Installing Rails Server on Ubuntu 12.04 with RVM, Nginx, Passenger and Oracle support

We have a new product ready and it is a Ruby on Rails webshop bundled with an ERP software written on Oracle Forms 6i. I will not go into the details of this work, maybe later i will make some posts of the process but as it is very linked to current software(only authentication is done with Devise, every other data and processing is done internally on Oracle database) there is no sense for me to explain it deeper. Off to the installation.

Server installation and configuration

First we need a clean install of Ubuntu server 12.04, x86 or x64 version will work all the same, but be careful later on when you download the Oracle instant client. On the installation, fill all the relevant data needed, and for installed services, choose only the ssh server, as you won’t be needing anything more. Another reminder: this will only be the webserver, assuming that you have the Oracle database installed somewhere in network reach.

After you login to your server for the first time, take your time to set up the ip address because it defaults to dhcp.
Edit the /etc/network/interfaces file and fill your address, gateway and dns servers(this is a new thing, i think starting in 12.04 /etc/resolv.conf gets updated whenever you restart networking, so everything you write there will get overwritten)

# The loopback network interface
auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

# The primary network interface
auto eth0
iface eth0 inet static

After the config is saved, restart the networking and do a full update/upgrade of the server to get the latest packages installed:

sudo /etc/init.d/networking restart
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get -y dist-upgrade

After all is done, reboot your server.

Installing RVM and latest Ruby version

After your server is updated you can proceed with installing RVM and the latest stable Ruby(as i’m writing this, the latest version is 1.9.3p194 so i will be using this version)

First we install RVM prerequisites:

# rvm requires curl and git to install, and you will probably need them on your server so go ahead and install them
apt-get -y install git-core curl

# Installing RVM as sudo, to get RVM ruby system wide
curl -L | sudo bash -s stable

# sourcing rvm environment so you can use it untill you login again
source /etc/profile.d/

And that will install RVM and make it available for all users that belong to the rvm group(hint: edit /etc/groups and add rvm after the desired username). After installing RVM and adding our user to the  rvm group we are off to installing latest Ruby version

# install all requirements needed for YARV/MRI Ruby (you can easily get these by running 'rvm requirements' in the terminal)
sudo apt-get install build-essential openssl libreadline6 libreadline6-dev curl git-core zlib1g zlib1g-dev libssl-dev libyaml-dev libsqlite3-dev sqlite3 libxml2-dev libxslt-dev autoconf libc6-dev ncurses-dev automake libtool bison subversion

# install requirements needed for Oracle Instant client
sudo apt-get install libaio1

# install latest stable 1.9.3 and set it as default ruby version
rvmsudo rvm install 1.9.3 --default

# disable installation of RDoc and RI when installing gems
echo 'gem: --no-ri --no-rdoc'  >> ~/.gemrc

# install bundler gem, as you will later need for deployment
rvmsudo gem install bundler

 Installing Passenger and Nginx web server

After you have ruby and everything needed installer go and install passenger gem and nginx web server with it

# install  passenger gem
rvmsudo gem install passenger

# install passenger nginx module (and nginx if you haven't installed it yet), choose first option(Yes: download, compile and install Nginx for me) when it asks you what to do
# if there are more requirements the script will tell you and after you install them rerun the command
rvmsudo passenger-install-nginx-module

The installation will set up the nginx.conf file for you and show you how you can enable a rails site on your server. But i will include a sample config later on.
Just for convenience, symlink nginx conf folder that is in /opt/nginx/conf to /etc/nginx and download linode nginx startup/shutdown script

# symlink nginx conf folder to /etc/nginx
sudo ln -s /opt/nginx/conf /etc/nginx

# download linode nginx init script and create the service
wget -O
sudo mv /etc/init.d/nginx
sudo chmod +x /etc/init.d/nginx
sudo /usr/sbin/update-rc.d -f nginx defaults

Installing Oracle instant client

To connect your Rails application to Oracle database, you will have to install Oracle client, either full or instant one. As installing full client requires alien and converting .rpm packages to .deb it’s a bit of a hassle. Also, it will consume more space on your drive, and all that is unnecessary, we are trying to keep it small here.

First you should download zip files from Oracle site depending what architecture you are running:
Oracle Instant Client 11.2 for linux:  X86X64

Download only instantclient-basic, instantclient-sqlplus and instantclient-sdk zip archives and unzip them all into the same instantclient_11_2 folder. Now as sudo move that folder so the path is /opt/oracle/instantclient_11_2

After that you only have to add two environment variables to be able to install ruby-oci8 gem, which is prerequisite for running Ruby applications on Oracle database. Add the following lines to /etc/enviroment file


# as i am from Croatia, and we use our national date and money preferences, my NLS_LANG is this one, yours will maybe be different

After you reboot you have to symlink the oracle library so it will function properly(i don’t know why they don’t do this themselves).

ln -s /opt/oracle/instantclient_11_2/ /opt/oracle/instantclient_11_2/

After that try and install ruby-oci8 gem.

rvmsudo gem install ruby-oci8

If there are no errors, and there should not be if you followed the guide, you are set to deploy your application on the server you just installed. In the next post, i plan to write something about tips, tricks and caveats of developing Rails applications on Oracle database.

Useful links to get and learn about all the stuff i have mentioned in the post:

Ruby Version Manager(RVM):
Oracle Instant Client 11.2 for linux:  X86, X64
Passenger server:

Importance of installing your own development machine

If you are a software developer like me, every once in awhile comes the opportunity to install your new development machine. Some of the causes can be a new job, new computer or just reinstalling your current computer.

I am trying to emphasize the importance of installing your own machine, just like Jedi knights have to build their own lightsabers, you should be competent enough to install the required software on your development machine.

I will try not to go into platform specific rants or anything, just a guideline on how to do it.

1. Know your OS – be it windows, linux or osx, please be familiar with the os you are planning to develop on, if you get stuck, search for some tutorials on the web. You should be very friendly with the command line, if you are planning to use linux, and even in some cases osx.

2. Know your platform – be it ruby, java, python, .net or anything else, learn how to install the basic tools to get you running, you have great video tutorials for just about anything, so go ahead and watch them.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask someone – take this one with caution, it is ok to ask for an advice, or if you get stuck, but never ask another developer to install some of the tools for you, as you then seem incompetent in their eyes.

And do try to follow some of the people creating the technology you are using on social networks, you can see some tips and tricks, update and version release announcements and everything else. Looking at a few cat pictures is sure worth it considering the knowledge you are getting from these people.



Rails 3.1 beta on Ubuntu

As i have written before, i use Ubuntu for my rails development, and have been using it as my main OS last 10 months. I have been trying all the rails 3.1 beta hype and encountered a problem running 3.1 apps on my machine.

The main problem is with CoffeScript and its compiling into “real” JavaScript. So here is an easy way to enable your machine for rails 3.1. You have to install Node.js on your machine( i have tried all other Javascript runtimes with no luck). All the instructions for other platforms are listed on the project’s GitHub page, i will include only the ubuntu procedure here.

sudo apt-get install python-software-properties

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:jerome-etienne/neoip

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install nodejs

And that is all, hope i have made your life easier at least a bit.

Moving to WordPress

I just moved my blog from DasBlog to WordPress. The main reason for this was the expiration of my Win hosting account, and me phasing  my development to opensource.

I used DasBlog to BlogML converter for the conversion of posts, you have to download the whole folder and then point the tool at it.

After that, I installed BlogML Importer plugin for WordPress, and used that in the import script. I’m very happy that the process worked like a charm.

Now that everything works again, I can dedicate myself to my new love, Ruby and Rails development.

Installing Rails 3 in Ubuntu 10.04

As i am exploring different languages and platforms for web development, i have encountered(a few months ago) ruby on rails. I has impressed me so much that i wanted to create a virtual development environment for it. For the base i choose Ubuntu 10.04 LTS which is a great distribution for *nix beginners. We will install everything we need for a slick and updateable ruby on rails development machine.

I will just copy/paste the script i have made, notice that git version may change.

#Install git

#   1.  First we install the dependent packages, thus you wont have to install #   the packages yourself.

sudo aptitude build-dep git-core

#   2. Download latest stable GIT release from here


#   3. Extract the archive and change to the extracted directory

tar xvzf git-1.7.2.tar.gz
cd git-1.7.2/

#   4. Run the following

./configure && make
sudo make install

#5. Check installation and clean up

git --version
cd ../;rm -r git-1.7.2 git-1.7.2.tar.gz

#install curl
sudo apt-get install curl

#install rvm

bash < <( curl )

#Then add this line as the last line in your .bashrc:

if [[ -s "$HOME/.rvm/scripts/rvm" ]]  ; then source "$HOME/.rvm/scripts/rvm" ; fi

#install rvm dependencies

sudo apt-get install bison build-essential zlib1g zlib1g-dev libssl-dev     libreadline5-dev libreadline6-dev libxml2-dev git-core subversion         autoconf

#install ruby
rvm update
rvm install 1.9.2
rvm 1.9.2 --default
#test ruby version
ruby -v
# install rails 3.0.4
gem install rails

gem update --system
gem update

This is for a single user installation, like you would have at your home/work computer, for a server installation, you should install rvm as superuser so it will install rvm into /user/local/rvm

EDIT: There is an easier way to do this, as described on: Rails Ready

It is an automated script that does all of this for you