Ruby on Rails

Cleanly install RMagick on OSX Leopard


Apple's latest Mac OSX release, 10.5, dubbed "Leopard", does a great job to remedy the problem Rails developers had with previous releases - Ruby is now installed and works correctly, with Rails and a whole bunch of other common gems installed too. Awesome stuff. The one thing they missed, however, was the graphics manipulation package RMagick, but thankfully has put together a tutorial for installing RMagick that covers everything needed to get it working.

Insanely easy tabbed web pages with Prototype


I came across this today when trying to find an easier way to present a six-part form in a Rails project - a tabbed interface system built upon Prototype (an integral part of Rails). Called Control.Tabs it makes tabbed interfaces a synch to do: simply add an unordered list containing links to the blocks containing your to-be-tabbed content, and add a line of JavaScript to start the ball rolling - that's it! Some of the examples given on the site take it even further, including building an image gallery, and I've used it to build a series of form pages into one page complete with back/forwards buttons, all without refreshing the page. Good stuff, and well worth the time for any Rails developer to try using.

(not going to finish) Production web serving with Cygwin - PHP, Ruby on Rails & ColdFusion


Note: I'm not going to finish this article as ultimately I ran into problems with Cygwin so migrated to running all Windows-native tasks. Still, in its raw state someone might find some use out of it.

Web development is an interesting field. Many of the technologies you try or wish to use work best with a specific requirement, for example despite attempts to the contrary ASP simply works best on Windows with IIS. Another example of this notion that has become rather common of late is that Ruby on Rails and its related tools really work best on UNIX-like operating systems and doesn't work as well on Windows.

For those "stuck" with Windows for their production web serving there is, however, a work-around called Cygwin, a UNIX compatiblity layer for Windows that has been around since the mid 90's so is very mature and well supported. Cygwin provides the best of both the UNIX world with a robust platform for running many UNIX-only tools, while still providing the Windows foundation which is often needed for e.g. proprietary database drivers. Read on as a give a full list of what you need to install, and how to configure, all of the tools necessary for a pretty comprehensive web development production environment.

Installing Cygwin

The first step is to obtain the Cygwin installer executable from Run the cygwin.exe program when you download it and you'll see something like the following:
Following through the prompts you'll want to first "Install from Internet" to download all of the required files and install them immediately. On the next screen you'll pick where to install Cygwin, whether to install it for all users or just yourself and whether to make data files use the UNIX or DOS/Windows format - I only ever change the directory path and leave the others at the defaults; the next screen asks where you want to keep the downloaded files, I recommend a sub-directory of where you're installing the main Cygwin system, just to keep them close at hand. The next two screens will ask for your network settings (most people can leave the defaults) and then to pick the Cygwin server to obtain all of the files from - I suggest going through the list and trying some to see how fast they are before picking a favorite.

The next screen is where all the fun is - you get to pick what software to install. I recommend clicking the "View" button to make the list change to a plain list of all of the available software, and maximizing the window, as it can be confusing to work out what category certain apps are in.
Here are the packages we are going to need, besides the basics:

  • apache2
  • gcc
  • gcc-g++
  • gnupg
  • ImageMagick
  • nano
  • curl
  • mhash
  • openssh
  • ruby
  • subversion
  • unzip
  • wget
  • whois
  • make
  • openssl-devel
  • ping
  • bison
  • flex
  • libmcrypt
  • libmcrypt-devel

ssh-host-config -y
Give a password
ntsec tty

make -f Makefile.cygwin
make -f Makefile.cygwin install

Ruby on Rails

ruby installed via cygwin
download rubygems
ruby setup.rb
gem install --remote --include-dependencies rails
gem install --remote --include-dependencies mongrel
gem install --remote --include-dependencies mongrel_cluster
gem install --remote --include-dependencies capistrano
gem install --remote --include-dependencies image_science
gem install --remote --include-dependencies hpricot

SQL Server

dmckenna@websrv /home/dmckenna/ruby-dbi
$ mkdir /lib/ruby/site_ruby/1.8/DBD

dmckenna@websrv /home/dmckenna/ruby-dbi
$ mkdir /lib/ruby/site_ruby/1.8/DBD/ADO

dmckenna@websrv /home/dmckenna/ruby-dbi
$ cp lib/dbd/ADO.rb /lib/ruby/site_ruby/1.8/DBD/ADO


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