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Setting Up Ubuntu 9.10 for Ruby On Rails Development

February 1st, 2010 by

This is a document I put together at the beginning of 2010 while building yet another Ubuntu VM, digging through our internal documentation to try and find out what I needed. We’ve got the answers, and generally Ruby, Rails, and Ubuntu are pretty good about telling you how to install tools if you don’t have them yet.

But the answers are spread out and distributed randomly. Plus, I can only see “The program ‘______’ is currently not installed. You can install it by typing: sudo apt-get install ______” so many times before I lose interest and put off the task.

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Using Byobu and Landscape to improve remote Ubuntu sessions

January 22nd, 2010 by

SSHing into remote servers can be an awkward experience, but it doesn’t have to be. You can turn your ssh console into a terminal-style window manager with Byobu, and get more system information via landscape.
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Using Sanitize Email to Preview HTML Emails Locally

April 30th, 2009 by

John Trupiano has a great post to get you started with sanitize_email for Ruby on Rails.

I wanted to preview my HTML emails without having to fill up my online email inboxes with tons of email (and then I’d have to make filters too). I also didn’t want to manage actually sending real email. So, I set up my machine for local delivery. Read on for instructions.
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environmentalist 0.2.3 released — supports rails 2.3.2

April 4th, 2009 by

Just a heads up that I’ve released environmentalist 0.2.3. You can update with:

  sudo gem install environmentalist

The only substantial change in this release is that we moved the loading of postboot.rb to the bottom of the boot.rb file as opposed to the top of config/environment.rb. This was necessary because common db rake tasks like db:create and db:drop stopped loading the environment in 2.3.2.

As a recap, environmentalist provides an executable that converts a rails app’s config structure. The basic idea is that environments themselves are now first-class citizens, allowing you to create several environments (e.g. staging, prodtest, demo, etc.) in a clean, organized fashion. Each environment is given its own folder where it can store its own set of configuration files (think mongrel configs, apache configs, etc.) without polluting the top-level config/ directory.

Introducing environmentalist: an intuitive, environment-focused config structure for your rails applications

August 4th, 2008 by

A couple of months ago, I wrote an article (Better setup for environments in rails) discussing the standard set of changes we make to the config structure of each of our rails apps.

The primary motivation for me to make these changes stemmed from the need to have several deployable environments. The standard set of rails environments (development, test, production) simply just don’t cut it for me. It’s important for us to be able to deploy to staging, demo and even production-test environments. When including server configurations (e.g. a Passenger config snippet, or a mongrel_cluster config snippet), I’ve often had to use unique configurations for each deployable environment. Consequently, my config/ directory quickly became polluted with files such as: apache_prod.conf, apache_staging.conf, apache_demo.conf. Furthermore, it also requires special care when deployment comes around.

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