Leopard Server: Introduction to Ruby on Rails

October 28th, 2007 by Charles Edge

So Ruby on Rails… What does this mean for me and what exactly is Ruby on Rails from a systems administration standpoint? Ruby on Rails was created by David Heinemeier Hansson from his work on Basecamp, a web-based project-management tool, by the company 37signals. Ruby on Rails was first released to the public in July 2004. Ruby on Rails is a web application framework designed to support the development of dynamic websites. To see some sites built using Ruby on Rails check out http://happycodr.com

Ruby is an object-oriented program language that Rails is built on.  To access rails, you can use the rails command.

The Ruby on Rails framework is built into Leopard Server and can be started up using the mongrel_rails start command. It can be stopped using the mongrel_rails command. Mongrel is a fast HTTP library and server for Ruby. Mongrel_rails is a command line tool that can be used to control the Mongrel webserver.

Some options to the mongrel_rails command include the following: -d daemonize -p assign a custom port -a assign an address for the HTTP listener -l assign a log file to use -t customize the timeout variable -m use additional MIME types -r change the document root -B enable debugging -C use a configuration file -S define an additional config script -h access the help libraries -G generate a config file –user define who the server will run as –version get the version information for Mongrel

But that’s not all you can do with mongrel_rails. The actual file is not compiled so you can read it in clear text and learn more about what it is doing behind the scenes. Just cd into the /System/Library/Frameworks/Ruby.framework/Versions/1.8/usr/lib/ruby/gems/1.8/gems/mongrel-1.0.1/bin/ folder to find it. One item of note is the inclusion of mongrel_rails_persist, a wrapper for mongrel_rails that allows admins to register the Mongrel Server with Bonjour and create a launchd plist to run Mongrel (/Library/LaunchAgents/com.apple.persist.portnnnn.mongrel_rails_server.plist).

So let’s say that you have a Ruby application that lives at the following location /Library/WebServer/MyRubyApp. You can run the following command to launch it over port 8001 in a persistent manner: mongrel_rails_persist start -p 8001 -c /Library/WebServer/MyRubyApp

To access it from a web browser you would enter the address http://servername.domainname.com:8001

From here you’ll be able to daemonize Mongrel and provide the Rails development framework to developers in your environment. There are already a lot of projects for using Ruby with FileMaker and other database systems, so keep an eye out for more information about this piece of Leopard Server!

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One Response to “Leopard Server: Introduction to Ruby on Rails”

  1. nate says:

    rails is written in (built on and with) ruby, so it’s the other way around.