Using Ruby And Rails On Torch

So……. I have noticed a few people have been searching the internet for ‘rails on torch’. So, I thought I would answer this question for them.

The Easy Answer:

It is already installed! Just start developing following any of the many, many tutorials out there. Or alternately you can just download, configure and run one of the many pre-existing projects in existance

The Slightly Less Easy Answer

Assuming you are doing development, you will soon likely run into a problem. Two of them actually.

  1. The current version of Rails is 1.0.0, meaning you are missing out on the latest and greatest features.
  2. You aren’t able to install, let alone update, gems. (And do we REALLY want to bother the admins every time we want to try a new, or update an old, gem?)

But there are a few options here:

  1. Download gems and use ‘gem unpack’ to unroll them into your application. Note, this is really tedious and lacks most of the advantages of using gems in the first place.
  2. Install your own instance of rubygems. The process is documented here. I use this on the server where I do most of my development.
  3. Even easier, just set up your environment to store the gems in your home directory. The process, which involves simply editing a file called .gemrc in your user directory is fairly well documented here. For those who just want a quick fix, you can use the below.

# simple .gemrc for usage on torch

gemhome: /users/cs/YOUR_USERNAME_HERE/gems


– /usr/local/lib/ruby/gems/1.8

The Start Of A New Term

So I have been busy lately. That period of time between the end of one term and the start of the next always seems to be the busiest. Finishing up leftover items from the previous term, whether they be papers, projects, or just exams. The learning curve of any new things you have taken on. Any extra curves life throws your way…..

So yeah, I have a new job. Right now I consider myself somewhat ‘freelance’. Not on a strict contract. Not on a LONG contract. Doing some work for a small company downtown doing some work in……. Visual Studio. Geoff Johnston has already said it best with his comment of “I never would have expected to see Sean Smith working in a Microsoft shop”. I can’t even say I am working in .NET, as the code we inherited from another development team (who were fired when we were hired) is written mostly in VB6.

I am learning a lot, while paying the bills, which is a plus at least. Some quick lessons:

  • VB6 doesn’t really like circular references of objects
  • Software written without specifications means a lot of things get done, but are either done poorly, or not completed
  • The Windows APIs are varied in their complexity and in what they can do. For example, I switched several major code blocks to WMI calls already…… except for a few functions which require older calls that were NOT updated to WMI for some reason……. (I never stated I liked writing in VB)
  • VB6 to .NET does not painlessly migrate (and in fact I haven’t really had a chance to try beyond see 50 critical errors in one module……). I don’t consider this a bad thing, with some of the VB6 code I have seen so far.

It might not be the best job I have ever had at the moment, but it is somewhat interesting and we shall see how she goes.