Ruby Weekly News 10th - 16th October 2005


Tim Sutherland

Ruby Weekly News 10th - 16th October 2005

Ruby Weekly News is a summary of the week's activity on the ruby-talk
mailing list / the comp.lang.ruby newsgroup, brought to you by
Tim Sutherland and Christophe Grandsire.

Apologies for the lateness and shortness of this edition.

[Contribute to the next newsletter.]

Articles and Announcements

* RubyConf 2005 Audio - Now Podcasts at Odeo

Jim Freeze noted that Podcasts for RubyConf 2005 are available, thanks
to Ezra Zygmuntowicz.

Simon Strandgaard: "Thanks, its good sound quality.. now I have to
stay up late listing."

* Euruko 2005 Facebook

Following up from last week's RubyConf 2005 facebook, is the
EuRuKo 2005 Facebook.

"If you're coming to the European Ruby Conference please add your
picture and info to this page, so others can know who to look for if
they have particular people they want to talk to."

* Article: "What Is Ruby on Rails"

Curt Hibbs announced his article What Is Ruby on Rails, published at

| This article was originally designed to published at the same time
| that Rails 1.0 was released, but after several delays they decided
| to publish it now. Basically, its a roadmap to the Rails
| feature-set.

* Best of Ruby Quiz

"Best of Ruby Quiz" is a new book, written by James Edward Gray II and
based on his weekly Ruby Quiz. It is published through the Pragmatic
Bookshelf and scheduled to be ready in February 2006.

"This book is a collection of highlights from the first year of Ruby
Quiz challenges. Inside, you will find expanded content, all new
solutions, and more in depth discussions of Ruby Quiz problems and
solutions. This is the book for anyone who really wants to improve
their Ruby skills."

Congratulations James!

* RubyConf Coverage by OPML

Muness Alrubaie aggregated a number of blogs providing coverage of
RubyConf 2005.

User Group News

* Honolulu Ruby Users Group

Sam Joseph announced the formation of the Honolulu Ruby Users Group

"If there are any ruby/rails experts in Hawaii, or travelling to
Hawaii in the near future, please let us know. We'd love to have you
come and talk to our group."

* Next meeting of the Columbia Maryland Codefesters

The next episode in Agile Maryland's CodeProject CodeFest was
announced: October 17th.


Default argument values for blocks

Daniel Schierbeck asked why Ruby doesn't support the following for
defining blocks with default arguments (useful when calling

foo = lambda { |foo = bar| puts foo }

Matz explained that it's all yacc's fault (the parser-generator used by
Ruby); it confuses the above with

lambda { |foo = (bar| puts foo) }

He added that the experimental Ruby branch, version 1.9, supports an arrow
syntax for this:

foo = ->(foo="bar"){puts foo}

The thread continued for over 100 posts, so it is fair to say that not
everyone liked the new syntax.

RCR 320: Extend Rational to play nice with floats

Dave converted his Rational extension into an RCR (Ruby Change Request).
The result provides better interoperability between Rationals and Floats.

Lost Cities (#51)

The 51st week of James Edward Gray II's Ruby Quiz asks you to build an AI
for the card game "Lost Cities".

New Releases

rcairo 1.0.0

Kouhei Sutou released version 1.0.0 of rcairo, a set of Ruby bindings to
the Cairo multiplatform 2D Graphics library.

Crypt::ISAAC 0.9.1

Kirk Haines improved the packaging and documentation of Crypt::ISAAC, "a
cryptographically secure PRNG for generating high quality random numbers."

grammar-0.5 (and cursor-0.9)

Eric Mahurin released his grammar package, version 0.5, as well as cursor
version 0.9 "to go along with it."

Grammar is a tool to write lexers and parsers (and thus interpreters)
entirely in Ruby, and uses cursor, a library which implements a virtual
"cursor" in a datastructure, allowing one to do what one can do with a
cursor in a text editor (moving, deleting, inserting, etc.).

Phil Tomson commented:

| Just in time for writing our new Ruby parser in Ruby to solve the
| default block argument conundrum ;-)

to which Eric replied that it was indeed his goal.


Masao Mutoh announced the release of Ruby-GNOME2 version 0.14.0.

| Ruby-GNOME2 is a set of Ruby language bindings for the GNOME 2.x
| development environment.

ZenTest 3.4.0

Ryan Davis announced version 2.4.0 (and not 3.4.0 as indicated in the
title) of ZenTest, an automated test scaffolding for Ruby.

| ZenTest scans your target and unit-test code and writes your missing
| code based on simple naming rules, enabling XP at a much quicker pace.
| ZenTest only works with Ruby and Test::Unit.

ZenTest works both ways and automatically generates tests out of existing
code and/or code out of existing tests.

W3CHTMLValidator v0.1.0

Damphyr posted a small module for invoking the W3C Markup Validation
Service from Ruby.

Ruby-MemCache 0.0.4

Michael Granger dramatically improved the performance of Ruby-MemCache, a
client library for the memcached distributed memory cache system.

Bugs around compression and urlencoding were also fixed, and logging

"Thanks to Ron Mayer for his extensive help with this release."

| MemCache is used to alleviate database load by caching oft-used values
| in network-accessable memory space, and is used behind several
| high-traffic dynamic web sites like LiveJournal, Slashdot, WikiPedia,
| and others.

KirbyBase 2.3 Production Version

Jamey Cribbs announced the non-beta version of KirbyBase 2.3, a pure-Ruby
database management system that uses plain-text files.

Compared to beta 2, bugs have been fixed :), and "The Hal Fulton Feature"
was added.

Instant Rails 1.0 preview2 Released

Curt Hibbs foretold that preview2 of "Instant Rails" fixed a serious bug
in preview1, released the previous day.

| Instant Rails is a one-stop Rails runtime solution containing Ruby,
| Rails, Apache, and MySQL, all preconfigured and ready to run. No
| installer, you simply drop it into the directory of your choice and run
| it. It does not modify your system environment.

ruby-oci8 0.1.13

Takehiro Kubo announced an important release of ruby-oci8, the client
library for Oracle.

This version fixes a memory-leak, and support for Ruby's DateTime library.


Daniel Berger's spreadsheet library reached the dizzying heights of 0.3.1
(and then 0.3.2). Spreadsheet allows you to create Excel 95 files on any

It now supports writing to a stream, rather than simply a filename, has a
bugfix for "black cells", and a new method Worksheet#format_rectangle.

Work is being done on an Excel 97 version.

RubyInline 3.5.0

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