Getting into webapps and Paas: Nitrous.io

After my nightmare with installing Ruby on Rails on Windows, I ended up on Heroku. This was my first experience with PaaS, so I was a bit foggy on the details about how everything worked.

I poked around on Heroku a bit, but couldn’t really understand what was going on, even after reading their detailed Getting Started tutorial, so I decided to check out the recommendation of the Web Apps MOOC lecturer, Nitrous.io.

I found getting started on Nitrous to be a much easier experience. Following their steps, I set up a Ruby box, and within 10 minutes I was starting my first assignment from the MOOC. I also successfully linked that box with my BitBucket account so I could submit the assignments.

As I only have a free account, most of my credits were used up on the Ruby box. The box also shuts down after a period of inactivity, so I have to start it up again when I log in. This was also before they changed their structure, so I’m still on Nitrous Lite, while new users are redirected to Nitrous Pro.

Using Nitrous.io gave me a kickstart to learning how to use Git properly, and how to code in the cloud. I learnt a lot about these concepts during the webapps MOOC, and will be sharing some more about it soon.

I also ended up returning to Heroku (I had better luck with the Python tut), as well as dabbling with Google App Engine, but I will get into that a bit later.

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Installing Ruby on Rails on Windows

What a nightmare. I didn’t quite believe the lecturer’s notes on the Web Apps MOOC when he said that it may be a bit of pain installing Rails on Windows, and that we should follow this other guy’s tut on how to do it.

I think the problem with the installation process (at least for me) is that everything appears to be working fine, until it isn’t fine. I got as far as getting Ruby installed, Rails and other gems loaded up. The first mistake I made was not completing the installation process (I was using my VM). I then decided it’s probably not a good idea to mess up my pristine VM, especially if Rails was going to mess up my Python environment, so I decided to install it on my tablet instead.

This install went smoother, until I attempted to create a test app. While trying to install the required gems for the app, it broke in a very specific way. After following the steps in the highest rated answer on that page, I tackled my next error.

Once it was evident that the setup clearly wasn’t working, I went nuclear and did a clean uninstall of RoR, and started again. As expected, the installation failed again, in the same manner.

At this point I gave up and jumped to the lecturer’s 3rd suggestion: Using Nitrous.io. To be continued!