A community effort book

Posted by ezmobius Tue, 20 Dec 2005 23:07:00 GMT

So i am busy writing my book over here. It’s a ton of work let me tell you. But it is going to be very rewarding.

The book is turning out to be a community effort of sorts. I have a few of my favorite and most respected rails developers writing parts of the book(topfunky & technoweenie) and the author of the great lighttpd webserver is going to personally cover the configuration of lighty in detail.

So if you don’t see me on the rails list or on #rubyonrails as much anymore you know where I went ;-)

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The book is a go!

Posted by ezmobius Wed, 14 Dec 2005 18:12:00 GMT

So I have great news! I am going to be writing a book for the Pragmatic Programmers. This is such a great chance for me that there was no way I could pass on it.

Thank you for all the support and people who commented that they would like to have this book written. Its definitely one area where the rails docs are not sufficient as well as being very fragmented and hard to decipher which way is the way to go.

Now I must buckle down and write the thing! But I am totally looking forward to this book and I have some great people working on it with me. It looks like there will be 3 people writing a chapter on two on things they know a lot about. I can’t say just yet who they are but when the time comes I will let on.

I am so honored that the Pragmatic Programmers are giving me this opportunity. And I will be working on the book with some of the rails devs that I most respect.

So check back often and i will give updates as things get closer to beta. Thanks for all the support. I hope that this book will be an valuable asset to rails programmers that are ready to step things up to the next level.

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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.

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Rails/Lighttpd Hosting Panel.

Posted by ezmobius Wed, 30 Nov 2005 16:31:00 GMT

I have started work on a pet project to build a lightweight hosting control panel for rails/lighttpd servers. I am interested to see if there is interest in a project like this.

I plan on making it so you can create rails projects and start and stop lighttpd and your fcgi processes. Basically a web based panel similar to Locomotive.

So my questions are… What other features would people like to see in a set up like this? I’m thinking of also letting you run your rake tasks and get them pretty printed to the interface and also allow switchtower commands.


Also this is a call to arms for anyone who would like to join this project to help out. Interface design or ruby/rails skills would be most welcome. Or leave a comment if you want to help test as well.

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The Perfect Lightweight Rails/Lighttpd/Debian install

Posted by ezmobius Sun, 13 Nov 2005 07:31:00 GMT

OK folks, I have finished my write up of an install of the perfect stack on a rimuhosting.com xen VPS. But keep in mind that you can use these instructions to install the rails stack on debian on a dedicated host or a box in your closet. It will work for wherever the box is. So without further ado, I present you with instructions for installing a stack of software as follows:

mysql-ruby bindings
fastcgi-dev kit
fastcgi-ruby bindings
perl-compat-regex(for lighttpd)
lighttpd 1.4.7 with fastcgi
subversion client and server
postfix email server with
Webmin Control Panel set up with a bunch of modules for ssh 
and postfix as well as webmail.
Whatever else is needed 
along the way as dependencies

Ed: I have reformatted the tutorial with the help of Sean Schertell. It's much better looking and easier to read now. I also want to make it clear that The Imagemagick and RMagick that get installed with my instructions are fully functional. I have tested it with .jpg, .gif, .png and .tiff files by resizing and converting between all those formats and it works perfectly.

If anyone has suggestions for things to add to the setup to make it even better, please leave suggestions in the comments and I will try to add it to the tutorial.

The Perfect Rails VPS

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Installing ruby/rails/mysql/lighttpd/fcgi from source

Posted by ezmobius Sat, 05 Nov 2005 21:57:00 GMT

I have put together some crib notes about the install of the whole rails/lighttpd stack. These directions have worked on over 20 computers without a flaw. I have tested it on OS X, debian, fedora and FreeBSD and it works great.

Of course some people complain and say to use the package manager from your distro and this is usually the best practice. But I have found discepancies with how the various package managers break up the ruby install(debain) or have crappy package managers(OS X). When I install things this way I always get a know working stack of software tht is the same no matter what OS I am on at the moment.

These directions are especially good for OS X. That is where I have used these the most. So I hope these help some people. And if you have any questions just drop me a line( ez at brainspl dot at) or make a comment.

Installation Instructions

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