12 10 / 2012
There are choices depending on your platform, such as therubyracer or therubyrhino to name a few. What gem and JS engine to use? Well, neither one of them. The reason behind this is fairly simple - you should stay as open as possible and try not to lock your users to a particular engine and the mostly native code behind it.
What’s the way out of this? There’s a great gem created by Sam Stephenson and other contributors called ExecJS. By depending on ExecJS you state that your gem needs a JS engine but you leave the rest onto the end users. ExecJS can automatically detect available JS engines and choose the most appropriate one. As of writing this text, there are 5 supported engines:
- therubyracer - Google V8 embedded within Ruby
- therubyrhino - Mozilla Rhino embedded within JRuby
- Microsoft Windows Script Host (JScript)
The end users decide what JS engine they want to or even can use on their target platforms. Often we have been burned by the therubyracer gem not being able to successfully compile on some BSD systems. By depending on ExecJS you allow users to easily solve this problem by for example installing a standalone Node.js.
Long story short, please think of your users and always use ExecJS instead of hard coded dependency.
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