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Ruby 2.6.0 was released yesterday and brings a new JIT compiler. The new version also has the RubyVM::AbstractSyntaxTree module.

The new JIT compiler in Ruby 2.6.0

Ruby 2.6.0 comes with an early implementation of a Just-In-Time (JIT) compiler. The JIT compiler was introduced in Ruby to improve the performance of programs made with Ruby. Traditional JIT compilers operate in-process but Ruby’s JIT compiler gives out C code to the disk and generates a common C compiler to create native code.

To enable the JIT compiler, you just need to specify –jit either on the command line or in the $RUBYOPT environment variable. Using –jit-verbose=1 will cause the JIT compiler to print additional information. The JIT compiler will work only when Ruby is built by GCC, Clang, or Microsoft Visual C++. Any of these compilers need to be available at runtime.

On Optcarrot, a CPU intensive benchmark, Ruby 2.6 has 1.7x faster performance compared to Ruby 2.5. The JIT compiler, however, is still experimental and workloads like Rails might not benefit from for now.

The RubyVM::AbstractSyntaxTree module

Ruby 2.6 brings the RubyVM::AbstractSyntaxTree module and the team does not guarantee any future compatibility of this module. The module has a parse method, which parses the given string as Ruby code and returns the Abstract Syntax Tree (AST) nodes in the code. The given file is opened and parsed by the parse_file method as Ruby code, this returns AST nodes.

A RubyVM::AbstractSyntaxTree::Node class—another experimental feature—is also introduced in Ruby 2.6.0. Developers can get source location and children nodes from the Node objects.

To know more about other new features and improvements in detail, visit the Ruby 2.6.0 release notes.

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