Setup Ruby on Rails development environment

When Rails 3 was released a coworker was very excited about it and he convinced me to give it a try. I have tried different version of Rails 1 and version 2, but at the time something about it didn’t really feel right to me, so I decided to stick to PHP for my own web projects and .NET for my professional work.

My coworker recommended to read the tutorial on http://railstutorial.org. After giving it a try and playing around with some applications for about 2 months now, I must say that I am really impressed. Everything in Rails is super streamlined for developing web applications.

Setting up your development environment is actually quite easy, no matter what OS you are on. I have tried both on my Mac and on my Windows 7 machine. Let me show you how to set it up on Windows:

Step 1 – Install Ruby
The first step is to download and install Ruby from http://rubyinstaller.org. Make sure you install it to a path that does not include any spaces, like “C:\Program Files”, this is known to cause a lot of issues. Best is to stick with the default, for version 1.9.2x it is “C:\Ruby192″.

Step 2 – Install Rails
Open up a Powershell terminal and execute:
gem install rails

This will install the latest version of Rails on your system.

Step 3 – Install SQLite binaries
We need a database, for development it is recommended to use SQLite since it needs almost no setup or configuration. Grap the latest binary for windows on http://www.sqlite.org/download.html. The zip should contain two files, sqlite3.def and sqlite3.dll. Extract the zip to the bin directory of your ruby installation, in my case “C:\Ruby192\bin”.

Now you need to install the sqlite-ruby gem (the database adaptor for rails).
gem install sqlite3-ruby

Step 4 – Create an application and try it out
Now you can create a new Rails application by typing:
rails new testapplication

This will create a new rails application in a folder named testapplication. Go into the folder and execute:
bundle install

This installs the Gems required to run the application. Start the application by typing
rails server

PS C:\dev\testapplication> rails server
=> Booting WEBrick
=> Rails 3.0.3 application starting in development on http://0.0.0.0:3000
=> Call with -d to detach
=> Ctrl-C to shutdown server
[2011-01-08 13:09:36] INFO WEBrick 1.3.1
[2011-01-08 13:09:36] INFO ruby 1.9.2 (2010-08-18) [x86_64-darwin10.4.0]
[2011-01-08 13:09:36] INFO WEBrick::HTTPServer#start: pid=37700 port=3000

Your application is up running! Browse to http://localhost:3000 and you should find the default “Welcome aboard” page. Now go read the great tutorial at railstutorial.org and build something fun :)

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