RailsInstaller One Month Update

Exactly 1 month ago we released RailsInstaller 1.0.0 for Windows. Since then we have reached over 10,000 downloads and put out 4 bug fix releases. Our goal is to provide THE Welcome Kit to Rails that you will share among friends in order to welcome them to the enjoyable world of Rails development. I will call 10,000 downloads a success!

As with any project, there are features that we would love to get incorporated into the project. Our first focus is to simplify the setup and use of SSH keys. They are required for private git repos and for deployment to Engine Yard, other deployment platforms, and DIY deployment.

The next focus is to work on providing connectivity to multiple database servers with the default install. Currently RailsInstaller ships with SQLite3 libraries and the associated gem. On our roadmap are PostgreSQL, MySQL and SQL Server.

For the Windows-based RailsInstaller, it is important to provide SQLServer connectivity out of the box. We will provide this through the excellent new Tiny TDS by Ken Collins (@metaskills). The Tiny TDS Ruby Gem allows us to connect to SQLServer through the FreeTDS library. Luis Lavena and Ken Collins have been hard at work with the FreeTDS team to enable builds of FreeTDS under mingw, which we use in RailsInstaller for compiling C.

Alongside our database connectivity issues we are also working on another feature. Currently RailsInstaller is based on an Inno Setup installer, which we created using the RubyInstaller codebase as an example. While Inno Setup works very well, it does not easily meet all of our requirements. One such requirement is that we wish to prompt for a username and email to use for git so that we may automatically configure git for the user during the installation process. This poses a fun challenge indeed!

So how do we intend to solve this? This is where a new RailsInstaller sponsor has stepped up to the challenge! There is another installer product out there called Install Builder. BitRock, the creators of Install Builder are heavily involved in the Open Source community and have generously donated an InstallBuilder license to the RailsInstaller project for its core committers!

I have been reading though the InstallBuilder manual. After my experiences with InnoSetup, I must remark that InstallBuilder is extremely well thought out and very flexible. This is exactly what we need to achieve our RailsInstaller goals of taking care of as much as we possibly can for our users. To the BitRock team, thank you!!!

It’s been a great first month. Please continue to share RailsInstaller with your friends so that they can learn how wonderful Ruby on Rails truly is!