Chapter 21. Ruby Development Tools
A development environment consists of more than just an interpreter. Every good developer is surrounded by a selection of tools that make life easier. Some of these may be language-specific, and others may not.
The most important of these is the editor. Since much of what programmers do day-to-day is manipulate text, the choice of editor (or your proficiency with it) has a significant impact on productivity. The language-specific features or the customization capabilities also have an impact. We'll look very briefly at the most common editors here.
Other tools may assist in documentation, library installation, debugging, and similar tasks. We've already looked at the debugging library (which is not a real standalone application) in Chapter 16, "Testing and Debugging," and we've looked at RDoc in Chapter 17, "Packaging and Distributing Code." These are not covered further here. We looked at RubyGems in Chapter 17 from the standpoint of a developer creating packages; in this chapter, we'll look at it from the viewpoint of a developer using packages created by others.
This chapter also covers irb (interactive Ruby) and ri (the documentation tool). Finally we wrap up with a brief discussion of IDEs (Integrated Development Environments) that work well with Ruby.