I have been wanting to get a demo version of my app hosted for quite some time. It is very intimidating. Originally, I tried GoDaddy - didn’t work and absolutely no assistance (as posted in a different thread). Then, I was going to use DreamHost. Never quite got around to that. Now, after this thread, I thought I would give RailsMachine a shot. My primary OS is Windows. I’ll share my experience with others when I’m all completed. I did go into the campfire for RailsMachine and discuss it briefly with one of the moderators and hopefully what I’m trying to do is possible. They certainly seem willing to help.
That said, I probably do have some hurdles in front of me. Capistrano wants SSH - so I have downloaded PuTTY (SSH client for Windows) - not sure if it will work or not, but we will see.
SVN on Windows is no problem at all. Be aware, Capistrano doesn’t allow access to your repository via file:/// which is how I was accessing my repository. Also note that I had never used SVN before - but it is very well documented and was easy to get setup. Don’t like the command line? TortoiseSVN and RapidSVN may be good things to download. TortoiseSVN has shell integration and makes SVN pretty seamless to use with windows explorer.
I had been using Webrick to serve up my app because (a) it is easy and (b) it mostly met our needs for low number of internal trusted users. Seeing how RailsMachine uses Mongrel, I thought it would be wise of me to set it up in my environment. It is EXTREMELY easy for anyone interested who hasn’t done so yet. Can’t figure out yet if Mongrel Cluster works on Win32 or not, but if you are using Webrick then you may as well use Mongrel because it only takes a few minutes to get setup. You download two gems, install the service and start it…DONE! Nice thing about Mongrel is that it does run as a service. Of course, for more advanced setups it looks like Apache (or other web server) gets involved and for those of us who have pure MS backgrounds this is yet another “learning curve” to face.
I have read (quickly) the docs on Capistrano. Looks great but I worry about how well (if at all) it is going to work on Win32. Mostly, the SSH requirement is my concern and if it will accept the use of Putty or not.
Everyone knows that deployment isn’t easy and for a Microsoft person migrating to a non-microsoft environment it is even harder if you don’t have a solid background with all these various applications. Will my files completely break when I migrate because of the format difference? Dunno! Will I get this task done without having to use an intermediary Linux machine? Dunno! Will my final setup be secure or completely open? Dunno! Will I have any hair left when I finally get my app hosted somewhere? Dunno! When I do know, I’ll post something to the group. If anyone else has already deployed like this then I ask you to save me some time and share your experience!
Finally, Rails is extremely easy, but all the tools around it are very intimidating and have a tendency to come at you “all at once”. Perhaps the linux guru’s and open source developers take it for granted but for those of us without the linux and general open source background it is daunting. It’s especially humbling for a guy that could do just about anything in a pure MS environment to realize he’s just a neophyte in the linux world. Fortunately, the community is very helpful and willing to help - and I greatly appreciate that.