Installing a Rails stack on Mac OS X with MacPorts

I have a clean install of OS X on which I need to install Rails. I’ve done this maybe 3 or 4 times in the past year with minor variations each time which inevitably come back to bite me later. This post is an effort to document and standardize all the details to get a Rails stack going with MacPorts.

Installing Xcode Tools

You need the latest version of Xcode tools to be able to compile all the packages necessary for Ruby and Rails. They’re a free download from Apple.

Installing MacPorts

First thing’s first: Install MacPorts! Be sure to follow the directions closely. Especially the bit about setting your PATH appropriately. The /opt paths must be before your standard path so when you type ruby, you use the ruby interpreter from MacPorts rather than the old one that came with OS X.

Installing Rails Prerequisites with MacPorts

$ sudo port install mysql5 +server
$ sudo port install ruby
$ sudo port install rb-rubygems
$ sudo port install rb-mysql
$ sudo port install rb-termios
$ sudo port install subversion +tools

Configure MySQL

First, add /opt/local/lib/mysql5/bin/ to your PATH as you did in the instructions to install MacPorts.

$ sudo mysql_install_db5 --user=mysql

Install Gems

$ sudo gem install -y rake
$ sudo gem install -y rails
$ sudo gem install -y capistrano
$ sudo gem install -y mongrel
$ sudo gem install -y mongrel_cluster
$ sudo gem install -y piston

Install Optional Packages

The above ports and gems are the minimum you’ll need to get rails running successfully. The ones below, while not required, are often useful when developing rails apps.

Other Databases

Try postgres or sqlite3 for some database variety (port install postgresql82-server && port install rb-postgres or port install rb-sqlite3, respectively).



Brandon Dimcheff
Brandon Dimcheff
Chief Architect

Brandon Dimcheff is a software engineer born and raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He uses go for his day job, has fallen in love with Kubernetes, is an aspiring functional programming language nerd, and is an advocate of open source.