"Rails-like console for any Rack based ruby web app"

November 15, 2009

I always miss script/console from Rails while developing my Sinatra apps, especially ones built with DataMapper where I need to auto-migrate my db. Sinatra doesn't come with any comparable solution as it's not a full framework, but rather library for creating simple web apps. Recently I tried Heroku platform and their "heroku console" command inspired me to create something similar - racksh aka Rack::Shell.

racksh is a console for Rack based ruby web applications. It's like Rails' script/console or Merb's merb -i, but for any app built on Rack. You can use it to load application environment for Rails, Merb, Sinatra, Camping, Ramaze or your own framework provided there is config.ru file in app's root directory.

It's purpose is to allow developer to introspect his application and/or make some initial setup, ie. running mentioned DataMapper.automigrate!_. It's mainly aimed at apps that don't have similar facility (like Sinatra) but can be used without problems with Merb or Rails apps.

How it works? It loads whole application environment like Rack web server, but it doesn't run the app. Simply, methods like use or run which are normally invoked on Rack::Builder instance are being stubbed.

Instalation is as easy as:

gem install racksh -s http://gemcutter.org

Then to open console run following inside rack application directory (containing config.ru file):


To specify location of config.ru set CONFIG_RU env variable:

CONFIG_RU=~/projects/foobar/config.ru racksh

Executing ruby code inside application environment and printing results is also supported:

racksh Order.all
racksh "Order.first :created_at => Date.today"

Default Rack environment is set to development but it can be changed by setting RACK_ENV env variable:

RACK_ENV=production racksh

Now I don't need to create some kind of console.rb for my new Rack app, I just use racksh. Enjoy!

UPDATE: Read here for more info.

Read more about console, merb, rack, racksh, rails, ruby, sinatra.
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