A rails template for gem bundler

Update 28th February 2010:

Bundler has changed a lot since I first wrote this template, so I’ve written a new version. Please use the updated version rather than the one below.

Following Nick Quaranto’s article ‘Gem Bundler is the Future’, I was inspired to try out bundler on my latest rails project. Previously, I’ve found rails’ own gem management a massive headache. In contrast, using bundler has been a pleasure.

Getting it set up how I wanted took a fair bit of experimentation, so to make things easier both for me and the wider community, I’ve made a rails template to do the hard work.

Give it a try by running the following. You should be up and running in a couple of minutes:

rails -m http://github.com/tomafro/dotfiles/raw/master/resources/rails/bundler.rb <project>

That will give you a bundled project, ready for you to add your own gems. Here’s what each step of the template actually does:

Gem bundler is itself a gem. It can’t be used to manage itself, so to ensure that all environments use the same version, the first step is to install it right into the project:

inside 'gems/bundler' do
  run 'git init'
  run 'git pull --depth 1 git://github.com/wycats/bundler.git'
  run 'rm -rf .git .gitignore'

Just having bundler installed is no good without any way to run it; a script is needed. Once this is installed the local bundler can be run with script/bundle <options>:

file 'script/bundle', %{
#!/usr/bin/env ruby
path = File.expand_path(File.join(File.dirname(__FILE__), "..", "gems/bundler/lib"))
$LOAD_PATH.unshift path
require 'rubygems'
require 'rubygems/command'
require 'bundler'
require 'bundler/commands/bundle_command'

run 'chmod +x script/bundle'

Bundler uses Gemfiles to declare which gems are required in each environment. This simple Gemfile includes rails in all environments, and ruby-debug in all environments other than production:

file 'Gemfile', %{
source 'http://gemcutter.org'


bundle_path 'gems'

gem 'rails', '#{Rails::VERSION::STRING}'
gem 'ruby-debug', :except => 'production'

Most of the files bundler will place in the gem path can be regenerated; they shouldn’t be added to the project repository. The only things that should be added are the .gem files themselves, and the local copy of bundler. All the rest should be ignored:

append_file '.gitignore', %{

The bundle script needs to be run for the first time:

run 'script/bundle'

Finally rails needs to be modified to ensure the bundler environment is loaded. This is done it two parts. First, a preinitializer is added to load the bundler’s environment file before anything else:

append_file '/config/preinitializer.rb', %{
require File.expand_path(File.join(File.dirname(__FILE__), "..", "gems", "environment"))

Second, rails initialization process is hijacked to require the correct bundler environment:

gsub_file 'config/environment.rb', "require File.join(File.dirname(__FILE__), 'boot')", %{
require File.join(File.dirname(__FILE__), 'boot')

# Hijack rails initializer to load the bundler gem environment before loading the rails environment.

Rails::Initializer.module_eval do
  alias load_environment_without_bundler load_environment

  def load_environment
    Bundler.require_env configuration.environment

And that’s it. The project is now fully bundled. More gems can be added to the Gemfile and pulled into the project with script/bundle.