Plans to create a true .NET compiler for Ruby source code are well underway, with developers in Queensland last week announcing the release of version 0.7 of the Gardens Point Ruby.NET software.
Along with added support for debugging, the new Beta boasts a Visual Studio integration package that allows users to edit, build, execute and debug Ruby programs within Visual Studio 2005.
A project of Wayne Kelly, from the Queensland University of Technology, the compiler has been developed with the aim of converting Ruby source code into Microsoft's Common Intermediate Language (CIL) for execution on Microsoft's .Net Framework 2.0 platform.
While initial plans centred on the entire Ruby language, Kelly said recent debates surrounding a number of Ruby features have given the developers cause to reconsider.
"We originally planned to implement the whole Ruby language," Kelly said. "The only major features that we have not implemented are Threads and Continuations. There is currently some debate regarding whether these features will remain in future versions of the Ruby language so we are holding off implementation until that picture becomes clearer."
Although the developers had previously announced plans to perform monthly public releases, Version 0.7 comes three months after its predecessor in February. Kelly pinned the delay on a decision made in March, to hold off the next release until Ruby.NET could be integrated into Visual Studio, which is thought to have a vital role in the compiler's new debugging capabilities.
There have already been 2,500 downloads of Version 0.7 since it was released on May 8. So far, response from the testing community has been very positive, Kelly reports.
The next version of the software is planned to be released in July and is expected to feature performance optimizations and support for interoperability with other .NET languages such as C#.