Setting up a Ruby dev environment on Bowery.io


EDIT: Apparently it’s not possible to run docker inside a Bowery instance because Bowery uses docker and docker has a hard time running inside a docker container - see this post on the forum

Bowery.io is a hosted development environment service. The idea is that you edit your files locally, but run your code in a cloud-hosted Docker container, based on an image which can be shared and edited by teams.

It looks like it used to host its own packages and allow environments to be set up through a gui, but now the approach is to either install everything by hand or use a dockerfile, which I guess makes sense as docker has become more and more popular and Bowery’s main audience is going to be quite devvy devs who are comfortable using docker.

I had a go at setting up an environment for ruby development and didn’t really find any documentation so here’s what I tried:

Approach: Use a dockerfile

The simplest way to start your Bowery image with ruby is to use a dockerfile which sets ruby up for you. This can be as simple as creating a file called Dockerfile at the root of your project, consisting of this line:

from ruby:2.2.0

…then when you select your code directory for the first time through the Bowery app you can click “Yes” on this prompt to initialize your Bowery image based on that Dockerfile:

More details about this approach can be found on the Bowery blog

Approach: Install ruby directly

Not having ever used docker in anger, my first attempt involved just installing ruby manually. The following steps are basically a textbook set of steps for installing ruby on a new Ubuntu machine (which is what Bowery instances are based on):

  1. Update apt-get:

     apt-get update
    
  2. Install the dependencies for ruby-build using apt-get

  3. Install rbenv

  4. Install ruby-build

  5. Install ruby with rbenv:

     rbenv install 2.2.0
     rbenv global 2.2.0
    
  6. Install bundler:

     gem install bundler
    

What about Rails?

I have managed to successfully set up a Rails dev environment using Bowery, but it ended up being pretty fiddly and I’m not sure I have anything coherent enough to blog about.

I essentially set it up just like any other ubuntu box would be set up (but I’m still pretty green at server management - hence fiddly).

What I was hoping to find was a Dockerfile which at least set up Ruby and Postgres, but it seems like the normal approach is to run separate Docker containers and link them (as in this tutorial). I don’t think this approach applies to Bowery, where a single dockerfile is used to initialize the image. I suppose I could run docker on Bowery though? (#meta)

In any case, here are the additional components which need to be installed to run my Rails dev environment:

  • A Javascript runtime (I installed Node.js with apt-get)
  • A database (I installed Postgresql with apt-get but had a pain setting it up)
  • A headless browser for javascript specs (I built phantom.js from scratch