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Ruby implementors, including Ruby creator Yukihiro Matusomoto, held their first design meeting this week to hash out niggles with the scripting language.

Representatives from JRuby, Rubinius and MacRuby joined Matz - as Matusomotoc is known - and the Ruby core team.Their discussions focused on a common API for MultiVM and the addition RubySpecs to the Ruby versions 1.8 and 1.9 build processes for improved regression and compliance testing. Ola Blini, ThoughtWorks Studios' systems architect and developer, blogged: "This takes us one step closer to a real executable specification that everyone agrees on and has official blessing from Matz."

The meeting also decided to set up continuous integration for Ruby 1.8 and 1.9.

The meeting, the first of a series, signifies awareness among the Ruby community of some shortcomings in the language. These include different, and unexplained behaviors of the language; and slow performance of post- 1.8.6 releases of Ruby on Rails.

At last week's annual Silicon Valley Ruby Conference, XML co-father Tim Bray and Microsoft IronPython lead John Lam pointed to inconsistencies in the language and a possible balkanization that could hinder uptake, in the absence of a single specification.

Lam said there was a need for a Guy-Steele-Jr figure to define Ruby, in the way Steele helped define Java, creating consistency and helping drive today's ubiquity. There is no indication this latest work would produce the kind of spec that helped Java in its early days, though.

For more on the discussions go here. Thanks to David for flagging up this meeting.®

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