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Debugging Ruby on Rails Applications

by Huw Collingbourne
Sunday 18 February 2007.

We’ll be releasing the next version of Ruby In Steel (RiS) Developer in the next few days. Among other things, this includes some useful improvements to our Ruby On Rails debugger...

While we use the same debugger for Rails as for standard Ruby programs, there are a few additional complications that we have to deal with. I won’t bore you with the details but suffice to say that the need to interact with web pages via a web server introduces some special problems when debugging. This is why, in the first release of RiS Developer we required the use of the LightTPD server. It turns out that LightTPD is not only faster than the familiar WEBrick server but it also works in a way that makes the handling of Ruby threads more reliable.

In the forthcoming version of RiS Developer (which, as always, is a free update to registered users) we no longer have that restriction. If you don’t want to use LightTPD, you can use Mongrel or WEBrick instead. For simplicity, the WEBrick server is as good as any. It should be installed as standard so you don’t have to worry about downloading other software before using it. When you are ready to debug, just load up your Rails app and click the One-click Debugger button.

This, incidentally, is quite different from the long-winded method of Rails debugging in the free Personal edition of Ruby In Steel. With the One-click Debugger you don’t have to activate the server file or enter any path information. Just click the button and start debugging.

To get a first look at the updated Rails debugger in action, go over to the Movies Page. It’s the item right down at the bottom...

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