[Rubyinstaller-devel] Additional FAQ questions for review

Jon jon.forums at gmail.com
Thu Jul 2 09:51:34 EDT 2009


I believe we need to add the following to http://wiki.github.com/oneclick/rubyinstaller/faq in order to bring people up to speed on the goals of the project.

Some of these answers are part of existing Q's, but I think we need something more direct.  

I'll update the FAQ appropriately based upon feedback.

Jon




General FAQs
-------------
Q: What are the goals of this project and why does it exist?

A: The overall goal of the One-Click Ruby Installer project is to provide developers working on Windows systems a quick and easy way to begin developing with Ruby using an MRI-based (Matz' Ruby Implementation) environment while enabling enhancements through Ruby's standard RubyGems packaging system.

Specifically, this project has the following goals:

1) Provide a easy to use Windows installer for quickly and painlessly installing a fully functioning baseline MRI Ruby environment on Windows platforms.

2) Provide an optional development kit for those interested in building mswin32-compatible Ruby extensions natively on Windows platforms using the MinGW toolchain.

3) Provide a build environment via this project and complementary projects like rake-compiler http://github.com/luislavena/rake-compiler/tree/master to help developers easily build Ruby and Ruby C extensions from source code. 

4) Add value to the growing community of Windows-based Ruby developers by providing a place that summarizes the hard won lessons and issues with building Ruby and Ruby C extensions natively on Windows.




Development and Contributing FAQs
---------------------------------

Q: I understand the project goals, but why can't I simply download the latest MRI binary distribution from ftp://ftp.ruby-lang.org/pub/ruby/binaries/mswin32/ and start developing?

A: While this is a perfectly reasonable way to get started with Ruby on a Windows platform, we believe that the extra steps you'll need to take in order to get a fully functioning baseline Ruby installation will slow you down from quickly starting to develop with Ruby.

We believe the One-Click Installer integrates just the right amount of functionality to quickly get you on the path to enjoying Ruby without distracting you with missing dependencies.

Some of the things to consider when deciding to whether to use the MRI binary distribution:

1) Missing DLLs such as zlib, readline, openssl.... [PLEASE ADD TO THIS LIST] required for a fully functioning baseline system.  Do you really want to take the time to search for and/or build the required DLLs so that "irb" and "gem" don't pop up error dialog?

2) ???

3) ???




Q: Now that Microsoft is providing its free Visual C++ Express editions and including build tools such as cl, link, nmake, etc as part of the Windows SDK (as of mid-2009), why can't I just download the MRI binary and Visual C++ Express and start developing?  Why would I want a MinGW-based implementation?


[THIS ONE NEEDS A *LOT* OF LOVE FROM THE TECHNICAL PERSPECTIVE, BUT HERE'S A GO AT ONE POTENTIAL ANSWER...OR MAYBE IT'S THE INTRO PART OF THE ANSWER TO BE FOLLOWED BY *SPECIFIC* BENEFITS...I PARTICULARLY DON'T THINK WE WANT TO TURN THIS INTO A GCC vs. MICROSOFT TOOLCHAIN FLAME BAIT]


A: This also is a perfectly reasonable option if you feel more productive developing with the Microsoft tools you've mentioned.  However, many people are also very comfortable using the GCC toolchain so a MinGW-based implementation and supporting tools enable them to be productive without learning the peculiarities of the Microsoft provided tools.

In addition, many binary RubyGems developers do not build their gems on Windows systems.  As they usually choose to cross compile binary Windows gems from their Linux or OSX development systems, a MinGW-based Ruby implementation makes a lot of sense to those developers who want the widest possible access to RubyGems without potentially having to rebuild the gem from source, tuning the build setup to the Microsoft tools, just to use a particular gem.

[A LITTLE HELP HERE..........]


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