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Retraction – Installing Ruby 1.9 on a Mac.

Nothing is worse than having to print a retraction, one of my posts is on the lightest way of installing a new Ruby on the Mac.

Turns out the rbenv and ruby-build do indeed require Xcode. Even though the website and even some people believe it's not required, ruby-build needs a compiler. Suddenly the case for rbenv is nil, null and void. I am a bit upset that this requirement is not clear from the documentation, and its harder configuration, coupled with the need to always preface your Rails commands with 'bundle exec' and its lack of advantage of rvm in size, make rbenv a looser and I can't recommend it anymore.

I have just switched to RVM, which while it requires the behemoth of Xcode or possibly just the 'command line tools for Xcode' is a far better choice. RVM or Ruby Version Manager, allows you to create gem sets per project that then can be shared with the project itself. It's command line interface is super polished, and there is way more information on how to incorporate it into editors like Textmate or Sublime Text 2.

Since this is now my recommended way of installing Ruby 1.9.3 (I still recommend JRuby too, because that one truly doesn't require Xcode and if you just want to play with Ruby or learn about the differences, it's great.) I'll tell you how to configure Textmate for it.

You'll need to do two things (maybe three).

  • Go to Preferences > Advanced Settings > Shell Variables
  • Set TM_RUBY to the result of `which rvm-auto-ruby` 
  • If you want to run hash-bang (#!) files on rvm's ruby as well alter the PATH variable to have the path to whatever ruby you're using as default there, ahead of the system path: ` /Users/david/.rvm/rubies/ruby-1.9.3-p286/bin/:/usr/bin:` for example (optional)
  • Some bundles (like the Textmate Bundle) require 1.8.7 to run properly so alter their hash-bang statements to hardcode to the system ruby. So instead of saying `#! /usr/bin/env ruby` they say `#! /usr/bin/ruby`. This took me a long time to figure out but it's invaluable.
Installing RVM is a piece of cake. You'll need Xcode installed, then go to the RVM website and run the curl command there and it should work like a charm. Their website even has info on how to integrate it to Textmate, though it's missing the Path alteration I labelled as optional above.


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