Using Passenger on OS X for Rails development

Manfred Stienstra

Lately a few things have been bugging me about Rails development using script/server. First, I can’t test through SSL and for applications who switch between SSL and non-SSL you really want your development environment too look as much like production as possible. And secondly, I have to manually manage my app server with script/server. This is a bit of a pain because some of our applications use ActiveResource to communicate so I need to start several app processes.

Proxying trough Apache solved the SSL problem, but now I had to remember on which ports I had to start my app server.

The solution turned out to be Passenger. First we install the passenger gem and compile

$ gem install passenger
$ passenger-install-apache2-module

After that we turn on Apache at System PreferencesSharingWeb Sharing and edit the webserver configuration. I added everything to /etc/apache2/users/manfred.conf but Apache doesn’t really care where you put it, just remember to load before using Passenger specific configuration options.

Set up the Passenger configuration as explained at the end of the install script.

LoadModule passenger_module /Library/Ruby/Gems/1.8/gems/passenger-1.0.1/ext/apache2/
RailsSpawnServer /Library/Ruby/Gems/1.8/gems/passenger-1.0.1/bin/passenger-spawn-server
RailsRuby /System/Library/Frameworks/Ruby.framework/Versions/1.8/usr/bin/ruby

Make sure our apps run in development mode.

RailsEnv development

Allow Apache serve files from our development directories.

<Directory "/Users/manfred/Code">
    Order allow,deny
    Allow from all

Finally, configure virtual hosts for our various projects.

NameVirtualHost *:80

<VirtualHost *:80>
DocumentRoot "/Users/manfred/Code/project1/public"
ServerName project1.local

<VirtualHost *:80>
DocumentRoot "/Users/manfred/Code/project2/public"
ServerName project2.local