From the results of my Ruby developer tools survey, it looks like there are three real tiers of tools that a lot of people are using:
- The big guys: Test Unit (53%), RSpec (50%), and rcov (47%)
- The middle tier: autotest (38%), and ruby-debug (32%)
- Everyone else: ruby-prof (17%), heckle (6%), and dcov (2%)
The only surprise in the top tier is that RSpec has already captured as much mindshare as it has. Of the 50% who are using it, I wonder what has seduced them over to the RSpec side? In fact, that’s my next survey—go ahead an fill it out (before the 17th of December). I do think it’s interesting to see that all three of ‘the big guys’ are testing tools. I think this speaks to the testing culture that runs through the Ruby community.
It’s good to see that autotest also did well (again, speaking to our testing culture). I hope more developers will pick up heckle and flog (I still can’t believe I didn’t include that one in my list) as obvious next steps to improve testing.
For all that the ruby community says it doesn’t need a debugger, ruby-debug placed ahead of ruby-prof in the rankings. That surprised me a bit. Maybe I should have included the standard lib profiling and debugging tools too, just to get a cleaner picture of where our debugging and profiling usage lies.
I think my biggest disappointment was dcov though. I guess this, too, reflects our community. Poor or incomplete documentation is a frequent knock on Ruby. I would have hoped that a tool designed to help us overcome that would have been more broadly accepted.
Ok, so those are my thoughts. Now, it’s your turn. What tools did I miss? Why do you like the ones you’re using? Are you going to add a new tool to your arsenal, and if so, which one?