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A conversation with John Lam about the dynamic language runtime, Silverlight, and Ruby

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On the Friday before MIX, I recorded this podcast with John Lam. He's the creator of RubyCLR and, as it happens, he joined Microsoft on the same day I did. John's been running silent since then, but no longer. In this conversation we discuss the dynamic language runtime (DLR), a generalization of Jim Hugunin's work on IronPython, and a quartet of languages that make use of its services. They include a refactored IronPython, a new managed implementation of JavaScript, Visual Basic, and a new implementation of Ruby which, unlike RubyCLR, does not rely on the C-based Ruby runtime.

We also explore the ability of these languagues to run inside Silverlight-equipped browsers. Key benefits include cross-language interoperability, access to Silverlight's subset of the .NET Framework, and more broadly, a new approach to writing ambitious browser-based software.

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  • CairoCairo I want my waffle sundae, give me my carbs!
    Is the "DLR" version of Ruby good enough to run Rails?

  • Tim HeuerTimHeuer Tim Heuer
    also check out a video interview: http://channel9.msdn.com/Showpost.aspx?postid=304924
  • Nobody would take our implementation seriously if it doesn't run Rails. But we've only been working on this for 4 weeks ...
  • That looks quite interesting.

    I’d like to hear more details about the DLR and how it could be used outside of Silverlight.

    I’m particularly curious about your IDE ideas for dynamic languages and I’m wondering if it would be possible to use languages that are traditionally image based like Self or Smalltalk in .NET.

    I'm also curious to see what changed in the dynamic versions of javascript and vb.
  • dannykboyddannykboyd dannykboyd
    Excellent podcast. Packed with great info. I learned a lot but was most excited to hear you talk about using the DLR and languages like Ruby outside of Silverlight. I'd gotten it into my head that using one required the other. Not true. Nothing at all against Silverlight, but being able to run Ruby inside of a DLR implementation of the Rails framework (which will no doubt come along shortly) while having external access to the .NET framework... Holy cow!
  • Jon.

    As always, an interesting and informative conversation.

    I listened to this in the car, so I needed it turned up for the quiet parts. But the volume variability was a lot.

    Have you tried The Levelator from Gigavox? It does a really nice job of levelling the volumes. And when you've got phone conversation the resulting podcast is just great. And the price is right!

    Maybe you'd consider it for future podcasts?

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