Things I Love About Bundler

So I’ve been working with working with Rails 3 and bundler full time for a month and a half now and it’s going swimmingly.

Here are some things that bundler does that I think are awesome.

Gems from git repositories

We use custom forks of arel and savon in our project. Before bundler, managing this would have been a mix of submodules/braid/piston and custom gem files that could easily become a mess. With bundler we just throw this in our Gemfile and we’re done.

gem 'savon', :git => 'git://github.com/hoopla/savon.git'
gem 'arel',  :git => 'git@github.com:hoopla/arel.git'

Gems from the local file system

Much like loading from git, bundler also handles loading gems from a local path. This is great if you want to try out some ideas on a gem, but you’re not yet sure if gem is worth forking.

gem 'mygem', :path => '/path/to/my/gem'

What’s especially awesome is that bundler wires things up so that source modifications get picked up without any sort of repackaging or reinstalling. This beats the pants off of the change source > repackage gem > reinstall gem > test cycle that was so easy to fall into before bundler.

It actually works

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I’ve ever had a real Rails 2 project on which rake gems:install really worked. There were always a couple of gems (rspec) that you needed to install separately. bundle install on the other hand works pretty much every time.

Now of course it’s not all rainbows and unicorns. Bundler seems to take up some extra startup time beyond what I was used to on Rails 2. And I often wish there were a way to make it check git repositories for updates a little less aggressively. But for 0.9.22, I’m impressed. Hats off to carlhuda, indirect and any others that appear beyond page 3 of the commit log for all their hard work on it.

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