Ruby On Rails Gets RESTful In Major Update

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Developers are digging into the recently released Ruby on Rails 1.2, a major update to the much-buzzed-about open-source Web development framework.

Rails 1.2's star addition is its adoption of representational state transfer (REST), a software architectural style for taking advantage of standard Web protocols. One proponent, Planet Argon founder Robby Russell, calls it "a lightweight replacement to SOAP," and said it has been a boost to his team's programming efforts.

"With the adoption of REST, the barrier to connecting applications developed in other programming languages has been lowered," Russell said. "What is really interesting is how elegant Rails has made this interface. The same Web site resource can respond to various response types, such as HTML, JavaScript, XML and RSS, to name a few. This can be done in just a few lines of code and removes a lot of pain associated with building separate Web services."

The Rails update also features hundreds of additional bug fixes, enhancements and tweaks. "There's an absolutely staggering amount of polish being dished out," Rails creator David Heinemeier Hansson wrote in a blog post announcing the release.

Ruby on Rails is a three-year-old framework designed specifically for building Web applications. Attracted by its functionality and elegance, programmers have adopted it as the foundation for a number of popular online applications, including Basecamp and

Enterprise interest in Ruby on Rails is rising. Planet Argon, a Portland, Ore.-based services firm, now focuses almost exclusively on the framework and is developing a hosting service for Rails applications.

"Over the past year, we've worked with small startups to Fortune 500 companies that were looking to take advantage of this elegant little framework that could. Our team has grown, and we're expecting to grow more in the first quarter of 2007," Russell said. "Working with Ruby on Rails continues to be treating Planet Argon very well."

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