Developing a successful Ruby on Rails project is closely connected with all sorts of environments: development, testing, staging and production. But how can I create them? Check our guide for Ruby on Rails environments.

Why do I need a few environments?

If you are new to coding routine, the main question you might have is “Why at all do I need a few environments?”

The answer is pretty easy: it is connected with different stages of software development:

  1. Actual Development of the Product
  2. Testing the Product
  3. Showing it in Live to Users

These are the main stages any software development comes through. Missing any of those will make the product impossible, useless or will put it at a great risk.

Creators of Ruby on Rails shared this idea, so they decided to provide you with 3 environments for that by default. This way from the very beginning you will have the following 3 environments: development, testing and production. Conducting activities in these 3 environments separately is important, since it lets you troubleshoot the bugs easier and not blush in front of your customers for some reckless commits.
“OK, so I have 3 environments by default. But what did you say something about staging environment?” Yes, we did. Staging environment is required for cases when you have already gone live and don’t want to take risks of delivering everything to live right away. It lets you do all SMOKE and MAT tests with no rush and simply be sure that the new features you deliver wouldn’t break the old code.
Unfortunately, you would have to roll up your sleeves to get yourself a staging environment (or as many additional environments, as you need). Luckily, we have prepared an easy instruction for you.

How to create a new environment

To create a new environment you will need the following things:

  1. config/environments/YOUR_ENVIRONMENT.rb file
  2. database configuration entry in config/database.yml (of course, if you use database)
  3. secret key base entry in config/secrets.yml (if you work wth Rails 4.1+)

Let’s start with new environment file:


$ cat config/environments/staging.rb
# Just use the production settings
require File.expand_path(‘../production.rb’, __FILE__)

Rails.application.configure do
# Here override any defaults
config.serve_static_files = true

By the way, there’s a shorter way to do this – simply copy production.rb.
Now let’s add your database to config/database.yml.

# Production settings for local development and profiling
database: db_profile

For a new secret key base in config/secrets.yml use Rake command:

[ruby]$ rake secret

secret_key_base: 40bf0f5019e785b6b44a29f1680febbcb06db8dd64f835986c6686bebddf304b67f8a9a6dffcc862f2586edc60921d0b736e3e0b1833eea2431767d2a0d1f9cc

# Add this new entry with the generated key base
secret_key_base: c975f1417b60097ecfc17e308f0d8fc502f1e2534b14ef41527d703923db9e875ad4eeb779a74c732bb6c5747c3b56d84fe7f38554089522a2f557c587766fcc

Make sure you have different initializers configured for different environments. You might use rack-mini-profiler for that:

[ruby]$ cat config/initializers/rack_profiler.rb
if Rails.env.development? || Rails.env.staging?
require ‘rack-mini-profiler’

# Initialization is skipped so trigger it

# Needed for staging env
Rack::MiniProfiler.config.pre_authorize_cb = lambda { |env| true }
Rack::MiniProfiler.config.authorization_mode = :allowall

Now you have a new shiny environment at your disposal. Go prepend your commands with a new RAILS_ENV values:

[ruby]$ RAILS_ENV=staging rake db:create [/ruby]

As you see, this wasn’t that difficult. Our developers do similar thing for almost any project we have. And do you use staging environments? Share with us in the comments!

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Daria Stolyar is a Marketing Manager at Rubyroid Labs. You can follow her at Linkedin.

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