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IronRuby is a Open Source implementation of the Ruby programming language for .NET, heavily relying on Microsoft's Dynamic Language Runtime. The project's #1 goal is to be a true Ruby implementation, meaning it runs existing Ruby code. Check out this summary of using the Ruby standard library and 3rd party libraries in IronRuby. IronRuby has tight integration with .NET, so any .NET types can be used from IronRuby and the IronRuby runtime can be embedded into any .NET application.

These 5 steps should get you nicely up and running on IronRuby – OR … you could just watch a video session from the lead developer which took place earlier this month (March 2010 - 60mins). But the 5 steps will be quicker :-)

Step 1 – Install IronRuby :-)

You can install IronRuby automatically using an MSI or manually. For simplicity I would recommend the MSI install.

TIP: As of the 25th of March IronRuby has not quite shipped. The download above is a Release Candidate (RC) which means it is still undergoing final testing by the team. You will need to uninstall this version (RC3) once the final release is available. The good news is that uninstalling IronRuby RC3 will work without a hitch as the MSI does relatively little.

Step 2 – Install an IronRuby friendly editor

You will need to Install an editor to work with IronRuby as there is no designer support for IronRuby inside Visual Studio. There are many editors to choose from but I would recommend you either went with:

  • SciTE (Download the MSI): This is a lightweight text editor which is simple to get up and running. SciTE understands Ruby syntax and allows you to easily run IronRuby code within the editor with a small change to the config file.
  • SharpDevelop 3.2 (Download the MSI): This is an open source development environment for C#, VB, Boo and now IronRuby. IronRuby support is new but it does include integrated debugging. You might also want to check out the main site for SharpDevelop.

TIP: There are commercial tools for Ruby development which offer richer support such as intellisense.. They can be coerced into working with IronRuby. A good one to start with is RubyMine which needs some small changes to make it work with IronRuby.

Step 3 – Run the IronRuby Tutorial

Run through the IronRuby tutorial which is included in the IronRuby download. It covers off the basics of the Ruby languages and how IronRuby integrates with .NET. In a typical install it will end up at C:\Program Files\IronRuby\Samples\Tutorial.


Which will give you the tutorial implemented in .NET and Ruby.


TIP: You might also want to check out these two introductory posts Using IronRuby and .NET to produce the ‘Hello World of WPF’ and What's IronRuby, and how do I put it on Rails?

Step 4 – Get some good books to read

Get a great book on Ruby and IronRuby. There are several free ebooks on Ruby which will help you learn the language. The little book of Ruby is a good place to start.

I would also recommend you purchase IronRuby Unleashed (Buy on Amazon UK | Buy on Amazon USA). You might also want to check out this mini-review.

Other books are due out soon including IronRuby in Action.

TIP: Also check out the official documentation for using .NET from IronRuby.

Step 5 – Keep an eye on the team blogs

Keep an eye on the IronRuby team blogs including Jimmy Schementi, Jim Deville and Tomas Matousek (full list)

TIP: And keep a watch out for the final release of IronRuby – due anytime soon!

Posted on Thursday, March 25, 2010 5:04 PM Ruby and DLR , Project NEric , 5Steps | Back to top

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