Luke Melia


October 8, 2005

Ruby on Rails on, and on OS X

Inspired by Tracks, a GPL Ruby on Rails app designed to support David Allen’s Getting Things Done system, I decided to get my feet wet in this technology.

My first project was to get a hosted copy of the stable release (1.03) running on my site here at These instructions were very useful.

But I didn’t like that they focus on installing in the root of a site, though, and I drove myself a little crazy getting Tracks up and running in a subdirectory. This post helped get that working properly. The .htaccess change was really all that was required. But there was a lot of broken routes, and I’m not clear yet if the subdirectory change is the cause, or what. One other thing to note is that you want to install the rails app outside of your webroot and then symlink to the public directory, because there is sensitive info in there.

I love the application and am full of ideas to improve it, so my next project is to get the trunk running on my G5 under OS X 10.4. Got RoR installed, installed mysql, checked out the latest code from tracks via subversion, and then I got hit with what seems to be a very common issue on Tiger – the “No database selected” selected error. I read a whole bunch of stuff, but I want to give a shout out to and send them some pagerank, because here’s the succint solution that worked for me.

You know, one of my colleagues was laughing because a non-programmer emailed him a two sentence email. “Ruby on Rails. What is this?” There is a lot of hype right now, but there also signs that the framework has some legs. Key among them for me was ThoughtWorks’ recent announcement that they were adding RoR as part of their core offerings. I wouldn’t yet say I’m on the bandwagon, but I’m admiring the wagon’s finish, looking into the wagon’s history, and taking it for a test drive.

3 Responses to “Ruby on Rails on, and on OS X”

  1. Noah chimed in:

    Luuuuke –

    I’m officially on the bandwagon as of a month ago. And I went through all those installation pains you mentioned as well. Once you get it up and running its very smooth sailing. Is it worth the hype? I think so. It’s not going to replace Java and .NET in the enterprise but it sure as hell should replace php and perl and all those other goofball ways of gettin something useful on the ‘net.

    Its amazing what kinds of things you can start to think about when you have a good, simple to use framework. Yes, RoR has some degree of AJAX support, but more importantly, it frees you up to start to think about that kind of thing.

    Hope all is well.

  2. Luke chimed in:

    Cool, Noah. Yeah, a few days in and I’m definitely digging it. Worth the hype for sure. I think it will engender lots of imitators. (I’ve been investigating MonoRail, a .NET rails-inspired framework…). Interesting how perfectly Ruby works for this, though. The language seems like a really nice blend of java/C# OO and perlish brevity. The deployment environment situation with rails seems a little dicey. I wish I could run it on pair without resorting to straight up CGI.

  3. Duncan chimed in:

    Hi Luke,
    I too use pair and am trying to get an app up and running on their shared hosting. I’ve gone through all the docs above but am getting this dreaded ‘Application error failed to start’ error page. I have gone through and given everything 777 permissions (just to strike out any permissions problems), any clues or did you have any similar problems? What did you have to change in your .htaccess file?

    A help or pointers anyone?

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