Microsoft linking Silverlight, Ruby on Rails

Microsoft Corp. plans to demonstrate integration Friday between its new Silverlight browser plug-in technology for rich Internet applications and the Ruby on Rails Web framework.

The integration will be done via a plug-in, according to a Microsoft representative. Microsoft officials will detail Ruby on Rails efforts at the RailsConf 2008 conference in Portland, Ore., which is taking place now through the weekend. The plug-in will be free to conference attendees.

Silverlight is Microsoft's entry into the rich Internet application space, where the company will battle Adobe System Inc.'s Flash technology.

Also at the event, Microsoft officials will demonstrate IronRuby, a version of the Ruby programming language for Microsoft's .Net platform, running a Ruby on Rails application.

"Running Rails shows that we are serious when we say that we are going to create a Ruby that runs real Ruby programs. And there isn't a more real Ruby program than Rails," said a blog entry on Friday from Microsoft's John Lam, a program manager in the dynamic language runtime team, who will present at the conference.

The company, though, still needs to improve performance on Rails, he said. Currently, too much memory is being consumed.

"IronRuby doesn't just let you run Rails; it lets you interact with the rich set of libraries provided by .Net," Lam said. "You'll be able to use IronRuby to build server-based applications that run on top of ASP.Net or ASP.Net MVC. You'll be able to use IronRuby to build client applications that run on top of [Windows Presentation Foundation] or Silverlight."

The IronRuby project in general has featured processes that make it easier for Microsoft to develop open-source projects, said Lam.

"What we learn from building IronRuby will be applied in other product groups to help us become more open and transparent than we have been in the past," Lam said.

Meanwhile, FiveRuns is unveiling Friday tools to profile and monitor Ruby on Rails application performance.

The public beta of the company's TuneUp product is being released. TuneUp is a free application profiling tool for performance analysis. Also offered, in its general release form, is Manage 2.0, a subscription-based application performance-management product for production applications.

The company also plans to contribute open-source components to the Rails community, beginning with an instrumentation library, called FiveRuns Instrument, offered at, RubyForge and GitHub. The software provides an API for instrumenting Ruby method invocations.

TuneUp was described by the company as a tool that provides visibility into application performance during the development phase. Developers learn of performance trouble spots and bottlenecks prior to production, FiveRuns said. A TuneUp plug-in can be installed for access to performance metrics.

Developers can collaborate with others, browse application profiles, and look for similar configuration and performance problems.

Manage 2.0 is a lighter upgrade to the initial product, adding monitoring support for more subsystems and other new features. Featured are enhanced Rails metrics, monitoring for the entire Rails stack and customizable contextual Triggers and Notification Chains that alert users to problems.

A light Ruby client for Manage 2.0 consumes minimal resources and is optimized for virtual environments, the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud service and other server environments, the company said.

This story, "Microsoft linking Silverlight, Ruby on Rails" was originally published by InfoWorld.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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