IronRuby is Microsoft's implementation of the Ruby language on top of the DLR. Its main goal is to provide seamless interoperability between Ruby and the .NET Framework.
IronRuby combines the powers of both the .NET Framework and the Ruby language. On the one hand, it contains the built-in capabilities of Ruby, and on the other hand, it is capable of using the wide variety of frameworks and libraries of the .NET Framework. The combination opens a whole new set of opportunities to both Ruby and .NET developers.
In this chapter, you get your first taste of IronRuby. You install it, read an overview of the language and its tools, and start to discover the power it brings to the .NET family.
IronRuby is Microsoft's implementation of the Ruby programming language. It is built on top of the DLR and provides seamless integration between Ruby code and .NET Framework code. It is compatible with Ruby 1.8.6 and runs on .NET Framework 2.0 Service Pack 1 and above.
IronRuby was first announced on April 30, 2007, at the MIX conference. Iron, in its name, is actually an acronym and stands for "implementation running on .NET."
IronRuby is supported by the Common Language Runtime (CLR) and Mono, which means that it can be run on Windows, Linux, UNIX, BSD, Mac, and all other operating systems that are supported by Mono. Apart from operating systems, IronRuby can also be run from the browser using Silverlight. (See Chapter 16, "Silverlight," for more about IronRuby and Silverlight.)
IronRuby is an open source project and is released with full source code under the Microsoft Public License (MS-PL). The code is hosted on GitHub and can be downloaded from the CodePlex site, too. Because it is an open source project, the IronRuby team is looking for contributions both in bug fixing and library implementation. Look at the contribution page on IronRuby's GitHub home page to see how you can help (http://wiki.github.com/ironruby/ironruby/contributing).