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JRuby: Polyglot Heaven

Benjamin Oakes edited this page Sep 30, 2011 · 8 revisions


JRuby is a top-notch Ruby implementation. It's also your gateway to polyglot heaven. Ruby can do anything, but it's not always the best tool for the job. With JRuby, you can take advantage of other JVM languages. Build part of your application in Clojure, taking advantage of its immutability and transactional guarantees. Build another part in Scala, leveraging its flexible static type system and actor libraries like Akka. Use JavaScript via Rhino to test pages or run JS on the server alongside Rails. Use Mirah to build fast-as-Java algorithms in a Rubilicious syntax. The JVM is a haven for polyglots, and JRuby’s your ticket to ride.



  • 50th release of JRuby coming out!
  • Solid, 1.9 support, C extension support (experimental) -- lots work
  • 1.6.5 soon
  • Engine Yard Cloud -- official JRuby
  • Book out: Using JRuby


Ruby's great, but some languages are better than Ruby at certain things

gem install mvn:rhino:js
  • Group ID: rhino
  • Artifact ID: js


  • disallows external deps
  • Bundler doesn't understand mvn gems
  • Help wanted


  • One family, one VM, one GC

  • Memory usage

    • Better tooling than just on MRI
  • Bidirectional communication

  • Stick to primitives

  • Use interfaces rather than just straight method calls


require 'java'
java_import '...'
# ...

Stuff you can use:

  • Neo4j
  • Rhino.js -- JavaScript on the JVM
  • Clojure -- a LISP for the JVM
    • Immutable collections
  • Cloby -- Tiny JRuby extension
    • PDS + STM + Ruby = transactional @vars
  • Scala: "Omni-paradigm Programming"
    • Object-oriented
    • Functional
    • Etc.
    • Mikka: wapper for Akka in Ruby
  • Mirah -- kind of a Ruby Syntax for the JVM. NOT a Ruby


  • Lots of options
  • You have some interop between Java and other languages, but to do it right, you might have to do more work

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