Steps for installing and setting up Ruby on Rails, generating an example Ruby on Rails app, and putting it in production mode on Heroku. The assumed operating system is Mac OS X (tested on OS X 10.9.1).
Some of the following steps wouldn’t be really necessary for such a simple hello world app, however, the aim is to show all the basic important steps for creating and deploying serious apps.
Check Which Ruby Version To Use
Check the recommended Ruby version for the current Ruby on Rails release.
Install Required Ruby Version With rbenv
brew install rbenv ruby-build
Add the following to
~/.bash_profile and restart shell:
if which rbenv >/dev/null; then eval "$(rbenv init -)"; fi
List available Ruby versions:
rbenv install -l
Install desired Ruby version and set as global default:
rbenv install 2.2.3 rbenv global 2.2.3
Note: if the installation aborts with an error “dtrace: failed to compile script probes.d: Preprocessor not found”, try to install with:
CONFIGURE_OPTS="--disable-dtrace" rbenv install 2.1.0
Install Bundler and Ruby on Rails
gem install bundler gem install rails
After this, restart shell.
Install Ruby on Rails Plugin for Vim
If you use Vim for editing Ruby on Rails source files, this is recommended. The rails.vim plugin is here
Note: if the app uses a database, a database must be installed on the local machine for development mode. Typically used databases are SQLite, MySQL, and PostgreSQL. SQLite is the only one that seems to be installed by default on Mac.
Heroku, the production server, uses PostgreSQL by default. It is advisable to use the same database for development and production. Therefore, if the app is to be deployed to Heroku, it’s recommended to install PostgreSQL on the local machine and use it as the development database.
brew install postgres
Start PostgreSQL shell:
Here are some basic PostgreSQL shell commands:
db=# select * from pg_roles; /* Display all PostgreSQL users and their privileges. In database.yml, the user in development mode must be one of these. */ db=# \list /* List all databases */ db=# drop database db_name; /* Delete a specific database (db_name) */ db=# \c db_name /* Connect to a specific database (db_name) */ db=# \dt /* List all tables in current database */ db=# \q /* Exit PostgreSQL shell */
db_name or any other name in double quotes, if syntax errors occur.
Generate a Starter Ruby on Rails App
The RailsApps project provides barebones Rails apps that can be used as a starting point for building own apps. The starter apps can be installed and set up interactively with the Rails Composer from the same project. To generate a starter app with Rails Composer, type:
rails new hello-world -m https://raw.github.com/RailsApps/rails-composer/master/composer.rb
Rails Composer asks a couple of questions. Choose (for example):
Build a starter application? Build a RailsApps example application Starter apps for Rails 4.1. rails-devise Web server for development? Thin Web server for production? Thin Database used in development? PostgreSQL Template engine? ERB Continuous testing? None Front-end framework? Bootstrap 3.0 Add support for sending email? Gmail Devise modules? Devise with default modules Use a form builder gem? SimpleForm
The following questions are important because we use PostgreSQL as the development database:
Username for PostgreSQL?(leave blank to use the app name) Choose your UNIX username. The reason is that PostgreSQL has by default a user with all the needed privileges with that name. Host for PostgreSQL in database.yml? (leave blank to use default socket conn.) Leave blank Password for PostgreSQL user dw? Choose what you want
Run App in Development Mode
Start server (from within project directory):
The app is now served at http://localhost:3000/
Stop server with Ctr-C
If the starter app includes a login, the existing users and their credentials are in
Now the app works in development mode. Let’s go over to production mode.
Set Up a Heroku Environment
- First, create an account on the Heroku website.
- Install the Heroku Toolbelt from here
- Create SSH keys
ssh-keygen -t rsa
- Add public SSH key to Heroku
Create an App Container on Heroku
heroku create hello-world
Most of the following information of deploying a RailsApps starter app to Heroku is also described here
Add the rails_12factor Gem to Production Mode
Note: this seems to be missing from the example app. It makes sure that the assets are rendered correctly by Heroku.
Add the following to the Gemfile:
gem 'rails_12factor', group: :production
All the values in
config/secrets.yml must evaluate to meaningful strings. They can be pure strings, or they can be of the form
ENV["VARIABLE"], in which case they evaluate to the value of the UNIX environment variable
Set environment vars on Heroku:
heroku config:set VAR=value
Display all Heroku environment vars:
Add Procfile for Heroku
Note: this sets to use the Thin application server on Heroku instead of the less robust WEBrick.
Create file Procfile in root of project directory with content:
web: bundle exec rails server thin -p $PORT -e $RACK_ENV
Make a Git commit
Note: the Git repository has been created by Rails Composer.
Push App to Heroku
Note: this pushes the head of the master branch of the Git repository to Heroku. After every local change, a Git commit is necessary before executing below command again.
git push heroku master
Set Up Database on Heroku
heroku run rake db:migrate heroku run rake db:seed
Access App in Production Mode