Friday, December 19, 2008

Talk with Jonathan Branam

Jonathan Branam contacted me after he noticed that I was going to be traveling from Chicago to Columbus; that meant I would be driving by his house in Muncie, Indiana. After some email exchanges, we got the timing down to where I could spend a day at his house working with him.

Jonathan is the author of Red Sun, a Ruby VM for flash. I missed his talk at RubyConf this year, but I was really excited to dig in a little with him into the code. While I understand the basic concepts around VM's, I haven't dug in extremely deep, so this was a fantastic opportunity for me to learn more. You really should go watch his RubyConf presentation on Red Sun on Confreaks.

I arrived at his house Sunday night, and, after having a great time hanging out with his family (video of a great concert with his kids coming soon), we had a fascinating conversation for quite a while. I asked him about the state of Red Sun, and he told me that the main thing left before he could start running RubySpecs was exception raising. So, that was the plan for the next day.

Wow! What a tremendously exciting day this was. Basically, Jonathan is direct porting the MRI source code to ActionScript. Yeah, you heard me, ActionScript. He has a service that converts Ruby source to Ruby bytecode, then the bytecode is interpreted by his code. Fantastic. By the end of the day, we had exceptions being raised and captured in rescue blocks. There were still a few odds-and-ends to finish up (different overloads for raise), but the core seemed to be working.

We mentioned the "Ruby Internals" talk by Patrick Farley (and, of course, we couldn't remember any links or anything while talking), but I said I would link to his blog.
Here's Jonathan's Blog.

Talk with Jonathan Branam from Corey Haines on Vimeo.