On a recent episode of the Giant Robots Smashing Into Other Giant Robots podcast, Ben Orenstein said that when you’re learning something new, you should write the blog post you wish you could have read. This is one of those blog posts.

At the recent RogueRails workshop, we were given a Vagrant/VirtualBox setup to work from. I wanted to use RubyMine with this configuration, but I wasn’t sure how to do it. In the end, I was able to get it working, but the laptop I was using didn’t have the horsepower to run both a VM and RubyMine at the same time so I didn’t use it for the workshop. Afterwards, I tried again on my more powerful desktop machine.

The VM we were using was set up to use RVM and to NFS mount the project directory as /vagrant on the VM.

Here’s what I did to get things working.

First, I followed the instructions in the RubyMine documentation to set up a remote SDK. I had to change the Ruby interpreter path to point at the Ruby we were using under RVM. To find out where that was, I used vagrant ssh -c "which ruby".

Once I did this, RubyMine attempted to load the list of Rake tasks and Rails generators, but failed in both cases because it couldn’t find my Gemfile. It was looking in the path from my local computer, not the path in the VM.

I then found this video from JetBrains which gives the same information as the documentation, but also talks about configuring the VM for “Deployment”. That was an important step. I added a new Deployment for my VM using SFTP as described in the video. I set the root path to / on the Connection tab, and configured a mapping from my local directory to /vagrant on the VM on the Mappings tab. Since our VM was NFS-mounting the project directory on /vagrant already, there is no actual deployment required, but this lets RubyMine know where to find things in the VM.

I then tried to bundle install using RubyMine, but that failed because RubyMine attempts to run Bundler using my local machine’s path, not the remote machine’s path. This is a known bug in RubyMine Apparently, it’s fixed in the EAP versions of RubyMine 6, but I haven’t tried that yet. I could run bundle install on the VM manually, but RubyMine doesn’t make use of the results for some reason. I believe that this is because it doesn’t yet support RVM on remote machines, but I’m not sure about that, because I have a similar problem on my local machine.

To work around the bug, I created directories on the VM to match the path on my local machine with a symbolic link to /vagrant:

Create Directories
# On the VM
sudo mkdir -p /Users/randy/projects
sudo chown -R vagrant:vagrant /Users/randy/projects
cd /Users/randy/projects
ln -s /vagrant rogue_rails

This workaround works on OS/X and Linux, but I’m not sure how well it would work on Windows because of drive letters. My guess is that it would be possible to create a path on the VM that looks like a full Windows path including the drive letter and it would work, but I haven’t tried that.

I tried running bundle install from within RubyMine again. It got further, but failed with a “Permission denied” error. It was trying to write into the RVM gems directory. To fix this, I sshed into the VM and ran:

Fix Permissions
cd /usr/local/rvm/rubies/ruby-2.0.0-p247/lib/ruby/gems
sudo chgrp -R rvm 2.0.0

With that done, I was able to successfully bundle install from RubyMine. I was then able to develop using RubyMine like I normally do.

If this were a real project, I’d likely build these extra manual steps into the Vagrant/VirtualBox setup for the project rather than having to do them manually every time.

I’m actually pleasantly surprised that RubyMine supports this workflow as well as it does. There are some kinks to work out, but it sounds like they’re being fixed in the next version of RubyMine. If there’s a way to improve on what I’ve done here, I’d love to hear about it.