(Edit: Alternative Title: Why Sun’s hiring of the JRuby developers isn’t just good for Ruby (Thanks Pat!) (Amazing the difference one word can make))
The latest news over the past few days has been all about Sun’s hiring of the JRuby developers. Many people have touted it as good news for JRuby, good news for Ruby, signs Ruby is coming of age, etc, etc.
Sun’s hiring of the JRuby developers isn’t good news for Ruby. It’s good news for Java.
In Bruce Tate’s Beyond Java he talks about how Java is at where C++ was at when Java came out. Now, granted, Ruby has been around 10+ years, but the point stands. People are getting frustrated at Java, but put up with it because they have a heavy investment in it. After all, those BEA servers aren’t going to get away with just serving up some Wiki pages ala JWiki.
But now, developers have some interesting alternatives to Java on the JVM. Want to rapidly prototype something? Or just build an application you can have fun programming with again? Or maybe you want to add support for something to your Java apps. Now you have an alternative which leverages your existing investments. That, my friends, is good news for Java.
And yes, I know of Groovy. But Ruby is doing something special right now – you’ve got plugins for Eclipse AND VisualStudio.NET. That’s not something you find every day.
So kudos to the Sun team for recognizing and opportunity to keep the JVM providing value.