Rails on Windows: total frustration!

You’re all excited. You’re working your way through various Rails tutorials, following the instructions to the letter. But nothing seems to go smoothly.

The bloody thing won’t do what it’s supposed to do

bundle install just throws weird errors at you.

bundle update doesn’t help.

You’ve even resorted to editing the Gemfile.lock by hand in an attempt to fix things.

Why can’t it just work as promised? It’s just so frustrating!

Unfortunately, there’s one simple reason you’re having trouble …

Microsoft Windows

I’ve been a Mac guy since the 1980s, but I don’t really have anything against Windows.

And, in theory, neither does Ruby.

But it has to be said that Ruby’s background is a Unix-based one. Many gems are written expecting to be installed on a Unix-type system. They shouldn’t be, Ruby is supposed to be cross-platform, but it’s a fact of life that they are. And once you get into native code or native dependencies, things get even worse.

Save yourself the effort.

Download Vagrant and build yourself a Linux development environment. It runs in a virtual machine, but the file-system is mounted into your Windows machine, so you can still use your favourite editor.

It will save you a ton of time and hassle.

And mean you can get on with the fun stuff – building some Ruby code!