Deploying Rails on Windows servers

Most Rails applications are deployed in a Unix server environment. Tools like Capistrano make this dead easy. For those working in a Windows environment, deployment can get considerably harder. The good news is that it’s still possible and just got a lot easier.

Brian Hogan has developed a series of articles with instructions for various methods of deploying Rails applications in a Windows server environment. Broken up across four articles, the topics covered are as follows:

Cheers to Brian for sharing the fruits of his labor.

Laying Tracks: How to Contribute to Rails

Josh Susser is at it again. He’s whiped up a PDF presentation called Laying Tracks which details the hows and the whys of contributing patches to Rails.

At just 16 slides, it’s short but meaty. He sums up the patch making and contributing workflow succinctly. This should be required reading for anyone looking to submit code to Rails core.

Documentation push

We’ve recently decided to put some work into Rails documentation. We’d like to flesh out the existing docs, add documentation for the corners that are lacking and update what may have gone stale.

Kevin Clark is leading up this campaign and would like to get the help of the community at large.

He’s got a write up that goes over how you can help Documenting Rails . It summarizes what we are looking for and gives basic instructions to get those who are interested in helping up and running. The main guidelines are:

  • Write to teach
  • Provide examples
  • Don’t restate the obvious

Good documentation patches are right up there with good code patches. If you’d like to help out Rails while gaining a deeper understanding of how it works, taking part in this documentation project would be a great start.

The Complete Guide to Rails Plugins

Plugins are the official way to bend Rails to do your bidding. Creating a plugin is a great way to share your Rails extensions with others who may find them useful. Until recently though, resources on plugins have been scattered around various blog articles and mailing list posts.

Mr. Rails Podcast Geoffrey Grosenbach has pulled together these various resources and done the homework for you. Presented in several parts, here is Part I of The Complete Guide to Rails Plugins.

This first installment is an introductory overview. He covers how to find and install plugins, lists the various points of entry into your Rails app that plugins can hook into as well as summarizing the parts they generally consist of. He’s got an explanation for each default file and directory that gets generated for a new plugin.

With this primer you’ll be all set for making your own plugin when Part II comes around.

RailsConf Europe: September 14-15 in London

The first RailsConf scheduled for June 22-25 in Chicago sold out so fast it made our heads spin. 550 seats were snatched up before the program was even ready or a week had passed. That left a lot of people from Europe and even the US without much of a chance to participate.

Here comes the remedy: RailsConf Europe. From September 14th to 15th, London will set the stage for the second official Ruby on Rails conference.

The program has yet to be finalized, but a good number of headliners have already been confirmed: Dave Thomas, Jamis Buck, Jim Weirich, and my favorite blogger and thinker on passion, Kathy Sierra. Marcel Molina, David A. Black, Chad Fowler, and yours truly are also lined up. A call for proposals should be going up shortly to fill in the rest.

Bringing over that many speakers from the US and putting them and the conference up in central London ain’t cheap, though. So the sticker might carry a bit of an initial shock. There’s a super-early bird special of £400 and the rates then travel from there to a just-before price of £575.

But none of the speakers are taking home a dime and Chad Fowler has been working his ass off for free through RubyCentral, which is the non-profit organization putting on this show. They have in the past used profits from conferences to fund Ruby hackathons. So at least you know your quid isn’t being blown on white powdery rails. All the hype is 100% home-grown.

To the tune of that violin, let me just remind that as with RailsConf Chicago, there’re a limited number of seats. Roughly 500 spots. When they’re gone, they’re gone. If you want to go to an official Rails conference this year, meet and hear the core team among others speak, this is the last chance.

See you all in London in September!

Radiant released: Content Management Simplified


John Long has announced the initial release of Radiant, the simple and elegant CMS that is planned to eventually power the redesigned reincarnation of the official Ruby website, ruby-lang.org.

You can take a look at some screenshots, check out the demo, read the source, subscribe to the mailing list, and follow along on the weblog.

Underneath the sheets, John is using his custom templating library Radius, on top of which he’s implemented his so called Behaviors. To help you dig into such features, John has provided some starting points for learning Radiant as well as a quickstart for Radius. If you want to jump aboard and help the development, he’s providing some tips on how you can contribute.

svn co http://dev.radiantcms.org/svn/radiant/trunk/radiant/

Things called a CMS are notoriously complex. Cheers for keeping it simple.

Agile Web Development with Rails goes second edition

It’s back. Agile Web Development with Rails is now available in a 50%-done beta version of its second edition. Pretty much everything is getting a major overhaul. All the cool stuff we’ve added in Rails 1.1 is covered in the same structure that people so liked from the first version.

It’s wonderful to be able to present a version two of the primary title that has helped so many people get into Rails. And through the wonders of PDFs and agile publishing, to have it available so soon.

So if you’re interested in getting the latest scoop on everything from RJS, to join models, to migrations, to RESTful interfaces, to Capistrano, this is most definitely the book to get.

P.S.: Just so you don’t feel buyers remorse two days after getting a PDF of the first edition, anyone that bought that PDF on or after April 1st gets a free upgrade to the second edition.

Both Dave Thomas and I covered the announcement in additional detail.