So it’s not like this doesn’t exist elsewhere on the ‘net, but in case you stumbled upon one of my other Ruby on Rails posts and I caught your interest, here’s how to get started developing Rails apps on Windows. If you’re a little resistant to try Rails, look how simple the install is. What are you waiting for?

  1. Head over to and install Ruby executable from there. I usually install both 1.8.7 (current release Ruby 1.8.7-p249 (RC2)) and 1.9.1 (current release Ruby 1.9.1-p378 (RC2)) and use pik to switch between the two with ease. I also have the RubyInstaller set my path variable to include the install path for Ruby 1.8.7. The RubyInstaller includes Ruby and RubyGems. If you are not familiar with RubyGems, a gem is a Ruby package. Accessing and using a gem is a simple gem install command, which you will see in a moment.

  2. Fire up cmd on your machine and type ruby -v. You should see the following text. If you don’t, check your PATH variable and make sure you have an entry for your installation path (typically C:\Ruby\bin). Note your version listing may be different than mine. ruby 1.8.7 (2010-01-10 patchlevel 249) [i386-mingw32]

  3. You may want to update RubyGems. The RubyInstaller (at least at the time of writing) includes v1.3.5. To do this, use the command: gem update -system The current version as of this post is v1.3.6. You can check your gem version with the command **gem -v

  4. Now it’s time to install Rails, which thanks to gems is as easy as running the command: gem install rails. Note that installing Rails takes a bit of time. After Rails is done, use the command rails -v to verify it installed correctly.

  5. After Rails is done, you should install a database. The easiest to get going with is SQLite. You’ll need to download the EXE and the DLLs for SQLite (from here: Look under the Precompiled Binaries For Windows section. You’ll have three files after downloading the two zip files (sqlite-3 and sqlitedll). Put the sqlite3.dll, sqlite3.def, and sqlite3.exe in your Ruby\bin directory (typically C:\Ruby\bin). Once you’ve done that you’ll need to install the sqlite3-ruby gem, which is just: gem install sqlite3-ruby

  6. That’s it! Now you can start working with Rails. Let’s make a simple note taking application…

On the command line (which you probably still have open from installing Rails), issue the following commands. Note, you should change your directory to somewhere where you want the app to be created. You can always move it if you want (assuming your server isn’t running), but it’s a good idea to put it in like a “Projects” folder or something.

rails notepad

cd notepad

ruby script/generate scaffold note title:string content:text

rake db:migrate

ruby script/server

Just five commands, and now you have an application (granted a very simple one), database, and a web server hosting your app. Browse to http://localhost:3000/notes, and there you can create, read, update, and destroy notes. Pretty cool, ehh?