most of the .Net devs are very conservative and are not willing to get 
> out of their familiar development environment even when they see the 
> clear benefits of the new technology.
> They feel that using IronRuby will take everything they love from them 
> - Visual Studio, Ctrl+F5, the sacred intellisense, etc.
> That's about what happens during a session:
> - No Visual Studio integration: 50% of the audience are willing to leave.
> - No compilation: more 25% have just lost interest.
> - Intensive command line work: more 15% are shutting down.
> That leaves about 10 perecent of the audience that just think of using 
> IronRuby, most of them decide not to eventually.
> My question is - how do you suggest to present IronRuby to .Net 
> developers?
> and to the team members - does Microsoft expect that existing .Net 
> devs will start using IronRuby?
> Thanks!
> Shay.
> -- 
> --------------------------------------------------
> Shay Friedman
> Author of IronRuby Unleashed
> http://www.IronShay.com
> Follow me: http://twitter.com/ironshay
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> _______________________________________________
> Ironruby-core mailing list
> Ironruby-core at rubyforge.org
> http://rubyforge.org/mailman/listinfo/ironruby-core

More information about the Ironruby-core mailing list