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Freighthop: Hitch a Ride on Vagrant

Don't you hate how your dev machine inevitably becomes the superset of all the dependencies of every project you ever worked on? Nobody wants to live in a war zone of data stores fighting for resources.

Vagrant is supposed to help us with this. Package everything in virtual machines, and your life will be amazing! That's the idea at least; but the actual mechanics of getting to that promised land are not all that clear.

What is Freighthop?

Freighthop is based around this simple goal:

When I download a project, I want to run a single command that spins me up a VM serving said project.

With a few commands from the project root of any {Ruby,Clojure} web app, Freighthop can spin up a VM that serves that project at Freighthop takes care of package install, the server configuration, and the database, and it providesfh, a friendly helper executable that allows you to interact with the VM.

!! Alpha Work in Progress !!

WARNING: This is a young project; lots of stuff will change as the project evolves.

Try it out

Get the prerequisites

  • Vagrant >=1.3.1
  • A little speed boost:
    • vagrant plugin install vagrant-cachier
  • And for DNS magic:
    • vagrant plugin install landrush

Install the gem

gem install freighthop

Create config

A Freighthop-enabled project just needs to include a .freighthop.json use fh init to generate one.

fh init

Configure .freighthop.json to something like this for rails and postgres:

  "freighthop::cpus": 2,
  "freighthop::ram": 512,
  "freighthop::languages": [ "ruby" ],
  "freighthop::language::ruby::version": "2.0.0-p247",
  "freighthop::web::servers": [ "nginx" ],
  "freighthop::web::nginx::upstream_port": 3000,
  "freighthop::database::servers": [ "postgres" ],
  "freighthop::database::postgres::databases": [ "myapp_development" ],
  "freighthop::database::postgres::users": [ "myapp" ],
  "freighthop::packages": [

Spin it up

# boot the VM
fh up
# run your migrations
fh rake db:migrate
# spin up your server
fh run rackup


Thanks to landrush, we can hit our VM at a friendly URL.


Shut 'er down

fh halt

And your host system is none the wiser! No databases lying around, no daemons hanging out forever in the background; squeaky clean!

fh - the friendly executable helper

For now this is a tiny bash script that mostly just delegates down to vagrant. Here are the important commands from vagrant:

  • fh up - start and provision the VM
  • fh provision - kick off provisioning if you change your config or something breaks
  • fh ssh - log into your VM
  • fh halt - shut down the VM
  • fh destroy - delete the VM

And it also knows a few special commands of its own:

  • fh init - creates a blank config file
  • fh run '$COMMAND' - run a command from the CWD of your project on the VM
  • fh console - attempts to run a rails console inside the VM
  • fh rake $TASK - runs a rake task in your project on the VM

So much to do...

We're just getting started; this little project could really use your help!

  • Try to get it running and report any problems you hit.
  • Check out existing issues for the list of things we're working on.
  • Submit your ideas for features as an issue.
  • Do that open source thing where you fork, feature branch, and pull request.


easily use vagrant for day-to-day development on your projects







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