A minimal, yet complete, Ruby on Rails installer for Windows.
Because we know that you'd rather spend time working on Rails rather than installing it.

This installer contains the following packages:

Use Cases

RailsFTW is suitable for the following situations:

  • at coding workshops in schools that use Windows as their primary OS
  • in Rails courses on computer labs with Windows machines that have strict network settings preventing Bundler from downloading gems
  • in locations where spotty internet connection renders cloud IDEs useless
  • when a friend wants see what Rails is all about but can't afford to spend money on a Mac, nor spend time setting up Linux
  • those days when you don't feel like waiting for the gem install or bundle install to finish

Installation and Usage

  1. Download and install. Windows 8 users may need to disable SmartScreen for the installer to work. (Don't forget to use FCIV linked below to verify that you downloaded the correct file.)
  2. Open "RailsFTW » Start Command Prompt with Ruby"
  3. Create an app using the "rails new" command e.g.:
        C:\Users\user> rails new testapp
                
    To create a new app using MySQL instead of SQLite, use "-d mysql" e.g.:
        C:\Users\user> rails new testapp -d mysql
                
    You can also skip the initial bundle install (if the training site doesn't have good internet) via "-B" e.g.:
        C:\Users\user> rails new testapp -B
                
  4. Unblock the firewall alert the will pop up the first time Ruby accesses the network (e.g. running rails server)

Gotchas

Installing to a path with directories with spaces or non-ASCII characters in their names (e.g. C:\Users\John Doe\RailsFTW\) may cause unexpected problems.

Windows 8 users may encounter problems with the built-in JavaScript runtime. Installing NodeJS will fix the problem.

This installer doesn't include the RubyInstaller DevKit so it will not be able to install gems that require compilation of native extensions. Head over to the RubyInstaller site and download and install the appropriate DevKit if you need to teach more advanced lessons.

Recommended Links

 
  RailsFTW RailsInstaller
Ruby version 2.1.5 1.9.3-p545 (2.0.0-p195 at v3.0.0-alpha.2)
Rails version 4.1.8 3.2.19
File Size ~14MB ~73MB
DB Adapter Gems sqlite3, mysql2 sqlite3, mysql2, pg, tiny_tds (MS SQL Server)
Additional Features - git, DevKit
Internet Connection Required? No (Bundler will fail to connect to server but new apps will still work) Yes
 

Other Recommended Downloads

Ruby on Rails 3.0: A Free Student Manual

Free book on Rails 3.0 written by yours truly.

(Given away because the current version of Rails is 4.0)

msysgit

No brainer here. Git is the standard version control system for Rails apps. Whether you need to deploy something to Heroku or just need to add version control to your project, msysgit (aka Git for Windows) will do the job quite well.

For those who are used to TortoiseSVN, you might want to look at TortoiseGit.

XAMPP

If you want to try using MySQL instead of SQLite in your Rails apps, XAMPP is probably the most convenient way to do so. Both its portability and the bundled PHPMyAdmin for database administration makes using MySQL relatively hassle-free.

Since you're only using XAMPP for the DB, getting the portable version will save you bandwidth and disk space.

vim

Definitely not preferred in a classroom setting. You're better off letting the newbies use Sublime Text considering that Notepad++'s support for Rails is pretty disappointing.

But if you're one of those Rails developers who doesn't use TextMate but instead uses vim or emacs (e.g. me) you know how lucky you are when faced with a task that requires you to move between OSs: you know your editor skills still translate well in those other platforms.

Yes, the learning curve for those editors are pretty high, but it's never too late to learn them. There are a lot of good articles out there that talk about using vim for Rails and it's just a matter of trying them out. Here's a recent article on moving from TextMate to vim while here's a relatively old one which talks about using vim with Rails on Windows.

Console 2

PowerShell has compatibility problems with Ruby so we're stuck with the boring cmd.exe. Console makes Windows CLI a little more interesting by adding some useful features like multiple tabs, shell management (i.e. you could use cmd.exe, ANSICON, msysgit bash, and even Cygwin side by side), and appearance customization.

File Checksum Integrity Verifier (FCIV)

You should verify the checksums of the installers after downloading them to make sure that you have the correct files. The FCIV utility allows you to calculate for MD5 and SHA-1 hashes under windows.

rails-ftw-v0.18-2.1.5-4.1.8.exe MD5 Checksum: 8178944bcc0210fbb424a4f6531e402b

rails-ftw-v0.16-2.0.0-4.1.5.exe MD5 Checksum: d76b06da0ad02454e23883af56ae645e

rails-ftw-v0.14-2.0.0-4.0.5.exe MD5 Checksum: 745f135909861fa5ff4778dda6ea9278

rails-ftw-v0.11-1.9.3-3.2.8.exe MD5 Checksum: 0b4d37bcfc810135e24190ea879ee1a6

rails-ftw-v0.9-1.8.7-3.0.10.exe MD5 Checksum: 9148e859d1c473a5b26be0af0e0b3adc