Friday, 26 January 2007

Setting up rails on OS X (including radrails)

Note: The RichText blog has moved to

Hello. This post documents how to get rails going on Mac OS X (I'm using 10.4.8, by the way).

Well, basically I followed these brilliant instructions on (except I used ruby 1.8.5 instead of 1.8.4) and it just worked! The only little quirk was getting the lightTPD web server to work properly. I had to tweak the paths on the first line of the dispatch.cgi, dispatch.fcgi and dispatch.rb files (in the public folder of my rails project) as they were pointing to a windows-style path.

Radrails pretty much just worked "out of the box" too, but to get radrails to start the lightTPD server properly, I set up a symbolic link like this...

ln -s /usr/local/sbin/lighttpd /usr/bin/lighttpd radrails was having trouble finding it initially. (Credit for this last bit goes to Marc from the radrails community). Note that even after this link is setup, the radrails never reports the lightTPD server as 'started' - it just stays as 'starting...', but it does actually seem to start it properly. I also noticed that the lightTPD server starts on the last port you used for it, and it doesn't pay attention to the one that you specify in radrails.

Remember this post from September where I explained how to setup debugging in radrails on Windows XP? Setting up debugging for radrails in OS X is almost exactly the same, but in the interpreter arguments page of the debug dialog you'll want to put something like:


Also, I had trouble getting debugging to work with lightTPD, so I've put the following in the program arguments to force it to use webrick instead.

webrick -p3001

That's it. enjoy!

UPDATES (March 07):
There are now updated instructions on
You might also want to try Textmate and ruby-debug

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Anonymous said...

so what is the actual filepath on osx, if for example you are using locomotive?

Rich said...

Not sure. I tried locomotive when I first got my mac, but it didn't seem to offer the flexibility I needed, so I never tried debugging on it. Sorry!