Moving from .NET to Ruby: The IDE Question

I've been thinking a lot about Ruby lately. From the limited experience I've had with it, it seems like a very cool language. But one thing has always been present in the back of my mind: what about the IDE?

After being severely spoiled by Visual Studio for the past couple years, I can't help but wonder how I could really ever become serious about Ruby (and Rails) development without something equivalent to Visual Studio. More specifically, how could I ever feel productive without IntelliSense and the wonders of ReSharper?

Keep in mind that I programmed for years without ever seeing an IDE. Throughout college, my toolbox consisted solely of Kate and a console. It wasn't until an internship that I undertook during my senior year that I first felt the sweet embrace of Visual Studio and the truly awesome productivity gains a nice IDE can grant you. But now that I've seen these wonders, I can't "unsee" them.

From what I've read, it appears the de facto standard editor for the Ruby hacker is TextMate for OS X. I've heard wonderful things about TextMate, but could it really replace Visual Studio?

If I were determined to get serious about Ruby/Rails, would it be silly of me to continue using Windows and Visual Studio with something like Ruby In Steel (which I just read a great review of on SDTimes)? Or should I abandon my comfort zone and dive in head first with a Mac and a TextMate license?

I would love to hear from other developers who have gotten heavily into Ruby/Rails after spending years in Visual Studio. Which IDE/editor did they end up using? If they eschewed Visual Studio, was it a traumatic experience?


Anonymous said...

There are lots of IDEs for ruby and more coming every day. There is radrails/aptana, netbeans, eclipse dynamic languages thingie, freeride, mondrian, arachno, komodo, jedit and more.

Don't worry about the IDE. Ruby is not C#. You don't have to type everything three times, you don't need massive XML files, ruby kind of flows out of you after a while.

Get used to working with the other stack and you will soon find out VS isn't all that it's cracked up to be. Try capistrano, migrations, rake, activerecord and awesome testing frameworks like rspec and you will never want to go back to an inferior system again.

I remember reading some other "convert" from ADO.NET to ROR saying that even while he was struggling to learn ruby he was more productive with rails then he was with ASP.NET.

Rob said...

The IDE is actually the best part - there isn't one :). If you're serious about Rails, your best bet is to go get yourself a Mac. I bought a 15" Powerbook Pro and am sooo in love...

Anyway- learning to run things on UNIX core (if you don't already know) is absolutely critical if you run Rails. In addition, you can use the absolutely wonderful TextMate - it's all the IDE you need :).

Well worth it all...

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Matt Blodgett said...


Thanks for the advice.

The Unix underpinnings of OS X are one of the main reasons I'm so intrigued by it. I used Linux extensively in college and loved the command line experience with Bash.