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Practicing Ruby Cookbook

This Chef cookbook fully automates the process of setting up an environment that can run the Practicing Ruby Rails app. It takes a bare Ubuntu system from zero to the point where Practicing Ruby can be deployed with Capistrano.

The cookbook was originally built for the Practicing Ruby article "Infrastructure automation by example".


To use this cookbook, you need the following software:

When you provision a VM using this cookbook, Chef will be installed for you via vagrant-omnibus, and if necessary an Ubuntu Linux base system image will be downloaded automatically. See the project's Vagrantfile for exact versions used.

External Cookbooks

Our recipes are built on top of the following external cookbooks:

All of these will be automatically installed by Berkshelf, so there is no need to set them up manually.


Most of the web application's features will work without modifying any settings, but a few features do need to have valid API keys or other bits of configuration data to be set in order to run. To see what options are configurable, see attributes/default.rb. To override them, copy chef.json.example to chef.json and edit the latter accordingly. Keep in mind that for many use cases, you may not need to override any settings at all.


Run the following two commands inside the Practicing Ruby cookbook to create a Vagrant machine and boot it up:

$ bundle exec berks vendor vendor/cookbooks
$ vagrant up --provision

In case the VM is already up, you can always run Chef again with:

$ bundle exec berks vendor vendor/cookbooks
$ vagrant provision

To SSH into the running VM:

$ vagrant ssh

Last but not least, here is how to stop and destroy the VM when you no longer need it or when you want to start from scratch:

$ vagrant destroy -f

Using Rake

Instead of running Vagrant directly on the command line, there is also a Rake task you can use. With this command, you always end up with a Vagrant machine that is fully provisioned:

$ bundle exec rake provision


In order to deploy the Practicing Ruby app to a Vagrant VM that was provisioned with the Practicing Ruby cookbook, you have to add the following settings to your ~/.ssh/config file (you might have to adapt HostName and IdentityFile to match your setup).

Host practicingruby.local
    User deploy
    UserKnownHostsFile /dev/null
    StrictHostKeyChecking no
    PasswordAuthentication no
    IdentityFile ~/.vagrant.d/insecure_private_key
    IdentitiesOnly yes

Afterwards, you will be able to deploy the Rails app with Capistrano:

$ cd /path/to/practicing-ruby-web
$ bundle install
$ bundle exec cap vagrant deploy:setup deploy seed

Also, you will be able to log into the VM via ssh practicingruby.local.

To visit the site from your browser, you'll probably also need to add the following entries to your /etc/hosts file: practicingruby.local www.practicingruby.local

A few users and some articles will already be populated in the DB. Try logging in as admin for an administrator account, and see the full seed file for all created users.

Using Rake

Instead of manually switching to the practicing-ruby-web directory and running Capistrano, you can also use this handy Rake task to deploy the Rails app to the Vagrant machine:

$ bundle exec rake deploy


Build Status

The following Rake tasks are provided for automated testing of the cookbook:

  • rake rubocop - Run RuboCop style and lint checks
  • rake foodcritic - Run Foodcritic lint checks
  • rake integration - Run Test Kitchen integration tests (provisions a Vagrant VM using this cookbook and then tests the infrastructure with Serverspec)
  • rake test - Run all tests

License and Authorship

Originally written in October 2013 by Mathias Lafeldt (, with contributions from the community. Individual contributors retain their copyright, but agree to release the code under the same license as the project itself. For a complete list of contributors, see the git logs or visit:

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.


We welcome contributed improvements and bug fixes via the usual workflow:

  1. Fork this repository
  2. Create your feature branch (git checkout -b my-new-feature)
  3. Commit your changes (git commit -am 'Add some feature')
  4. Push to the branch (git push origin my-new-feature)
  5. Create a new pull request


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