Ruby is awesome : just give it a try if you haven’t already, you won’t be disappointed, but if you’re used to the cosy and prepackaged world of Visual Studio you’ll be probably thinking “okay, ruby is cool and everything but no way i’m doing serious work with it, ’cause <insert your tool-related complaint here>” . And yes, unfortunately there’s no such thing as VS in the ruby world. But you can live with it : here ‘s my ruby stack, i’ve developed real world desktop applications using these tools and no, notepad is not involved 🙂
- MySQL is my DBMS of choice when working with ruby. The Rails community seems to have chosen this too so if you’re having problems the answer is 9 out of 10 just a google search away.
- I’m using DataMapper for my ORM needs, but i think ActiveRecord is maybe a better choice if you’re starting from scratch… much more information available.
- I think NetBeans is way more confortable than Eclipse if you’re coming from VS. If you’re not that much into IDEs i know there’s full support for Ruby in Emacs. But I haven’t tried that out.
- Qt is great but expensive. GTK+ is good too, and free. They’ve got both an interface designer and good specs (Qt has an advantage over GTK+ about the latter). It’s all about the kind of application you’re going to develop : if it’s opensource, go for Qt. Oh, did i mention there’s NO support for interface designing in the IDE? More about this later.
- If you’re using Ruby you have to test your applications. No exceptions. Test::Unit + Mocha + Needle is what you’re looking for. The first one is integrated in the language, Mocha and Needle come in separated gems. RSpec is fascinating but i haven’t used it (and BDD) enough so i can’t tell.
Everything happens under linux (Ubuntu 8.10). All the tools i mentioned are of course available under windows as well.