Without further ado, a release candidate of the popular open source Ruby on Rails 3.0 web development framework has finally been made available, according to a blog post early this week. The release candidate, which is usually the final stage before a general release of software, had been expected in early-June at the end of the RailsConf technical conference. Instead, a fourth beta release was issued at the time.

"As things usually go in open source, we gorged ourselves on fixes and improvements instead. But all to your benefit. We've had 842 commits by 125 authors since the release of the last beta," said Rails founder David Heinemeier Hansson, in the blog post. Rails users can access the release candidate via their RubyGems capability. Gems is the Rails library packaging system.

Rails 3.0 has been influenced by the Merb framework, benefitting in areas such as speed and plug-in capabilities. Cross-site scripting attack protection has been touted for inclusion as well, along with unobtrusive JavaScript capabilities. A new router emphasizes RESTful declarations.

The release candidate supports the MySQL2 gem, which will take care of MySQL encoding issues on Ruby 1.9.2. The release candidate also fixes issues with autoload and web encoding. A quick turnaround is anticipated for the general release of Rails 3. "We're hoping no more than a few weeks," Hansson said in an interview.