Below is a non-exhaustive list of tools to aid in ruby development.

Given that your Gemfile has the following:

gem 'active-fedora'

Goto and review that page. You will find links for Documentation, Source Code, Dependencies, etc.

Ruby on Rails Guides and API

Rails Guide is an excellent resource on how to do things in Rails. Rails API is a resource documenting the code API.


RSpec is testing tool for the Ruby programming language. Born under the banner of Behaviour-Driven Development, it is designed to make Test-Driven Development a productive and enjoyable experience

In your Gemfile add the following:

group :development, :test do
  gem 'rspec-rails'

Then run rails generate rspec:install.

With an Rspec test suite, run rspec --format documentation to see the more “human friendly” assertions.

A detailed walkthrough via Git annotations.


Code coverage for Ruby 1.9+ with a powerful configuration library…

In your Gemfile add the following:

gem 'simplecov', :require => false, :group => :test

Then in your spec/spec_helper.rb

require 'simplecov'


Record your test suite’s HTTP interactions and replay them during future test runs for fast, deterministic, accurate tests.

Odds are good that you will be incorporating web services in your application. And testing those things is very slow. Use VCR to record your HTTP interactions for tests then in future tests use the recorded tapes.

More at


Free Continuous Integration for Open Source projects. Greatly improves project collaboration.

Let the cloud run your tests!

More at


Bundler maintains a consistent environment for ruby applications. It tracks an application’s code and the rubygems it needs to run, so that an application will always have the exact gems (and versions) that it needs to run.

  • bundle console Opens an IRB session with the bundle pre-loaded
  • bundle show Shows all gems that are part of the bundle, or the path to a given gem
  • bundle open Opens the source directory of the given bundled gem
  • bundle viz Generates a visual dependency graph

More at

Better Errors (Rails specific)

Better Errors replaces the standard Rails error page with a much better and more useful error page. It is also usable outside of Rails in any Rack app as Rack middleware.

In your Gemfile add the following:

group :development do
  gem "better_errors"
  gem "binding_of_caller"

Then in your browser start clicking around and trying to break things.

  • Full stack trace
  • Source code inspection for all stack frames (with highlighting)
  • Local and instance variable inspection
  • Live REPL on every stack frame

More info at


In your Gemfile add the following:

  • gem 'debugger'

Wherever you need a debugger, add require 'debugger'; debugger. This works great with bundle open or the better_errors gem.

More info at

Other debuggers at Ruby Toolbox

Locating the method definition

Returns the Ruby source filename and line number containing this method or nil if this method was not defined in Ruby (i.e. native)

From rails console or bundle console:

Location of an instance method:


Location of a class method:


More at

Advanced Method Location

method_locator provides a way to traverse an object’s method lookup path to find all places where a method may be defined.

Particularly helpful for determining where super is resolving to.

  • gem 'method_locator'
  • $ bundle console
  • ActiveRecord::Base.methods_for(:find)
  • ActiveRecord::Base.method_lookup_path

More at


In Rails you will be using a lot of rake;

  • rake -W Describe the tasks (matching optional PATTERN) are defined, then exit.
  • rake -T Display the tasks (matching optional PATTERN) with descriptions, then exit.
  • rake -A Show all tasks, even uncommented ones
  • rake -P Display the tasks and dependencies, then exit.

More at

Git Bisect

From man git-bisect:

Find by binary search the change that introduced a bug

A bug was introduced somewhere in the code. At commit “A” things were working. At commit “B” things are broken. Write a script (i.e. that exits status 0 when things are working; and -1 when it is broken.

  • git bisect start
  • git bisect bad <sha for commit B>
  • git bisect good <sha for commit A>
  • git bisect run ./path/to/

A more detailed run through at

ND’s Puppet Scripts for Building a VM for Curate

Puppet is IT automation software that helps system administrators manage infrastructure throughout its lifecycle, from provisioning and configuration to orchestration and reporting.

Hydra is a complicated stack, there are steps to help ease the deployment.

Notre Dame’s Scripts at

Ruby Toolbox

A resource for looking up gems by category and seeing usage and maintenance statistics. More info at

Further Hydra Developer Resources

  • irc://