Ruby programmers to get Visual Studio link

Software to be formally introduced later this year will link the Ruby programming language and the open source Ruby on Rails Web framework to Microsoft's Visual Studio 2005 application development platform.

Developers involved in the Sapphire in Steel ( are building the software product, which will be called Ruby in Steel and sold by a soon-to-be-formed company named SapphireSteel Software. Ruby in Steel will plug into Visual Studio to blend the benefits of Microsoft's development environment with Ruby technologies, said Huw Collingbourne, who is involved in documenting Ruby in Steel in the United Kingdom.

Already available in a beta format, the product is intended to enable developers to use Ruby technologies without having to toggle back and forth from Visual Studio to another tool such as a database manager, Collingbourne said. "The point is, once you're in Steel, you don't leave Visual Studio," he said.

A fast debugger is to be included in the professional edition of Ruby in Steel. Intellisense functionality for code completion is also planned, as is support for Microsoft's Solution Explorer project management tool. Ruby in Steel provides an editing environment for Ruby programs and comes with syntax coloring and the ability to run console applications with one keystroke, according to the Sapphire in Steel Web site.

"We aim to produce the best Windows development tool possible for Ruby. We aim to leverage all the features of Visual Studio: code completion, snippets, IntelliSense, etc," the site states.

Among the other features planned for Ruby in Steel, wizards will set up databases. Ruby will support the MySQL and SQL Server databases, with integrations planned for other databases such as Oracle. Ruby in Steel will enable development of applications to be deployed primarily on Windows, Mac OS and Linux.