Rails Deployment Configuration Book

Posted by ezmobius Fri, 09 Dec 2005 18:31:00 GMT

EDIT: This book has been picked up by the pragmatic programmers. It will be available as a beta book pdf for download in March. Then the final printed version should be available in early summer. Thanks for all the interest and stay tuned for more announcements.

I’m thinking about writing a small sized book on rails development and production environment configuration. Sometimes it seems like every other question on the rails mailing list and on #rubyonrails is about fcgi or server setup or some issue with deploying or installing rails and friends.

I have spent a great deal of my time with rails on getting the configuration of the server and underlying architecture running just right. And it seems that most information about this stuff is spread out over the rails wiki and hundreds of other blogs out there.

I already have quite a bit of this stuff written in my notes and I have written a few detailed tutorials here on my blog as well. But I have started organizing this stuff in a high level overview and have written the first few chapters of this book already.

My question is this: Would you be interested in purchasing a book like this? It will most likely be released as a DRM Free PDF only at first unless I get a publisher interested. I have sent a proposal to the wonderful PragmaticProgrammers.com for me to write one of their Pragmatic Friday PDF’s. I hope they will take me up on it ;-)

I think this is one area of rails development that gets swept to the wayside and doesn’t get nearly enough attention. And the info that is available is fragmented and contradictory at best.

Here is a very preliminary table of contents:

  • Intro to rails environments and overview of what we will cover in the book.
  • Installation of your development environment on all the major platforms(OSX, Linux, BSD, Windows)
  • Practical techniques for development on your own or working with other developers remotely.
  • Migrations
  • Production Environment Theory
  • Apache/FastCGI or SCGI
  • Lighttpd/FastCGI or SCGI
  • Daedalus/Daemon Tools and friends for keeping your servers running no matter what.
  • Switchtower
  • Other Helpful Tools for Your Arsenal.
  • Shared Hosting.
  • VPS or Dedicated Hosting.
  • Stories of Successful Rails Applications Already Running in the Real World.
  • The Impact of Ajax Techniques on Your Server Load
  • Code Snippets and Samples for Accomplishing Things the “Rails Way” and Making Sure You Make Sane Decisions that Will Scale Later.
  • But Can Rails Scale? ;-)
  • Wrapup and Discussion of High Level System Overviews.

    So please leave comments about anything I might be missing that you would like to see in a book like this. And if anyone want to help out and thinks they could write a chapter or two on something they know a lot about I am all ears. And do you folks think this would be a good idea and worth spending a significant amount of my time on?

    Thank you for any suggestions or comments.

Posted in , , , ,  | Tags , , , , , , , , ,  | 107 comments


  1. cboone said 45 minutes later:
    Yes. Sign me up!
  2. Tom Werner said about 1 hour later:
    I'd buy that in a second! There's so much information on getting Rails running under FastCGI spread out over so many different sources that it's hard to even know if what you're reading is the current best method. I'd love to see it all put in a well written book that describes the intricacies of setting up rails on various systems.
  3. topfunky said about 1 hour later:
    Fantastic idea. I think it would be very successful, especially as a Friday book.
  4. Amr Malik said about 5 hours later:
    I'd buy this! fer sure. I would also like to see a chapter on performance optimized production rails setup and how that would work in conjunction with your SVN repository etc. Rails performance tuning and where to look for bottlenecks and some tips on real world problems that you or others have had would be nice. thx.
  5. Pat said about 5 hours later:
    Yep, I'd buy it. I needed some pointers on setting up some lighty stuff, and remembered that you've made a bunch of posts, so I came to your blog to see if you had any info. Just hurry up and write the book already :)
  6. viniosity said about 7 hours later:
    I'd be interested in a section on making rails work nicely with other development platforms like PHP. Also, maybe some thought on tools/applications that make writing/deploying rails more efficient? Not sure if there are many apps out there like TextMate or phpMyAdmin specifically for RoR but it would be great to ID them if they were.
  7. Carlos said about 10 hours later:
    This is a great idea. As someone that is just starting with Ruby on Rails development (used to be an ASP.NET programmer) a book like this would be greatly appreciated.
  8. Ezra Zygmuntowicz said about 12 hours later:
    Well it looks like the pragprog guys want me to write it for them ;-) I'm honored. I just need to make sure I can commit to the time needed to write a quality book. I think i am going to do it though. I'll make an announcement when I know more.
  9. jdell said 3 days later:
    I'd buy one for sure. Write it!
  10. Warren said 3 days later:
    Yes! I also want two whole chapters on the mysql-ruby vs ruby-mysql naming convention screwup. Maybe then I'll remember which is which.
  11. null said 4 days later:
    yes, please.
  12. Josh said 5 days later:
    Fantastic, Ezra -- I've been waiting for something like this. Good luck!
  13. Ryan Heneise said 5 days later:
    Sign me up too! I'm especially interested in Lighttpd/FCGI with Switchtower.
  14. Tom Fakes said 16 days later:
    Caching! Page caching: Apache and Lighttpd mod-rewrite. Cache sweepers. Dynamic content on cached pages (client side tricks, server side text replacement tricks) Action caching, Fragment caching, SQL result caching, model caching. Cache stores (DRb, memcached) Tools to measure cache effectiveness.
  15. Ezra Zygmuntowicz said 17 days later:
    Tom- you got it. I already have an extensive caching chapter planned. Rick Olson(technoweenie) will be writing most of that part. We will cover all the options and tricks for getting the best performance and how to choose the right type of caching to use for a particluar circumstance.
  16. Charles McKnight said 21 days later:
    Keep me posted on your progress with this effort. I'm especially interested in examples where a single server is hosting multiple Rails applications with Lighttpd. I've tried everything I can think of and all of the suggestions to make it work using 1.4.8, but still no success (pretty depressing since it looks like I may have to use Apache 1.3 to get things deployed).
  17. Rabbit said 54 days later:
    YES! Please for the love of god do it! Even if PP doens't scoop it up, release it with a donation thingie! :) :) :) I'm sitting here now attempting to get Ruby Gems installed on a Linux VPS at Rimu, and OMG! The missing zlib library of doom is knocking at my doorstep. 2.5 hours and I've gotten NO WHERE. =( Sorry to rant here. :)
  18. Rabbit said 54 days later:
    Looks like you need to fix your Redcloth install to allow/disallow for hardbreaks. Or, because I thought the whole having to hack around Redcloth was stupid, I used version 3.0.3 instead. Works great. :)
  19. Marty Haught said 55 days later:
    This has been a thorn in my side lately so I'd definitely be supportive of it. A Fridays release would probably be ideal.
  20. Chris said 56 days later:
    Has anything like this been published yet? I am having the hardest time getting ROR working with Apache 2.x. WeBrick serves up my apps just fine - Apache is a different story. I just can't get it to work.
  21. Ezra Zygmuntowicz said 56 days later:
    Yes folks. This book has been picked up by the Pragmatic Programmers. It will be a beta book pdf release as well as a full printed book too. I am busy writing away on this so stay tuned.

    This book will be available as a beta pdf front he pragmaticprogrammers.com in March. It will try to answer all your questions about rails deployment. Lighty & Apache with fcgi or scgi and maybe even mongrel by then.

    Please leave more comments about what you want to see covered. i am still open for suggestions and this book is looking to be a great missing manual ;-)
  22. Alain Ravet said 56 days later:
    Relative performance related questions keep bubling up every week without ever getting an answer. If you could help us answer them, that would be great : - "is hoster X any good", - "is shared hosting good enough for me, or do I need a dedicated server" - "is Y Virtual Server faster than Z business shared account" etc... We need some tools, process, means to compare, to test load, ... I dream of a (set of) app(s) that we'd just have to install on every host, and poll for stats.
  23. Ezra Zygmuntowicz said 56 days later:
    Thats a good idea Alain. I wonder what a good app for testing stuff like that would be? there are so many different types of performance metrics to consider. but yes I have a whole chapter for shared hosting. And then a whole chapter comparing VPS and dedicated hosting as well. And I cover how to gauge what you will need for your app and make recommendations on where to get your hosting from.
  24. debjanic2000@gmail.com said 123 days later:
    sign me up
  25. Ezra Zygmuntowicz said 123 days later:
    THe book is coming along great. My co-authors are doing a bangup job on their ends and I am working as hard as I can to get this thing ready for beta. All I can say as to a timeline is before RailsCOnf!
  26. andrew M. said 192 days later:
    When would this book be available. I am on shared hosting, and the issue I keep running into is it keeps wanting to put /public/ in my address space. even symlinks have not been able to re solve this.. :-(
  27. Chris said 193 days later:
    The Pragmatic Programmers site doesn't have anything about this book on it. I thought there was going to be a pdf available in March?
  28. Ezra Zygmuntowicz said 193 days later:
    Yeah I have been thrown off scchedule because I moved across the state and took a new job in March so it has pushed the book date back a little bit. Also things have been changing in the rails deployment scene with the rise of mongrel so I had to wriote new content as well and revise old already written content. A book lioke this is a lot of details and a lot of work to get right so I would rather be late then rush out something I'm not happy with. There will be an announcement soon as to pub date and all that and it will show up on prag's site once this happens.
  29. erde said 223 days later:
    How is the actual state of affairs?
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    Hey there, any news? Would like to know what's goin on ... Greetz, Tottigol
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  32. praca said 247 days later:
    hehe yes i got either! sing me up!
  33. prezerwatywy said 247 days later:
    yes mee too!
  34. george_naing@yahoo.com said 247 days later:
    can i order now?
  35. george_naing@yahoo.com said 247 days later:
    we need this book . Urgent.
  36. ohnmar_shwe_ba@yahoo.com said 247 days later:
    I am looking for suc a book very badly.
  37. zdrowa żywność said 258 days later:
    zdrowa żywność, wegetarianizm
  38. BHP said 277 days later:
    I'd be interested in a section on making rails work nicely with other development platforms like PHP
  39. george_naing@yahoo.com said 306 days later:
    we have to wait 2 more months???
  40. Trucks said 334 days later:
    yes..i'd buy one for sure. write it!
  41. englisch said 338 days later:
    very good. I think/hope it would be very successful
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  50. eMule Forum said 366 days later:
    Fantastic idea. I think it would be very successful, especially as a Friday book.
  51. eMule Forum said 366 days later:
    Fantastic idea. I think it would be very successful, especially as a Friday book. Cheers
  52. serwery emule said 366 days later:
    Looks like you need to fix your Redcloth install to allow/disallow for hardbreaks. Or, because I thought the whole having to hack around Redcloth was stupid, I used version 3.0.3 instead. Works great. :)
  53. Pozycjonowanie said 377 days later:
    Rails performance tuning and where to look for bottlenecks and some tips on real world problems that you or others have had would be nice. thx.
  54. emulek said 384 days later:
    Thanks, great reading and because I'm learning (have to ;-)) this stuff quite useful.
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    why so long? Why so many delays?
  58. mike said 406 days later:
    I'm definitely looking forward to this book. Will there be any information on approaches to scaling the database?
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    I know it's been a long time coming but the book will be out in beta in February. I have been very very busy and writing a book like this is a shitload of work. Also rails deployment has changed drastically since I first started the book and I have had to rewrite some chapters a few times.
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