Ruby on Rails – Part 1

One of my New Year resolutions for 2007 is to learn Ruby and Rails. This is the first of a multi-part series documenting my progress and general impressions, it is not a tutorial or in depth analysis of the language.

Installation

Three weeks ago I downloaded the latest releases along with the RadRails IDE. I selected a Dell Inspiron 600m laptop running Ubuntu Edgy Eft as the target for installation. Building and installing Ruby from the source finished without any errors. I later discovered that my system was missing the zlib development package which I had to install which was followed by a quick re-build of Ruby. I then installed Ruby Gems and Rails without any problems.

The test system was equipped with the latest Java VM making the installation of RadRails a simple ‘tar xvzf’. RadRails fired up and after setting a few options relating to the location of my ruby interpreter, rake, etc., I was ready to start throwing down code. I went to fire up the integrated irb console in RadRails and was greeted with:

'require': No such file to load -- readline (LoadError)

This required me to:

apt-get install libncurses5-dev libreadline5-dev

and then:

cd ext/readline
ruby extconf.rb
make
sudo make install

Trying the console again I was greeted with a prompt rather than an error, success!

Impressions

Overall the process of finding the necessary components and how to install them was straightforward. My starting point was the Ruby on Rails web site. I followed the instructions under the Download Rails section which were clear and concise. Ruby Gems is well executed and much better than similar tools such as CPAN for Perl or PEAR for PHP, in my opinion. I personally didn’t find it more difficult than configuring a basic Java development environment.

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