October 24, 2014

JRuby Hacked to Run on Android

Thanks to Twitter, we’ve started following (and getting followed by) some really cool folks – people who are capable of some truly amazing feats.  Take for instance today’s news coming courtesy of Charles Nutter (@headius) who is a member of a group who calls themselves the Ruby Users of Minnesota.

At a meeting earlier this week, the group of guys hosted three chat sessions.  The topics were Android development, iPhone development, and migrating from Struts to JRuby.  Charles was inspired by the talks and decided to try his hands at getting JRuby onto Android.

He was able to after an hour.

So what does this mean?  Well, for starters, it’s another open source language for developers to work with, opening the doors for even more collaboration and growth.  People may be able to write for Android in a language that they may be more familiar with.

The tip comes from Twitter user Jared Mehle (@jrmehle). I asked Jared for his take on this and what it means.  Here’s his response:

The benefit to fans or owners of Android devices is that this opens the platform to a very active community of developers. More interest in Android from a wider developer audience means a wider variety of apps in the Marketplace.

For developers, this means that you are no longer required to write Android applications in Java. Personally, I prefer programming in Ruby over Java. Being able to write Ruby code that can be run on Android devices opens up a whole new world to us. I have had several ideas for apps and I know I could implement them, but the thought of sitting down and writing Java is enough to prevent me from going any further. I’m sure I’m not alone.

It is important to note that while Charlie shows it is possible to write Ruby and run it on Android, we are a ways off from seeing real world apps done this way. He has merely proved that Android can be made to run Ruby code through JRuby. With JRuby in the picture, Ruby’s future on Android is bright.

Anyone out there already working with Ruby or JRuby? What does this mean to you?

POST EDITED: Twitter names were mixed up in this article.