Posted on Jul 6, 2009

RubyInstaller: Getting Started with Rails and SQLite3

A few folks asked this over the past weeks, and since I released preview1 version of RubyInstaller, wouldn’t be awesome I write a guide for it?

So, here we go

Update: Gems are not officially released, no need to add --source anymore.

Update: Please see RubyInstaller wiki for updated instructions, specially related to Rails 3.

First, Getting Ruby

Please download from here one of the preview1 installers for Ruby.

For this demonstration, I’m going to use Ruby 1.9.1-p129. Downloaded, executed and installed to it’s default location C:\Ruby19

Now, start a Command prompt with Ruby (under start menu, inside Ruby 1.9.1-p129).

Command Prompt with Ruby

Getting SQLite3

As you may know, Windows do not came out of the box with libraries like SQLite3. For this, we are going to download it from Internet.

Going to SQLite downloads, under Precompiled binaries for Windows, download and Those two packages contains the DLL (sqlite3.dll) and the command line executable for SQLite (sqlite3.exe).

Please extract those contents inside C:\Ruby19\bin

Now, let’s get the Ruby bindings for SQLite3

Getting SQLite3/Ruby bindings

As you may know, the preferred way to distribute Ruby libraries is using Gems. Users on other platforms usually compile themselves these components, using the mechanisms provided by the operating system distribution.

We are going to avoid the compilation process using pre-compiled binaries that has been cooked for us.

So, back to the Command Prompt with Ruby, let’s install the sqlite3 bindings:

gem install sqlite3-ruby

Adding --source help us indicate a non-standard location from where gems are going to be installed. RubyInstaller team has built and packaged special versions of these gems that we hope get published soon into RubyForge, the official place for gem distribution.

Once installed, you should see something like this at the screen:

Successfully installed sqlite3-ruby-
1 gem installed

These special version of the gem are fat binaries, which means these can be safely installed on Ruby 1.8.6 or 1.9.1.

Getting Rails

Now it’s time to install and build a Rails application. First, let’s install the rails gem:

gem install rails

That command is going to take a bit, since is a 2MB or so download, and will install several of the Rails dependencies (ActiveRecord, ActionPack, ActiveSupport, etc). You should expect similar output to this:

Successfully installed activesupport-2.3.2
Successfully installed activerecord-2.3.2
Successfully installed actionpack-2.3.2
Successfully installed actionmailer-2.3.2
Successfully installed activeresource-2.3.2
Successfully installed rails-2.3.2
6 gems installed

Let’s build our application now.

Creating a Rails application.

Let’s call the application railsapp

rails railsapp

An excerpt of the output you should get:

      create  app/controllers
      create  app/helpers
      create  app/models
      create  app/views/layouts
      create  config/environments
      create  config/initializers
      create  config/locales
      create  db

Rails 2.3.2 defaults it’s database format to SQLite3, so there is no need for us to tweak anything.

Checking if everything is ok, using script\about:

cd railsapp
ruby script\about

And the output should be something like this:

About your application's environment
Ruby version              1.9.1 (i386-mingw32)
RubyGems version          1.3.4
Rack version              1.0 bundled
Rails version             2.3.2
Active Record version     2.3.2
Action Pack version       2.3.2
Active Resource version   2.3.2
Action Mailer version     2.3.2
Active Support version    2.3.2
Application root          C:/Users/Luis/railsapp
Environment               development
Database adapter          sqlite3
Database schema version   0

Now, it’s up to you create your models, controllers and everything.

Some notes and considerations.

At the time of this writing, Mongrel has not been updated to build and install properly either on 1.9 or MinGW versions of Ruby.

As part of Mongrel development team, I’m going to work on a solution for this in the upcoming days.

If you find something wrong with the Ruby Installer, please report here, but issues with your code, Rails or other are not responsability of RubyInstaller.

The binary gems provided at are based on our forks of sqlite3-ruby, which can be cloned and explored here at GitHub.

Keep in mind that some gems would not work under Ruby 1.9, or you will need a compiler (DevKit) for it. See previous post with details how to get those from our download page.