Ruby on Rails 3.1 will make the apps run faster

The newly released Ruby on Rails version 3.1 features full jQuery support and other developer goodies

Ruby on Rails creator David Heinemeier Hansson has released version 3.1 of his open-source Web application development framework, adding new features that should speed the rendering of Web pages for users.

Ruby on Rails 3.1 uses a new technology called Sprockets to speed JavaScript execution. Sprockets compiles all the functions that a Web application uses into a single file, which simplifies work for the developer and quickens the response time of the application.

Ruby on Rails also streamlines performance through another new feature, called HTTP Streaming. In short, HTTP Streaming allows the browser to start downloading a Web page's stylesheets and JavaScript even while the server is still generating other parts of the page.

"This means a page that feels significantly faster because it's ready to use by the user sooner," Hansson said in a blog post earlier this year that discussed the feature. HTTP Streaming requires at least Ruby 1.9.2 and changes to the server software as well.

Also speeding performance is an optional feature called Identity Map. When a session pulls a record from a database, the software can hold that data in a cache, in case it is required again. If so, it can be passed to the user more quickly.

Another change: The default JavaScript library for Ruby on Rails has been switched to jQuery. Users can easily change from the previous default library, Prototype, through a single command. Developers shouldn't notice any difference, and going forward, Ruby on Rails will be able to harness the work being done on this popular library.

Ruby on Rails is an open-source framework for rapidly assembling Web pages, one based on the Ruby scripting language. At least 220,000 websites use this set of libraries, according to the Australian BuiltWith Trends Pro analysis service.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

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