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I've stopped maintaining this project after reaching Rails 4.1.6. For new versions of Rails, and for my latest Rails configuration suggestions, please use mattbrictson/rails-template.
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This repository is no longer maintained.

I've stopped maintaining this project after reaching Rails 4.1.6. For new versions of Rails, and for my latest Rails configuration suggestions, please use mattbrictson/rails-template.

I discovered that using this repo in my own projects was becoming tedious and error-prone, due to the manual find-and-replace steps needed to start a new project. To fix that, I've created a new project called mattbrictson/rails-template. It sets out to accomplish similar goals, but does so in a much more automated way, using Rails application templates and Thor actions.

As a result, I am no longer maintaining rails-starter.

For my latest Rails application boilerplate, please visit my new project:



A simple template for starting new Rails 4 projects.

How this repository is organized

There are two branches of this project that are regularly maintained: master and bootstrap.

  • The master branch contains the newest rails-starter template. Most projects are best served by starting from this branch.
  • The bootstrap branch contains all the latest code from master, plus extra gems, views, and helpers specific to Twitter Bootstrap. If you are starting a project where you plan to use Twitter Bootstrap, the bootstrap branch is what you need.

About rails-starter

Rails-stater is a project template for Rails 4 projects that is pre-configured for Capistrano-based deployment. This template targets the following server stack:

  • Ubuntu 12.04 LTS
  • PostgreSQL
  • Unicorn
  • Nginx
  • rbenv
  • dotenv
  • Postmark for mail delivery

By using this template, you’ll hit the ground running with best practices for productive Rails and front-end development:

  • RSpec and Capybara for testing
  • guard-livereload for fast, iterative front-end development
  • Up-to-date rbenv and bundler gem management techniques
  • SMACSS for organizing stylesheets
  • Capistrano recipes to make deployment easy
  • .env for storing encryption keys and secret tokens safely outside of source control
  • An easy way to add Twitter Bootstrap, should you choose to do so (use the bootstrap branch)

More on my blog:


This project requires:

For a complete Ruby development environment, please follow our my post: Rails OS X Setup Guide.

Getting started

Create a Rails project from the template

  1. Download and extract either the master (plain starter) or the bootstrap (Twitter Bootstrap-themed starter) ZIP archive of the rails-starter repository; this will be the start of your new Rails project.
  2. Globally replace rails-starter and RailsStarter with the desired name of your project.
  3. cd into the project and run git init && git add . && git commit -m "init" to initialize a git repository.


Run the bin/setup script. This script will:

  • Check you have the required Ruby version
  • Install gems using Bundler
  • Create local copies of .env and database.yml
  • Create, migrate, and seed the database

Run it!

  1. Run rake spec to make sure everything works.
  2. Run rails s to start the app.

Optional: install pre-commit

pre-commit is a nice utility that runs helpful checks on code you are committing via git. The rails-starter contains a config/pre_commit.yml file with a recommended configuration. To activate pre-commit on your project:

  1. gem install pre-commit
  2. rbenv rehash
  3. pre-commit install

This installs a hook that will automatically run whenever you commit. You’re done!

Using the provided Capistrano 3.x recipes

This project uses the capistrano-fiftyfive gem, which provides all recipes needed to set up and deploy on Ubuntu 12.04. It's super simple.

Purchase a VPS

Using a provider like DigitalOcean, purchase an Ubuntu 12.04 LTS virtual private server. Make sure to install your SSH key for the root user.

Make note of the IP address of the VPS. Then:

Change the deployment settings of your project

To use capistrano you will need to update the deployment settings to match your VPS.

  1. Review the contents of config/deploy.rb. Be sure the change the :repository to match your git repository URL.
  2. Update the IP address in config/deploy/staging.rb to match the IP of the VPS you just purchased.
  3. By default, cap production deploy will deploy from the master branch, and cap staging deploy will deploy from the development branch. Update the branch settings if you use a different branch policy.

Capistrano takes care of the rest!

Don't forget to git push your code so that capistrano can deploy it. Make sure you've pushed the branch that capistrano is expecting in staging.rb. Then run these commands and follow the prompts to install Nginx, SSL, PostgreSQL, Ruby (the whole stack!):

 cap staging provision
 cap staging deploy:migrate_and_restart

Refer to the capistrano-fiftyfive README more details and deployment instructions.

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