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Rails deployment and configuration management done right. ShadowPuppet + Capistrano == crazy delicious
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Moonshine is Rails deployment and configuration management done right.

Deploying Your Rails Application with Moonshine in 15 minutes


  • A server running Ubuntu 8.10 (Want to see your favorite platform supported? Fork Moonshine on GitHub!)

  • A user on this server that can:

    • Execute commands via sudo

    • Access your application's Git repository


  • ruby script/plugin install git://

  • Ensure all required gems are declared using config.gem calls in config/environment.rb.

  • ruby script/generate moonshine

  • Edit the configuration file at config/moonshine.yml with your apps's details. (If you're using a user other than rails, specify this here)

  • Edit the Moonshine::Manifest::Rails manifest generated for your application at app/manifests/application_manifest.rb to declare other packages, services, or files your application depends on (memcached, sphinx, etc).

  • capify your application

    • Your config/deploy.rb can be super barebones, as Moonshine loads the contents of config/moonshine.yml in as Cap variables and sets some sane defaults. Here's what I use:

      server "", :app, :web, :db, :primary => true
  • git add . && git commit -am "added moonshine" && git push

  • cap deploy:setup

    • This will bootstrap your Ubuntu server with Ruby Enterprise Edition.

  • cap deploy

    • This will install all needed dependencies for your application and deploy it for the first time. The initial deploy will take awhile, as things such as MySQL, etc, are being installed. It's worth the wait though, because what you end up with is an extremely maintainable server that you'll never need to SSH into again!

Moonshine and Capistrano

Moonshine tightly integrates with Capistrano, utilizing its callback system to apply your manifests to the server on each deploy. In addition, variables are set in Capistrano for all keys on the config/moonshine.yml hash, allowing your Capistrano configuration to be extremly barebones.

By default, Capistrano applies the manifest at app/manifests/application_manifest.rb. To run a different manifest, for example one to install and maintain packages on a server of a different role:

set :moonshine_manifest, 'memcached_manifest'

If you'd like to prevent Capistrano from applying your Moonshine manifests for any reason:

set :moonshine_apply, false

Shared Config

Often, certain files (config/database.yml, etc) are excluded from an application's SCM, but required to be present for deploy. We've abstracted this pattern with some Capistrano automation that goes great with Moonshine.

For example, if you keep config/database.yml out of your SCM, add the following line to your config/moonshine.yml:

  - config/database.yml

This file will then be automatically uploaded when you run deploy:setup and symlinked to current/config/database.yml on each deploy.

There are some extra cap tasks for working with these files manually, if needed:

  • cap shared_config:upload

  • cap shared_config:download

  • cap shared_config:symlink

The old local_config functionality is still supported, but shared_config is recommended.

Running Tests

To run the test suite, follow these steps to create a testbed app:

rails moonshine_tests
cd moonshine_tests
git clone git:// /vendor/plugins/moonshine
script/generate moonshine
cd vendor/plugins/moonshine
rake test

Getting Help

You can find more examples in the documentation and on the Wiki.

For help or general discussion, visit the Moonshine newsgroup.

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