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garlic is a set of commands/rake tasks to help with CI across multiple rails/dependency versions
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garlic: lightweight continuous integration for rails using git

This is not a CI server, use cruisecontrol.rb for that. This is a simple set
of commands (or rake tasks) that let you specify a bunch of rails builds to run against, and
dependencies to install.

This is aimed at testing plugins (or apps) against multiple versions of rails,
and allows specifying other plugin dependencies (and their versions and any
setup requried).

If you want to run your specs (or whatever) against different versions of gems
that you have installed, then check out ginger by Pat Allen

Garlic works by cloning git repos for all your dependencies (so they all must be
git repos), and then using git to checkout various tags and branches to build
your app against.

Here’s an example of running a plugin against 3 different rails verisons and 3 different rspec versions

It’s still new, and not shiny yet

Please feel free to make it shinier. I’m successfully using it on most of my plugins, and I test
with rspec and cucumber.

Check out the TODO LIST

Get up and running quickly

You have a plugin and you want it tested against different versions of rails?

  • install garlic as a gem (see below)
  • cd into your (say, rspec tested) plugin directory
garlic generate rspec > garlic.rb garlic install_repos garlic
  • See what happens, edit garlic.rb to change rails versions and other stuff.
garlic —help # will probably help


Install the garlic gem

sudo gem install ianwhite-garlic —source=

(if you want the very latest version)

git clone git:// cd garlic rake package sudo gem install pkg/garlic-*.gem


To see garlic in action, download response_for, a rails plugin that uses
garlic for CI.

git clone git://

run garlic

garlic all

This will clone all the required git repos (done only once), set up the target
railses (done once), then run the targets.

Once you’ve made some changes

You can prepare and run all the targets again (without fetching remote repos) by doing


This will prepare all the targets, using the current HEAD of the repos, and run the
CI task again.

Specifying particular targets

If you just want to run against a particular target or targets, you can use the TARGET or TARGETS
env var.

garlic -t edge

Running Shell commands across multiple targets

Check dis out

garlic shell # Example output

You can pipe any thing into garlic shell and it will execute across all of your garlic targets

Rake tasks

If you prefer to use garlic via rake tasks, then just require ‘garlic/tasks’ and you’ll get a bunch of em.
Once required, do rake -T to see descriptions.

garlic workflow shell commands

If you add the following line to your .profile

source `gem environment gemdir`/gems/ianwhite-garlic-*/sh/

Then you’ll get these 4 new shell commands:

gcd [target] cds into the specified target working repo gcdp [target] cds into the specified target plugin in the working repo gup cds back up to the garlic’d repo from within a working path gpush [branch] from within a working repo, pushes changes back to the local garlic target, and resets local changes in that target to HEAD.

This means you might have a workflow as follows (example is for a plugin):

  1. run garlic, see probs in ‘2-2-stable’
gcdp 2-2 # => takes you into the working repo in the ‘2-2-stable’ target
  1. fix the changes, make some commits
gpush # => pushes the changes back to the enclosing garlic’d repo gup # => go back up there garlic # => rerun garlic to see how the changes affect the other targets

Lend a hand

This is an early release, so there is plenty of scope for changes and improvement
If you want to lend a hand, get in touch.

© Ian White 2008 –
MIT Licence

Lent a hand

Thanks very much to:

  • Pat Allan
  • Dr Nic Williams (API suggestions)
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