The JRuby language is getting commercial support for developers this week, thanks to Ruby specialist Engine Yard.
The JRuby language enables developers to leverage the features of the Ruby programming language on Java infrastructure. With the new commercial support for JRuby, Engine Yard is aiming to help expand the addressable footprint for the open source development language.
Engine Yard is no stranger to JRuby, and has employed the project's founders since they left Sun in 2009.
The support comes at a key time for the JRuby community, as a new version is in the works that will significantly expand features available to the developers, which the project's leaders hope will broaden the uptake of the language.
"It's funny how many people use JRuby and don't actually tell us," JRuby Project Lead Thomas Enebo told InternetNews.com. "The magnitude of how many people are using JRuby is really difficult to gauge since JRuby for the most part just works.
Enebo said that he and his colleagues are often approached at industry conferences by people asking about the availability of commercial support. It's that demand that led Engine Yard to throw its lot in with the project.
Engine Yard's support is based on what is available in the open source JRuby project, and the firm isn't layering in additional proprietary elements in an open core approach, which has been gaining popularity in the open source market lately. Under the open core model, vendors use the open source project as a base and then provide proprietary bits on top.
"We've talked about it in the past and I can't say we wouldn't do something like that in the future," Enebo said. "But we've been pretty focused on growth and whenever we've come up with some great idea we always balance whether we want to grow the platform or monetize an idea. So far everything has come down on the growth side."
Currently JRuby is at its 1.4 release, Enebo said that the 1.5 release is due out within the month.
JRuby 1.5 is expected to offer developers an easier framework for using Ruby code with Java.
"In 1.5 we will [have] the ability to generate a Java dot class file that will have the Java type signatures that Java expects but the class will be backed by Ruby code," Enebo said. "So people will be able to compile a Ruby class down to a Java dot class file and use it as though it were a Java-compiled class."