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Rails Installer - Get up and running on Windows (railsinstaller.org)
100 points by bphogan on Jan 18, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 35 comments

From http://www.rubyinside.com/rails-installer-ruby-and-rails-on-... (which I worked on with Wayne), I just wanted to repeat a key point:

I've been speaking to Wayne and in the long term he will extend the RailsInstaller site with more information on where to go next and links to tutorials, etc, but for now he wants RailsInstaller.org to be the #1 "go to" site for budding Windows-based Rails developers. To help with this, he's keen for people to link to http://railsinstaller.org/ with the text Rails Windows Installer - making it more likely to come up if people Google for "rails windows" and similar.

Being on sites like HN will probably do most of the work but Wayne & RVM have been significant credits to the Ruby world in the last year so if you have the opportunity to link it up, please do! I'm going to get a link on Ruby Inside ASAP..

The biggest hurdle with Rails on Windows is that when things go wrong (and often in subtly different ways with different solutions to when things go wrong on OSX and Unix), the quality of help just isn't the same. Overcoming that is a harder barrier than the initial installation, which this certainly seems to significantly improve.

The most useful Windows installer I found for RoR (and I'm far from a Windows detractor) was this one: http://www.ubuntu.com/desktop/get-ubuntu/windows-installer

Another "side-by-side" route is via virtualization. I like http://vagrantup.com/ a lot for this. It allows you to share folders between the host + the guest OS. I'm interested in this route. Engine Yard is sponsoring Mitchell & his virtualization work to help it get more traction as part of a standard development toolset.

Either way, these are more convoluted "getting started" or "test drive" solutions. A 50Mb one-click installer that "just works" will hopefully help new Rails developers fall in love with Rails first and foremostly.

I'm just learning ROR from an online tutorial (http://railstutorial.org/), and I wish I had this last week. For newbies like myself, I think installing the framework is sometimes such a big hurdle, it pushes one to give up early. Which is unfortunate, because I read the real challenges happen a few weeks in.

I had a weird issue where I had to reinstall xcode from the OS X DVD. Took a bit of Googling to figure that one out.

If you're on a mac, you already have rails and ruby 1.8.6 (osx 10.5) or 1.8.7 (osx 10.6).

Just sudo gem update to get the latest version and you're good to go.

ruby 1.8.7 is required for Rails 3; so Leopard/10.5 users need to install ruby 1.8.7 manually to get started as if they didn't have ruby installed at all, I think.

Actually ruby 1.8.7 is required to install ruby 1.9.2. Rails doesn't need 1.8.7 and works fine with just ruby 1.9.2 installed.

  ruby - Ruby itself is prerequisite in order to build Ruby 1.9. It can be 1.8.
source: http://redmine.ruby-lang.org/wiki/ruby/DeveloperHowto#label-...

If you install via RVM, you don't need a system ruby or anything else installed for bootstrapping.



Good point. I've been on 1.9 for so long I'd forgotten about the 1.8.7 requirement for Rails 3.

If you want to get up and running on Ubuntu I've found that this is a great way: http://ryanbigg.com/2010/12/ubuntu-ruby-rvm-rails-and-you

I made a screencast of that for anyone who prefers that method: http://www.rubyinside.com/how-to-install-ruby-1-9-2-and-rail...

The coderpath podcast (http://coderpath.com) will be interviewing Wayne and Dr. Nic later today (January 18th/2011 @ 4pm PST). If you would like the host of coderpath to ask them a question about the Rails Installer, add your questions here: http://titanpad.com/r8CWyBBA4T

I am sure there is a good reason for choosing Ruby 1.8.7-p* instead of 1.9.*, but I'd like to know that reason :)

For the first release we wanted a stack of projects that "just worked", rather than the latest release of everything. We have a lot more confidence that a new developer to Rails, if using Ruby 1.8.7 from RubyInstaller will have a good development experience, today.

The intent is to upgrade RailsInstaller to Ruby 1.9.2 definitely. For the first release, we went with 1.8.7 to maximize the likelihood of pleasant experiences.

I'd like an integration test suite around RailsInstaller for common use cases of Rails (and other common ecosystem tools, like git). That might go hand in hand with the promotion of ruby 1.9.2 on Windows.

Over the last year I've done a few workshops for folks on Windows and I can tell you that you are spot on with your dicision to use 1.8.7 for now. It's so much more stable on Windows. The target audience for this package doesn't understand the various nuances that exist with Ruby, and really just expects things to work. With 1.9.2, I can get a newbie through an introductory class and tutorial, but as soon as they go outside and try to follow a RailsCast with a newer library, stuff starts getting weird.

I hope that this increases visibility on Windows so that gem maintainers will pay more attention to that audience when developing and improving their libraries.

Ruby 1.9.1 segfaults with rails 3 and 1.9.2 is in a state of flux? maybe?

Ruby 1.9.1 was only a development release anyway. Ruby 1.9.2 is a full, production release (and the first of the Ruby 1.9.x releases to be so). Ruby 1.9.2 isn't particularly "in flux" but Ruby 1.9 is generally with Ruby 1.9.3 expected by the end of the year.

1.9.2 is stable. It, apparently, doesn't work perfectly on Windows though.

All of my Hackety problems on Windows? Ruby 1.9.1. Works great on Linux and Mac. Windows... not so much.

Working on the 1.9.2 port, but it's just not that simple...

Exactly ... I had this same problem on windows trying to run Rails and I just assumed it was still being worked on. My mistake.

As far as easing pains for Windows development in a corporate environment, I don't see this as a silver bullet because of the poor support for mswin32 gems. BUT for Rails being taught in the classroom and other developers testing out Rails on the weekend - this could be a game changer.

My feature wish: I hope for ANSI colors. Oooh, I want pretty colors enabled by default.

the closest we can get to ANSI color support is ANSICON http://adoxa.110mb.com/ansicon/index.html

Here's what it looks like with Rspec: http://www.bryanbibat.net/images/rspec-haml.png

Yes, colors!!! I added a feature request here - https://www.pivotaltracker.com/story/show/8786925

In cygwin, the mintty terminal has great looks (ansi colors and pretty smooth font).


Very cool - I have yet to try it out, but if its as easy as the video suggests, this could be a boon for ruby/rails. I've made several attempts at introducing .NET developer friends to Ruby/Rails, but they've given up, due to frustration preparing the environment on their Windows boxes -- Hopefully this will help change that experience.

So this is a new version of InstantRails (http://instantrails.rubyforge.org/wiki/wiki.pl), good to see the project was continued.

It was how i started with Rails and Ruby on Windows. After I got addicted I switched to Ubuntu.

I thought rails was a pain to set up until I got a mac. That's not an advertisement for osx though, it's just what rails is catered for. I would love to see better support on other platforms. This includes linux, it's easier than osx, but there are still issues.

What are the differences between RailsInstaller and RubyStack ?


RubyStack is great - it installs lots of things you need for running Rails in production on Windows, I think. Like Apache and MySQL server, etc. The 20-panel wizard is sort of off-putting, if you really want to be fussy. I don't think RubyStack includes Git when I last looked.

The focus for RailsInstaller is a welcome kit for new developers. Can we give them everything they need for the first 30 days until they fall in love with Rails? After that, they'll learn to create tickets on projects, learn about different Rubies, learn about different ways to do things.

Can we keep them excited and nurture them into the Rails/Ruby communities? Hopefully, yes, if its trivially easy to get started.

I thought that rubystack was focused to give the users everything they need to start working with rails avoiding environment setup as well.

Sorry but I am trying to see the difference but I am not sure if I can.

So then the difference is some kind of friendly/more advanced installation interface and an easy way to get started installing less "stuff" than rubystack does?

Yes, RubyStack includes Git as well

Ah ok, thanks. I didn't see it mentioned on http://bitnami.org/stack/rubystack and I didn't remember seeing it when I ran the installer last year.

RubyStack also has virtual machine and Amazon EC2 versions. RubyStack also supports Linux and Mac, though it seems support for that is planned for RailsInstaller as well.

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