Part 0 – This Post
Part 2 – Aptana IDE For Ruby
Part 3 – CouchDB Up and Running on Windows
The is the first in a series of blog posts concerning what is often known as as Open Source Stack for Web Development. My interests here are in WEB 2.0 development. We will be working towards using JQUERY and CouchDB to develop REST(ful) Web sites. I will start with a focus on Rudy and Ruby on Rails (aka RadRails). However, I will be using free and open source products not on UNIX but on Windows based systems. Windows runs on fairly cheap hardware (compared to Apples UNIX based platforms) and Windows is much more accessible to new developers than Linux systems. I will be working here with Windows XP and Windows Vista but you can play alone on Linux and MAC x86. To get started let’s get together some software and supporting documentation and begin.
Version 1.8.7 is the current stable release but since we are interested in using CouchDB I have installed the required ‘edge’ version 1.9.2. Either of these version will support Ruby on Rails development. Ruby installations are available from several sites. Until you know exactly what you are doing stick with distributions from RubyInstaller.org since these are the baseline Ruby builds which everyone tests against first. As you get deeper into it (or if things get a little more sticky) you try an integrated open stack like the one offered by BitNami. At some point you may need to install the DevKit. This is not as heavy as it sounds (but you will need to work with your system paths to get everything in place). You can get the DevKit here and installation instructions are here. Note: the devkit download is now a Windows MSI file but the instructions are still based on a ZIP file extraction, but it all works trust me. Don’t install either the BitNami Stack or the DevKit until you know you need it. If you completely new to Ruby a nice introduction can be found in Why’s Poignant Guide To Ruby.
Ruby On Rails
There are a lot of different options to developing Ruby on Rails applications. If I was not an IDE freak I could use a simple text editor (I often use the non-open Primal Script) but being new to Ruby on Rails I wanted the support of and IDE. For this option I selected the Aptana RadRails Development Environment. This free development environment is based on the open Eclipse editor. I downloaded the base Aptana IDE (Studio 2) and then added RADRails as a plug in. These are available in Linux and Mac x86 installers in addition to windows. You could install only RADRails but then you would have a crippled version of the Aptana product. We will be noting Ruby on Rails training materials as we move along.
Although we will be using mySQL or SQLlite for some of our development, our real content manager will be the NOSQL couchDB. This is our real goal in the project – testing the viability of a REST(ful) HTTP addressable NOSQL database. This project is from the Apache organization and is available for Linux, MAC x86 and Windows. It runs as a service on the Windows OS. The Windows installer is available here. There is an excellent open source on line couchDB book available here. For Ruby on Rails we will be using – CouchRest for our Ruby on Rails work with couchdb. CouchRest is available as a ruby GEM and can be installed on Linux, MAC x86 and Windows versions of Ruby.
- What IDE to use for Ruby on Rails? (l4asrik.wordpress.com)
- NoSQL: CouchDB Tutorial: Getting Started with CouchDB (themindstorms.blogspot.com)