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

Jimmy Schementi Jimmy.Schementi at microsoft.com
Thu Nov 5 01:58:43 EST 2009


On a related vein, I got some news from the Rails core team a couple of days ago that the Rails documentation is viewed by Windows machines 50% of the time. The Rails core team sees Windows developers as a huge group of people to make happy.  

>>> Ruby is considerably faster on Linux

Unfortunately, that was true with previous builds of Ruby, but the new revived RubyInstaller project is building Ruby with more modern compilers, getting the speed up to what Ruby on Linux is: See http://antoniocangiano.com/2009/08/10/how-much-faster-is-ruby-on-linux/ and http://antoniocangiano.com/2009/08/04/a-faster-ruby-on-windows-is-possible/ if you haven't already.

~js

-----Original Message-----
From: ironruby-core-bounces at rubyforge.org [mailto:ironruby-core-bounces at rubyforge.org] On Behalf Of Nathan Stults
Sent: Wednesday, November 04, 2009 8:44 PM
To: ironruby-core at rubyforge.org
Subject: Re: [Ironruby-core] How do you convince .Net developers to useIronRuby?

But isn't the C-Ruby or J-Ruby crowd deploying primarily on Windows a pretty small group, all in all? Aren't most Ruby dev's working on Linux?
After all, Ruby is considerably faster on Linux. I'm having a hard time imagining what the value proposition is for this demographic, who shouldn't really need to convert, but simply be willing to consider IronRuby as an alternative deployment option for Windows. Maybe I'm just being pessimistic, but I see convincing established Ruby developers to leave their stable, mature interpreters and libraries for 0.x IronRuby to gain access to .NET, and at the same time wave goodbye to Ruby 1.9, somewhat steeper of a climb than peddling dynamic languages, Ruby and IronRuby, to the existing .NET community. I do agree that you have to go in at the ALT.NET back door rather than the front door as the standard enterprise .NET developer is likely to stare blankly at you while you stammer in apparent gibberish at him, but converting Rubyists, this early in the ball game? I say good luck to that :) My guess is the bar of maturity and stability is even higher for existing Ruby programmers than it is for fresh meat. But that's just my half cocked opinion. :) 


-----Original Message-----
From: ironruby-core-bounces at rubyforge.org
[mailto:ironruby-core-bounces at rubyforge.org] On Behalf Of C. K. Ponnappa
Sent: Wednesday, November 04, 2009 8:28 PM
To: ironruby-core at rubyforge.org
Subject: Re: [Ironruby-core] How do you convince .Net developers to useIronRuby?

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.

Best,
Sidu.
http://blog.sidu.in
http://twitter.com/ponnappa


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
>
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>
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