Editor and Environment Setup for Ruby

About fifteen years ago, I read “Why’s (Poignant) Guide to Ruby”, a bizarre introduction to Ruby which featured cartoon foxes. I immediately identified with its commingling of art and code, and its existence made Ruby feel organic and approachable in a way that Java or .NET—with their dry, glossy tomes—did not. Consequently, the first version of smockle.com was built on Rails.

Whither Rails

JavaScript had neither comic foxes nor glossy books. At that time, to a developer not involved in its standardization, it appeared dormant or worse: After ECMAScript 3 was released in 1999, another version of the spec was not published until 2009’s ECMAScript 5. Although a regular release cadence would not be established until six years later (with ES2015), 2009 marked an important end to decade-long breaks in development. The first version of Node.js appeared in 2009. The first version of TypeScript was published in 2012. And in 2013, the widely-used 0.10.x version of Node.js was released.

Rails allows you to build backend APIs and frontend UI with Ruby; these developments made it possible to do the same with JavaScript, which could be used for client-side interactions to boot. So in the intervening years, JavaScript (and later TypeScript) subsumed the place Ruby had occupied in my toolbelt.

Environment Setup

I recently needed to set up a Ruby development environment. I’m sure folks who regularly write Ruby know better ways to do this. I’m not writing prescriptive instructions, but rather documenting my personal setup so I can remember it. Here’s what I did:

First, I installed Ruby 2.6.6 via rbenv1:

$ rbenv install 2.6.6
$ rbenv global 2.6.6

Then, I added rbenv’s shims to PATH, etc. by adding this line to my ~/.zprofile:

eval "$(rbenv init -)"

I restarted Terminal.app to pick up the new configuration, then globally-installed gems:

$ gem install rubocop
$ gem install solargraph

I installed these Visual Studio Code2 extensions:

Then, I configured the Visual Studio Code extensions:

{
  "ruby.format": "rubocop",
  "ruby.intellisense": false,
  "ruby.useLanguageServer": true,
}

Finally, I updated Solargraph’s documentation via the Visual Studio Code Command Palette (⌘⇧P):


  1. I already had rbenv installed, but it’s also available from Homebrew. ↩︎

  2. I prefer Nova’s macOS HIG-friendly UI, but Nova doesn’t support auto-fixing TypeScript or Ruby yet, so I’m using Visual Studio Code. ↩︎