Yay Rails!

Wow, just realized it’s been a month to the day since I’ve posted. I feel bad about that, but fact is I have been extremely busy, one with the new job and also were moving here soon so that’s absorbing any free time.

That said, it’s been a productive month. Basically, I may have mentioned before but the dev job I took was quite a bit of PHP, in fact almost all PHP. One of the main reasons they hired me was because of this “upcoming” rails project. Well, after a long week and a trip to Chicago we have our new platform.

So, you may be wondering what it is. The platform essentially allows newspapers and other media outlets to manage/write/edit their stories and import/export to Adobe in-design for print publishing, but also publish directly to their web site…pretty cool.

Short term, I’ve been tasked with bringing the app up to date. It’s currently a rails 2.8.?, ruby 1.8.7 and a bunch of other old dependencies. Although, I was presently surprised to realize that maybe not much has changed since rails 2..(well a lot has, but underlying structure was very familiar to me.). The other pieces of the puzzle are mysql for the db and nginx and passenger for http/app server. Pretty much it, oh and memcached.

We were basically handed a 20GB virtual box .vdi file and sent on our way. I wanted to work through setting up my own virtual box and essentially get the app up and running again for a couple of reasons.

  • gives me experience building out a linux server.
  • forces me to understand underlying dependencies.
  • and it’s fun.

I was able to get a new VM up and running in not a long as I thought. I was worried all the old versions of everything was going to really slow me down, but was pleasantly surprised. Step two of the process is to create an updated version of the stack and re-build using latest rails, ruby ..etc.

I’m amazed over the past month how much server admin type stuff I’ve learned. I reguarly have to dive into mysql, work with stuff like rdp, ssh, etc. I honestly probably know 3 times as many unix commands, I really can’t think of much I couldn’t do on the command line.

I started playing around with vagrant and chef for when I build out the “updated” version of our app. I want building out the server to be as automated as possible. I loved how with the vagrant file for dev just one command and you have a virtual box up running your app.

Ultimately, I believe we’ll deploy to either AWS or possibly rackspace. One thing I learned here is PHP people really like to configure/play with servers and have ultimate control of their environments.

Pheww. About it for now. I have a bunch of screen caps I took today while building out our dev server with the old version or rails. I plan on doing a quick write up on that here shortly. Hopefully I’ll get back into the swing of things with my posts!

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