Rails 2.1 release candidate 1 is on its way

Word out on the wire is that Rails 2.1 RC1 has been tagged in the repository, so the gems should be available shortly. Being a point release, the changes aren’t major – mainly bug fixes and some performance improvements, but there are still some new features that will make it worth a look.

Updated timezone support

Timezones will finally become a first class citizen in Rails. You will be able to set the timezone, and all subsequent time calls will be with in that zone.

Time.zone = "Australia/Perth"
Time.zone.now # will return something like Wed, 24 May 2008 22:56:00 WST +08:00

Better Gem dependencies

If you rely on gems in any of your projects (and why wouldn’t you? Code re-use and all that), you may have come across the pain of gem versioning. Rails 2.1 will allow you to stipulate what versions of each gem you need.

config.gem "chronic", :version => '0.2.3'

It also adds a rake task that will automatically install the right gems for you.

rake gems:unpack

Improved caching

Previously, the only caching options Rails developers had was based around file fragments, which is fine for single server setups – but scaling that up to multiple servers could cause synchronisation issues, causing your cache to go stale. To combat this, you can now use a number of other shared caching systems including a memory store, drb store and a mem-cache store.

All very exciting stuff, and well worth a checking out. If you can download the beta gems by running the following from your trusty terminal window:

gem install rails –source http://gems.rubyonrails.com/