Before you dig in and start learning Ruby, let’s go ahead and make sure you have everything set up. Setting up a development environment can be frustrating to new developers so we are going to take a couple of shortcuts that will make your life easier. Instead of fighting with configurations of your local machine, you are going to be using a pre-made Ruby environment, ready for you to start working in. This will prevent you from having to learn about the Ruby Version Manager, library conflicts, library scope, and all kinds of other advanced topics that most people will find boring.
Sound good? Great! To set up the pre-made environment we are going to be using a system called Docker. Docker is a system for wrapping an environment up inside a Container Image that is already configured and ready to use. To take advantage of this, we need to make sure we have Docker installed locally on your machine.
After Docker installs, you can set up your code editing environment.
Since 95% of all computer users are on either Windows or Mac OSX, those are the installation instructions covered in this book. If you happen to be one of the 5% of other users, please follow the directions located on the Docker Install Page.
For the rest of you, you are going to be installing the Desktop version of Docker, which includes the tools needed to use it. Start by going to the download page: download.docker.com and finding your platform. For instance, the windows download is https://download.docker.com/win/stable/Docker%20for%20Windows%20Installer.exe
Docker for Windows
Docker for Windows uses a feature called Microsoft Hyper-V to run Docker images for you. The installer will automatically enable this feature when it’s run, so there isn’t much for you to worry about.
NOTE: If you use VirtualBox to run VM images, they will no longer run once Docker has installed. The two systems are mutually exclusive! If you need VirtualBox, use Docker Toolbox instead!
Requirements to run Docker for Windows:
- Windows 10 64bit
- 4GB of RAM
- Virtualization is enable in BIOS. It’s enabled by default, so unless you turned this off, you are fine!
Are you running on an older version of Windows? Don’t have 4GB of RAM? You can use Docker Toolbox instead! It’s an older version of Docker, but works well for our needs!
Once you have the right version of Docker downloaded, run the installer and follow the on-screen instructions.
Docker for Mac
Unlike the Windows version of Docker, the Mac version will not interfere with existing Virtual Machine software running on your system. The caveat is that older version of VirtualBox will interfere with Docker.
Requirements to run Docker for Mac:
- 2010 or newer Mac hardware.
- macOS El Capitan or newer OS
- At least 4GB of RAM
- VirtualBox version 4.3.30 or newer (if any)
If your machine does not meet these requirements, please install Docker Toolbox instead!
Docker.dmg and drag the whale to your Applications folder.
Once the install is complete, you will need to start Docker manually. A whale icon will appear in your task bar. Once the boxes stop moving on the icon, Docker is ready to use!
Installing an Editor
To write Ruby code, you need to have a code editor installed. One of the most popular on the market is VSCode. It’s a code editor written by the same team that builds the popular Visual Studio Integrated Development Environment.
The benefit to VSCode is that it comes with plugins that you can install to make working with any programming language much easier and more convenient. Go ahead and install the latest version. You will begin using it in a later chapter.