[Ironruby-core] Using Ruby's standard libraries in Silverlight

Jimmy Schementi Jimmy.Schementi at microsoft.com
Thu Apr 1 00:40:38 EDT 2010

Wow, a lot of questions to answer here; let me know if I missed one ...

> What is the recommendation for using Ruby's standard libraries in Silverlight applications?
> Should the lib be copied to the project dir? should a reference be added to the manifest? some other technique?

Depends on whether your using the Chiron to generate a XAP file, or your using dlr.js and embedding Ruby code in the HTML page with script-tags.

Chiron to generate the XAP:
Just copy the necessary Ruby stdlib files into your XAP file directory. If you just want to reference an entire directory, you can use the "-path" Chiron.exe option.


See the IronPython docs on this: http://ironpython.net/browser/docs.html#zip-files. Basically you must have a script-tag like this: <script type="application/x-zip-compressed" src="lib.zip"></script>. Then you can reference the "lib" directory in your scripts, including adding it to the path: <script type="text/ruby">$: << "lib"; require 'erb';</script>.

You can also just list out each Ruby file used:

# foo.rb

require 'bar'

<!-- index.html -->

<script type="text/ruby" src="foo.rb" defer="true"></script>

<script type="text/ruby" src="bar.rb" defer="true"></script>

<script type="text/ruby">

  require 'foo'


I hope this shows that script-tags just download the script, and add it to the "virtual file-system" that the DLR-languages see. The "defer" attribute causes the script to not be run; it will be run when a script requires it.

> I zipped the libs folder and added it to the page as <script type="application/zip" src="lib.zip"></script>.
> When I try to require the assemblies, the files are not found.
> I tried to make the case simpler and zipped a simple rb file to a zip and included it in the page as well:
> <script type="application/zip" src="test.zip"></script>
> I tried:
> require "TestClass.rb"
> require "TestClass"
> require 'test.zip/TestClass.rb'
> require 'test.zip/TestClass'
> None of these worked.
> By the way, I see that Chiron loads the zip files...
> What am I doing wrong?

Change the mime-type to application/x-zip-compressed and try requiring "test/TestClass" ... that will work. We should also allow application/zip as the mime-type: http://ironpython.codeplex.com/WorkItem/View.aspx?WorkItemId=26676. Keep in mind that Silverlight can only read archived files created with a deflate ZIP algorithm; but using Chiron to create the zip file will ensure it works ... something like "Chiron.exe /d:lib /x:lib.zip".

> for assemblies you need to add an appmanifest I think

Actually, all the AppManifest.xaml does it load the assemblies for you; you can use "require" or "load_assembly" to accomplish the same thing, so I advise against touching the AppManifest.xaml, unless your XAML has dependencies on an assembly.

Keep in mind there is no way to have an "assembly script-tag" ... you must put the assembly in a ZIP file.

> if you put a app\myfile.rb in the zip file, you should be able to do require 'app/myfile'

Close ... you have to use the file filename in the require call, or add the zip file name to the path (see example above). Today this only works when you use the zip file name without it's extension, but that's a bug IMO: http://ironpython.codeplex.com/WorkItem/View.aspx?WorkItemId=26677.
> Which brings up another question - are we willing to "standardize" Gestalt by making it the best practice for using DLR languages in Silverlight?
Well on its way; the http://ironpython.net/browser/ page only has documentation for the "Gestalt"-way, though the Chiron/XAP model will also be documented. Fun fact: while the first version of Gestalt (0.5) was made completely independently by the visitmix.com/labs team, the 1.0 release was completely rewritten and merged into Microsoft.Scripting.Silverlight.dll. In fact, the current source code on gestalt.codeplex.com is only the code from 0.5; the latest source code for Microsoft.Scripting.Silverlight is in IronRuby's GitHub and IronPython's CodePlex source repos.
Keep in mind the previous Chiron/XAP file model isn't going away; Gestalt takes [too-must] advantage of how Silverlight expects apps to be structured, so there are some limitations to it. The glaring limitation is you can't run gestalt apps out-of-browser; HTML doesn't work there ... there might be a way around this by using Silverlight's ability to host HTML content IN a Silverlight control, but that hasn't been tested yet. So the Chiron/XAP model will continue to be supported, but I don't advise using it unless you need to run out-of-browser. You can also combine the two; the IronRuby tutorial uses the Chiron/XAP model for the app, but the Gestalt-way to enable tests running in the browser.
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