Learning Rails - Advice for development environment


I have been learning Rails for several weeks now. I am working through
Michael H.'s tutorial and other various things. My question is
regarding what type of environment to do my development in. First, some

I have used different linux distros on and off throughout the years, so
was easy and familiar for me to set up my desktop computer with Mint and
get rvm/rails etc installed and working correctly. No issues there.

However, I went out and bought a laptop this last weekend; I have never
installed any linux variant on a laptop, so when I did it was startling
find out how incredibly terrible the battery life / power management
functions were. I was getting ~2 hours of life just doing simple web
browsing. After spending an afternoon tweaking everything (using
thinkfan etc), I was able to increase that marginally.

Then, I had someone recommend that I use win7 as my host OS, and then
use a
VM for rails development. While doing some research, I came across
I got it set up and installed using one of the boxes made for rails
development, however I have not started using it yet. I guess the idea
still quite fresh regarding workflow. If I was using a standard VM with
ubuntu or whatever, I would boot it up and do my work inside just as if
was the host OS. When it comes to Vagrant, I am a little more confused.

Am I supposed to start my headless vagrant box, start all my services /
rails server etc inside, but then have Sublime Text 2 on my host OS -
work out of the shared directory while just performing tests inside of

I use Guard / Spork on my desktop - how do I set this up within Vagrant?
have read that some people have issues with it.

Am I going to run into any problems down the line running windows as my
for coding / the VM for testing and server?

Well, I am rambling. This whole idea is just very fresh for me, so I am
just looking for any feedback possible. I want to get my development
environment set up as fast (but as stable) as possible, so I can get
to learning more rails!

Thanks everyone,

Hi Michael,

I’m an ASP .Net dev guy for close to 7 years now and have always used
Last year I bought a Macbook on Gumtree and have recently found a lot of
joy in programming Ruby on Rails using Terminal. I run VMware Fusion
Windows OS for my .Net dev but found myself doing less of that now.

Sometimes I just power on my PC with windows and then remote desktop via
Chrome. That worked well too.

  • Fai

Dropbox comes in handy too, this way you can do development anywhere. I
haven’t tried the Windows tools for RoR and prefer Mac style when it
to RoR.

I am using a Mac so I do not have you problems. Is you laptop certified
a specific distro of Linux. Do you know that Dell and may be HP have
laptops certified for Ubuntu and Redhat? I personally would try to use
Linux, bash, git, apt-get, more performance. I would try to fix Linux
issues. You could develop in Windows, Ruby works on it. Vagrant is good,
you can just run ‘ssh vagrant’ and call tests and guard from you windows
shell. The problem is that Windows shell is rubbish and you have to use
putty because Windows does not have ssh. I would just avoid to use
entirely, it is too limiting. I would try to fix LInux issues on the
or buy another laptop, seriously.

Hi Michael,

I’m kind of in the same situation as Fai. I’m a .NET developer doing
ASP.NET. But currently I started doing RoR development. For that purpose
bought a Mac.
I understood that lot’s of RoR use Textmate ( http://macromates.com/ )
IDE. Texmate is only available for Mac.
Another great editor is SublimeText 2 ( http://www.sublimetext.com/2 ).
SublimeText2 is available for Mac and PC.
I also heard a lot of praise about RubyMine by JetBrains
( http://www.jetbrains.com/ruby/)

But the thing I like about RoR is just that it’s less tool dependent
.NET development which relies heavily on Visual Studio and Sql Server.
can develop a Rails app by just using the terminal and an editor.

hope this helps,


Op maandag 18 maart 2013 20:46:31 UTC+1 schreef Michael A. het

Hi Michael,
I think the problem may be with the hardware being too new. Some lap
have good comparability with mainstream linux distros.

I had better success with older hardware and although they run slow
windows (which is by design by M$) they run quite fast under linux.

For example Lubuntu 12.04 installs without problem on a Lenovo 3000
With rvm and RubyMine I can run multiple versions of ruby and rails.

I have been using Linux as a desktop since 1998. I can vouch for how
Linux is for RoR dev. It’s a natural home for it. I have done loads of
projects on Linux, obviously.

I don’t have a popular view. I think that an IDE is essential to RoR
(or any development). Proper debugging is always required. I spent an
lot of time researching IDEs and by far the best was Netbeans, but
unfortunately they have dropped support for Ruby in the latest versions!

I haven’t really found a good replacement IDE. On Linux, vim is
However, debugging and profiling aren’t a luxury, they’re essential and
using text editors just doesn’t hack it.

My own preference will be to consolidate on Eclipse as it’s pretty much
swiss army knife of IDEs and if, like me, you are multilingual, its’
common denominator especially if you combine Rails and Java (GWT

The problems that you are having with battery life sound very much like
it’s either your battery/hardware or something terribly wrong with your
linux. I use linux on all my laptops. In fact my main dev box is a Dell
M1730. Now out of date but it’s such a comprehensive setup that I can’t
readily migrate to an updated machine (and it’s powerful enough for my
needs to why change?).

I have always found Linux to beat Windows hands-down on performance,
lightness of overheads and certainly it’s not a battery drain! On the
occasion that I need Windows, I run it under vmware very successfully.

Try a fresh Ubuntu (I prefer Kubuntu as I prefer KDE) installation.
is brilliant at “just working”.

A big Apple advantage of course is that it “just works” and it’s also
(BSD), so you get the best of both worlds, but at a premium price tag.

Michael A. wrote in post #1102638:

I would really like to thank everyone for their input and opinions.
now, I have done a clean install of Ubuntu and I will tweak it here and
there until I can get battery life where I want it. I have been using
Sublime Text 2 with several plugins, although in the future I may try a
true IDE to see what the differences are.

I’ll have to somewhat disagree with the idea that a true IDE is
essential to Rails development. I have been involved with our local Ruby
user’s group, here in Atlanta, for several years and I’ve not seen a
single presentation, or know of any Ruby developers that uses an IDE.

I really don’t find myself using a debugger much at all when developing
Rails. If I do find a use for stepping though code I take that as a sign
that I’m doing something wrong. Either my methods are too complex and
need refactoring, or my test cases are insufficient. As for performance
metrics, there are plenty of better (IMHO) ways to do that. Ones that
are not dependent on a particular IDE.

What I see the vase majority of developers using are VIM, Sublime Text 2
& TextMate, with Sublime quickly taking over TextMate’s share. It’s also
worth noting that over 90% of the developers in our group use OS X with
nearly all the remaining 10% using some flavor of Linux. I’ve not met
anyone personally that develops on Windows. i know they are out there, I
just haven’t met anyone in the area that does.

I would really like to thank everyone for their input and opinions.
now, I have done a clean install of Ubuntu and I will tweak it here and
there until I can get battery life where I want it. I have been using
Sublime Text 2 with several plugins, although in the future I may try a
true IDE to see what the differences are.

Also, I do recognize that a Mac would be the best all-around computer
me, but I just cannot justify the cost right now (especially as I am not
making any money yet doing rails! Actually, I’ve been in the
automation/controls industry for ~9 years, and just now deciding to
something new).

Thanks again - great community here!!!

Yes, it seems that Linux’s (Ubuntu in my case) battery management is not
good as that of Windows 7.

I am running 12.04 and W7 as alternative OS on a Dell XPS. As an old
developer I use emacs on Ubuntu (and xemacs on W7) as editor. It has
modes for a lot of programming languages. Debug facilities of RoR are
nice, so why an IDE? rbenv for different versions of Ruby and Rails.


On Friday, March 22, 2013 1:35:04 AM UTC+13, [email protected] wrote:

A big Apple advantage of course is that it “just works” and it’s also unix
(BSD), so you get the best of both worlds, but at a premium price tag.

Homebrew is inferior to APT. For example, if you install Postgres, you
don’t get daemon running automatically, you have to run it manually.
fucking age, OSX. I do all development on Linux, but 50% of time work
Macbook via ssh.