Introducing Rails Installer

  • Wayne E. Seguin
  • RailsInstaller

    How can you share Ruby on Rails with your friends? How about giving them a Rails Welcome Kit to make it simple for them to get up and running with Rails? Enter Rails Installer, the best one-click installer for getting started with Ruby on Rails.

Anyone new to Rails, welcome! We want to make your Rails experience straightforward and enjoyable!

So, what would you pay for such an awesome kit? $295? Probably not. $49? Maybe. $9.99? Definitely, in a heart beat. Well, you are in luck, for today and for an unlimited time into the future, Rails Installer is Open Source and FREE for you to use!

Goodies in the Rails Welcome Kit

RailsInstaller for Windows installs several components which are key to a Rails development environment, all in one installer so that you do not have to track them down one by one. How easy is that?

Rails Installer-1.0.0.exe is a self-contained installer which will:

  • Install each component (Ruby 1.8.7, RubyGems 1.4, Rails 3, Git 1.7, Sqlite3 dll & gem, [DevKit]( ) into the destination directory (C:\RailsInstaller by default)
  • Create a ‘RailsInstaller' start menu group with several items
  • Link the user to the Rails Installer website, mailing list and IRC channel

What else should be included in every Rails developer’s Welcome Kit?

Why is Engine Yard doing this?

Australian Mastermind Dr Nic Williams, recently did an interview on Cloud Out Loud where he ranted about this very topic:

It turns out there are some people out there using an operating system called Windows. And they are somewhat unloved historically by both the Rails and Ruby communities…

But the great, vast majority of people who are new to Rails don’t know that yet. You, as a Windows developer, think, “I would like to play with this Rails thing.” That’s all you know. How do you use it? How do we make that experience work, so that they don’t have to go scour the internet for little scraps and ideas? It’s little things—The Rails 3 Guide, the canonical reference for how to get started in rails, refers to the Instant Rails project as a solution for how to get started in Windows. Well, the project hasn’t been updated in three years, it bundles an old, old version of Ruby— Ruby 1.8.6— that doesn’t work with Rails.

We love them so little, these Windows people, that there’s no system that’s known to work, there’s no easy, go-to place… And here at Engine Yard, it’s time for us to turn around and help the millions of Windows users who would like to start using Rails. So we’ve started with a Rails Welcome Kit for Windows users. It is desperately needed.

We strongly believe that there is also a need for a Welcome Kit for OS/X users too. Currently you need XCode to do a few things on OS/X and Ruby. It’d be nice to package away that requirement, for example. Not everyone is on Snow Leopard and has a version of Ruby on their OS/X machine, which supports Rails 3 (it requires Ruby 1.8.7 which ships with 10.6 Snow Leopard).

Can you please help?

Our first goal is making sure that new Rails developers can easily locate Rails Installer when they google “Rails Windows” or “Getting Started with Rails”. This is where YOU come in! Please help us by updating any tutorials or websites to link to as the canonical place for anyone to get started! This will ensure that Windows users who are starting out with Rails end up using the Rails Installer and thus have a simplified, streamlined and enjoyable “getting started” experience.

Next, I encourage you to share Rails with all of your Windows using friends. We all love Rails. It is so wonderful. Now it is easier than ever for your friends to share the joy!


This is a packaged goodies bag of existing projects. Rails Installer for Windows would not be possible without two people. Luis Lavena for being part of the team that created RubyInstaller. And…Luis Lavena, for helping me navigate Windows, the packaging tools, and the surreal development world of Windows.

Thank you very much, in advance, for sharing Rails Installer with your friends. I hope it helps them enjoy Rails.

So, what’s next?

We have an ongoing list of features/bugs/chores. The code and website are all open source.

You can follow the project on twitter at @railsinstaller, and participate in discussions on the mailing list. Also, come for a chat in #railsinstaller on IRC.

Let’s make Rails Installer awesome and make sure the world knows it exists!