Read my latest article: 8 things I look for in a Ruby on Rails app (posted Thu, 06 Jul 2017 16:59:00 GMT)

Planet Argon Podcast, Episode 1: Shin Splints

Posted by Thu, 22 Oct 2009 22:50:00 GMT

We’re currently waiting to get our new podcast approved by Apple, but have uploaded episode 1 to tumblr in the meantime.

In this short episode, we cover the following topics:

We’re planning to keep this short and focused to a few topics. Once it’s posted on iTunes, we’ll let you know.

Please consider subscribing to the podcast. Enjoy!

Howdy Rip!

Posted by Thu, 11 Jun 2009 16:35:00 GMT

Chris Wanstrath (@defunkt) just posted the following on twitter.

“Hello Rip –

The Rip project describes itself as, “an attempt to create a next generation packaging system for Ruby.”

One of the cool features is that it supports multiple environments. For example, you can have different Rip environments (with different gem versioning) that are targeted towards specific applications. I have to dig around more through the project, but this looks fascinating.

Check it out at

I’m also curious as to how you think you might be able to start using this.

Question: Plugins or Gems? (or both?)

Posted by Tue, 13 Jan 2009 18:56:00 GMT

1 comment Latest by Alex Stoneham Tue, 02 Feb 2010 17:20:27 GMT

Our development team likes to extract reusable pieces of code for our projects and have historically used plugins. However, we are finding more and more people releasing these sorts of modules/components/patterns as gems.

Which do you prefer and why?

If you use both, how do you decide to use plugins or gems?

Managing Required Gems on Rails Projects

Posted by Thu, 27 Mar 2008 02:27:00 GMT

We’re starting a new project and I’m finding myself adding things to the code base that we’ve done in the past… hence the last few posts. As we’re doing this, I’d like to highlight some of the little things that we do on each project to maintain some consistency and in that process reach out to the community for alternative approaches.

I’m intrigued by the vendor everything concept, but we haven’t yet adopted this on any of our projects (yet).

What we have been doing is to maintain a REQUIRED_GEMS file in the root directory of our Rails application.

For example:



Everybody on the team (designers/developers) knows to look here to make sure they have everything installed when beginning to work on the application.

This has worked fairly well from project to project but since we’re starting a new project, I’m curious if anybody has some better ways to approach this. Should we look more seriously at the vendor everything approach or are there any alternative approaches?

Get to Know a Gem: Rak

Posted by Tue, 11 Dec 2007 16:10:00 GMT

A few months ago, I posted about an article that showed you how to colorize your grep search results. Since then, I’ve heard people talking about ack, which describes itself as…

“a tool like grep, aimed at programmers with large trees of heterogeneous source code.”

It’s written in Perl, which is fine and dandy… but before I installed it, I heard that there was a Ruby version named rak, which describes itself as…

“a grep replacement in pure Ruby. It accepts Ruby syntax regular expressions and automatically recurses directories, skipping .svn/, .cvs/, pkg/ and more things you don’t care about. “

Sounds great. Let’s see what this thing can do.

Installing rak

Daniel Lucraft, the author of rak, was kind enough to package it up as a Rubygem. So, all we have to do is install it via gem install rak.

   > sudo gem install rak                                                                                                                                                                                                     
  Bulk updating Gem source index for:
  Successfully installed rak-0.8.0
  Installing ri documentation for rak-0.8.0...
  Installing RDoc documentation for rak-0.8.0...
  ~ >

Great, let’s move on.

Using rak

Now that it’s installed, we can use Rak by typing rak from the command line. You’d typically want to run this from within the root of your application.

For example, basic usage would look like the following.

$ rak search-pattern

In my first test, I ran rak README.

Immediately, I see a greater advantage to rak over using grep and that’s because it’s giving me line numbers for free, which takes remembering a few extra options with grep.

Like grep, we can specify a specific path to search with. For example, we use a view helper named link_to_unimplemented to help us track actions that aren’t implemented yet. Looking at a current project, I can run rak link_to_unimplemented app/views and produce the following results.

I’m going to keep playing with it, but wanted to help get the word out. If you have any tips on using it, please share them in the comments. :-)

Using MacPorts Ruby and Rails after Upgrading to OS X Leopard

Posted by Sat, 27 Oct 2007 09:43:00 GMT

If you previously followed my article, Installing Ruby on Rails and PostgreSQL on OS X, second edition and are now upgrading to OS X Leopard, you’ll want to make a few adjustments to your setup.

First of all, it’s great that Apple has decided to provide Ruby on Rails out of the box.

~ > gem list rails                                                                                                                                                                   
  *** LOCAL GEMS ***

  rails (1.2.3)
      Web-application framework with template engine, control-flow layer,
      and ORM.
How many gems does it come with?

~ > gem list|grep '^[a-z]'|wc -l                                                                                                                                                     

It’s really great that Apple shipped Leopard pre-installed with 29 gems, especially if you don’t have your entire Rails stack setup already. In my case and for those that have followed my installation process, you don’t need to switch over to this new development stack (yet). I have a lot of time invested in my fully-functionaly MacPorts installation process (PostgreSQL, MySQL, RMagick, Subversion, Git, etc. Since this all working fine on my machine, I’m not ready to make the switch to Apple’s installation.

Don’t Fix it… if it’s not broken!

So, the the first thing that I did was modify my PATH environment variable, which has /usr/bin as the first path that it’ll look at when you try to run commands like ruby, mongrel_rails, gem, etc. You’ll want to modify this and prepend /opt/local/bin: to the front of PATH in your shell configuration. If you’re using bash, this would be… ~/.bashrc. If you’re using zshell like me, ~/.zshrc.

Now, when you start a new Terminal and run gem list, you’ll see all of the gems that you already have installed.

~ > gem list rails                                                                                                                                   < new-host

*** LOCAL GEMS ***

rails (1.2.5, 1.2.4, 1.2.3, 1.1.6)
    Web-application framework with template engine, control-flow layer,
    and ORM.

Back to my happy gems…

~ > gem list|grep '^[a-z]'|wc -l                                                                                                                                                              < new-host

Great! Now I can get back to work and spend time playing with the new features in Finder,, and iChat instead of installing all of the software dependencies that our development projects have. :-)

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