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The Latest from My Journal

A Window(s) into Rails

Pro-tip: I have this annoying habit of trying to be clever with my post titles.

In effort to solidify what I’ve learned, I’m going to start writing more about what I’ve done. Chris Ferdinandi (GoMakeThings) encouraged me to share more about my journey in teaching myself Ruby, Rails, and other various facets of web development. I figured that, being a developer in a Windows environment, I might actually have some insight and failures that would be useful to others.


First off, I would like to thank the folks at EngineYard/RailsInstaller and RubyInstaller for their hard work in getting pre-compiled packages for Ruby and Rails built for Windows. Without them, working with Rails on Windows would be extremely difficult.

And that’s where my first and most important tool comes in: RailsInstaller. Built for not just Ruby and Rails, RailsInstaller also installs Git, SQLite, Bundler, and DevKit (which is needed for certain gems, including JSON). I’m actually currently installing v2.2.0 (I have 2.1.0 installed) in hopes that it will fix the issue Windows machines have with SSL certificate validations.

Note on the SSL Certificate errors: The issue comes from the Git version that is bundled with Rails installer using OpenSSL 0.9.8, when RubyGems really prefers OpenSSL 1.0.1x. I’m sure there is a way to update the Git version, but I hate messing with my path beyond the basic “add this directory to your path” in fear of a cascading failure. Daniel Kehoe of RailsApps has a very thorough explanation on fixing your OpenSSL issue, and he updates it frequently with any new information on the issue.

Speaking of Daniel Kehoe and RailsApps, if you’re looking for Rails tutorials that provide immediate practical applications, you should check it out. Between him and Michael Hartl’s Rails Tutorial Book, I was able to immediately start build Rails applications that were functional, in-depth, and made complete sense to me. They are great for beginners and early intermediate learners, and frequently updated with new techniques and gems to make everyone’s life easier.

My actual development tools are pretty basic: I use SublimeText2 for my editor, and I wrap my Git bash in Console2 which allows me to have several bash windows running without clouding my screen. I also have Guard-LiveReload installed on my system (with the LiveReload extension in Chrome), but it only works half of the time - not sure if it’s a user error, or just a relatively fragile extension.

And that’s pretty much it. A lot of the heavy lifting to get Rails running on Windows is already done, and I just get to sit back and code till my heart’s content. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that the slogan for Rails on Windows should be: It just works - Mostly.™

Next on the Calendar
Mar 11

Pendragon Returns

Like the birds in springtime, Pendragon Development returns to the web as a force for good.

Mar 25

Spartan's Run

One of my projects, codename Spartan, launches private beta today.

Apr 2

Greater Athens Area Software Developers Meetup - April

The monthly meetup of the Greater Athens Area Software Developers Meetup.

We really need a shorter name.

May 7

Greater Athens Area Software Developers Meetup - May

I’ll be giving a short presentation on deploying PHP, Node.JS, and other applications on the Windows Azure cloud platform: Greater Athens Area Software Developers Meetup