Benjamin Curtis

Speculations on Web Development

Rails Plugin Directory Revamp

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A lot has happened to the world of Ruby on Rails since the Rails plugin directory first launched back in 2005, and I have finally caught up. :) Of course I’ve been making changes all along the way, but today I’m launching a rewrite that makes the plugin directory current on all the latest and greatest.

Back when the site first launched, the state of the art Rails deployment was lighttpd with fastcgi. Ah, those were the days. :) Since then I’ve moved to lighttpd with mongrel, then nginx with mongrel, and now it’s running Apache with Passenger. For search, the best option back then was ferret, and let me tell you, I’ve gotten more than a few exception emails from ferret. But now the site is using sphinx for search, which I’ve been using in other apps for quite a while. Of course, some things don’t change. Even though I’m updating the UI, it’s still a freely available template, since I haven’t gotten much better at web design in the past 4 years. :)

The biggest change for me is due to something that didn’t exist in 2005: GitHub. Now that just about every plugin is hosted there, I wanted to make it super easy to get plugins listed on GitHub into the plugin directory, so now there’s a button you can use when creating a plugin that will take your GitHub url and suck in as much data as it can about your plugin, so you don’t have to do as much work to add it to the directory. I even have a bookmarklet you can use to publish your plugin while you’re looking at the GitHub page for your plugin: Publish plugin. Just drag that to your bookmarks bar, click it when you are looking at the GitHub page for any plugin, and a new window will pop up with the plugin information pre-filled for you. Thanks to the GitHub guys for their great API that makes that easy!

So enjoy the new Rails plugin directory – with extra-fresh Rails goodness and over 1,300 plugins in the database.