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Microsoft releases initial code for IronRuby

The software giant follows through on better support for dynamic, or scripting, languages for Web development.

Continuing to warm up to Web developers, Microsoft released an early version of IronRuby that will let programmers write .Net applications with the Ruby language.

In tandem with the "first code drop" of IronRuby, Microsoft will be taking code contributions from outsiders, John Lam, program manager on the Common Language Runtime team at Microsoft, wrote in his blog on Monday.

Lam said that the company intends to fully release IronRuby on RubyForge and take a wider range of contributions by the end of August. The software is available under the open-source style Microsoft Permissive License.

IronRuby uses the Dynamic Languages Runtime which the company introduced at its Mix 07 Web developer and design conference in May of this year. The runtime allows people to use dynamic, or scripting, languages to write .Net applications.

Other languages that Microsoft intends to support include Python, JavaScript (EcmaScript 3.0), and Visual Basic.

Once Microsoft releases the Silverlight version 1.1, expected in the next few months, developers can use Ruby or other scripting languages to build Silverlight Web applications on Windows or the Safari Mac browser.

Eventually, developers could use supported dynamic languages to write applications for handheld devices and, in theory, Linux applications using the Mono Moonlight implementation of Silverlight on Linux.

Silverlight is Microsoft's alternative to Adobe's Flash for writing and running rich Internet applications.