Ruby and Mirah on App Engine

John Woodell (Google, Inc. ), Charles Nutter (Engine Yard, Inc)
Location: Portland 252
Average rating: ****.
(4.00, 4 ratings)

Developers are now deploying Rails and Sinatra applications to Google App Engine. We have critical gems like redcloth and mechanize working, and your app runs in a servlet container, with access to all the Java APIs. Unlike a traditional Ruby hosting environment, new app instances spin up on demand, so you avoid paying for servers that sit idle. Unfortunately, each new JRuby runtime can take several seconds to spin-up, but there is a way to mitigate this without abandoning your agile web development techniques. Specific URLs can routed to Java servlets and bypass the JRuby runtime. This drastically improves performance, and can cut down spin-up to a second. Developers that prefer the expressiveness of Ruby, can now create servlets using Mirah instead of Java.

Mirah (formerly Duby) is a new language with Ruby-inspired syntax that compiles to JVM bytecode or to Java source. Mirah is statically typed with local type inference and a simple macro system. The goal is to make Mirah as expressive as Ruby without introducing any runtime library and while maintaining Java’s level of performance. Mirah’s toolchain is written in Ruby, making it easy to add new features and evolve the language…and even customize the language for a specific project, library, or domain. Mirah has no runtime dependencies. In the future, Mirah may support additional backends like C#/CLR, Go, LLVM, and more. Mirah is also a lot of fun!

Photo of John Woodell

John Woodell

Google, Inc.

John Woodell is a web developer at Google, and a Ruby enthusiast. He started developing web pages in the early ‘90s, and spent over a decade hacking together sites in Perl, Java and PHP. John discovered RubyOnRails in 2005 and has been a dedicated Rubyist ever since. He maintains the App Engine APIs for JRuby and contributes to related projects. John manages the JRuby on App Engine blog and tweets as johnwoodell.

Photo of Charles Nutter

Charles Nutter

Engine Yard, Inc

Charles Oliver Nutter has been programming most of his life, as a Java
developer for the past decade and as a JRuby developer for over four
years. He co-leads the JRuby project, an effort to bring the beauty of
Ruby and the power of the JVM together. Charles believes in open
source and open standards and hopes his efforts on JRuby and other
languages will ensure the JVM remains the preferred open-source
managed runtime for many years to come. Charles blogs at and tweets as headius on Twitter.

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