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Don’t use windows for Ruby on Rails development

Starting a new task at a major company, I was given a PC running windows 7 (believe it or not, they never bothered to ask me for preferences) for developing an internal rails app.

I took the challenge – here’s my story.

I quickly found two editors for windows I wanted to try out: E TextEditor and Sublime Text. I tried out E and it seemed to work very nice and a lot like my beloved TextMate for mac. First problem solved.

On to ruby, rubygems and native extensions. Welcome to hell.

First obstacle: there doesn’t seem to be a decent console/terminal application for windows, I tried cmd, powershell and console 2. Simple stuff like copy/paste is a pain. Really discouraging.

Then, I tried it all. Starting out with cygwin I managed to almost get there. Actually got SQLite 3 running and managed to create, migrate and run a scaffold rails app. Installing MySQL proved to be the show stopper. After having tried every trick in the book, I ended up with the compiler crashing due to a type error when trying to compile the mysql client from source. I started looking for alternative solutions.

But wait, there is a ruby installer for windows. Native windows ruby – why not? Ruby installs allright, but then trouble emerges. I didn’t manage to get anything running, and I don’t remember the exact problem anymore. I quickly handed over the workstation to helpdesk to get it reinstalled with Debian.

In conclusion: DO NOT use windows for Rails development.

3 Comments

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  1. Jakob S says:

    It seems http://railsinstaller.org/ is the way to go on Windows these days. I haven’t tried it, but people who have appear to be pleased.

  2. Jeppe Liisberg says: (Author)

    Nice, I should have known :-|

  3. About a year ago I found myself in the same situation, actually at the same company … I also tried E and Sublime but none of them stuck with me. I’m using notepad++ or vim now at work, all the time longing to get home and fire up textmate …

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