Console for Rack based ruby web apps
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racksh (Rack::Shell) is a console for Rack based ruby web applications.

It's like script/console in Rails or merb -i in Merb, but for any app built on Rack. You can use it to load application environment for Rails, Merb, Sinatra, Camping, Ramaze or your own framework provided there is file in app's root directory.

It's purpose is to allow developer to introspect his application and/or make some initial setup. You can for example run DataMapper.auto_migrate! or make a request to /users/666 and check response details. It's mainly aimed at apps that don't have console-like component (ie. app built with Sinatra) but all frameworks can benefit from interactive Rack stack and request introspection.

How it works?

It loads whole application environment like Rack web server, but instead of running the app it starts irb session. Additionally it exposes $rack variable which allows you to make simulated HTTP requests to your app.


gem install racksh


Starting racksh

To start racksh session run following inside rack application directory (containing file):

% racksh
Rack::Shell v0.9.9 started in development environment.

Specifying location of

% CONFIG_RU=~/projects/foobar/ racksh

Executing ruby code inside application environment and printing results:

% racksh Order.all
% racksh "Order.first :created_at =>"

Specifying Rack environment (default is development):

% RACK_ENV=production racksh
Rack::Shell v0.9.9 started in production environment.

Making simulated HTTP requests to your app

% racksh
Rack::Shell v0.9.9 started in development environment.
>> $rack.get "/"
=> #<Rack::MockResponse:0xb68fa7bc @body="<html>...", @headers={"Content-Type"=>"text/html", "Content-Length"=>"1812"}, @status=200, ...

$rack variable contains following methods (thanks to rack-test gem):

# make GET request
$rack.get uri, params, env

# make POST request
$ uri, params, env

# make PUT request
$rack.put uri, params, env

# make DELETE request
$rack.delete uri, params, env

# make HEAD request
$rack.head uri, params, env

# make custom request
$rack.request uri, params, env

# set HTTP header
$rack.header name, value

# set credentials for Basic Authorization
$rack.basic_authorize username, password

# set credentials for Digest Authorization
$rack.digest_authorize username, password

# follow redirect from previous request

# last request object

# last response object

# access your Rack app

# name of environment

Check test.rb from brynary's rack-test for implementation of above methods.


$rack.get "/", {}, { 'REMOTE_ADDR' => '' }
$rack.header "User-Agent", "Firefox"
$ "/users", :user => { :name => "Jola", :email => "jola@misi.ak" }

Configuration files

Rack::Shell supports configuration file .rackshrc which is loaded from two places during startup: user's home dir and application directory (in this order). You can put any ruby code in it, but it's purpose is to setup your session, ie. setting headers which will be used for all $rack.get/post/... requests.

For example to set user agent to Firefox and re-migrate db if loaded environment is test put following in .rackshrc:

$rack.header "User-Agent", "Firefox"
DataMapper.auto_migrate! if $rack.env == "test"

You can also make requests:

$rack.put "/signin", :login => "jola", :password => "misiacz"

This will ensure you are always logged in when you start racksh.


If you've made some changes to your app and you want to reload it type:


It will reload (actually restart) whole Rack application in new process.

Loading racksh into existing irb session

If you already opened irb and you want racksh functionality just run following:

require 'racksh/irb'

It will initialize racksh and load rack app. From now on you can use $rack.

Bugs & feature requests

Please report bugs and/or feature requests on the github issue tracker for the project located here.