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Git/Github Roundup: Ruby Books, Gems, Gitjour

by Werner Schuster on Jun 19, 2008 |
Github seems to be a big reason for the increasing popularity of git as SCM tool in the Ruby space, with many Ruby projects switching to using git. Github's makes it easy to watch the progress of a project (get notifications about changes) and to collaborate. Now a couple of book projects have started using Github. The books are
One of Github's features is the Ruby Gems support, which is a simple as providing a .gemspec file (and checking the "Ruby Gem" box in the Github configuration). With this, Github automatically builds the Gem when the .gemspec file is pushed. The Gem is then available by using the package source "http://gems.github.com". Since one of Github's distinguishing features is easy forking of projects, this approach could cause name clashes if different versions published a Gem. The solution to this is that the Gem name is prefixed with the username.

One benefit of git is that it pulls the full repository from a server instead of just a snapshot of the current HEAD. The repository contains the full history of the file, ie. all of the commits and versions of the past. Recently, Evan Phoenix, Chad Fowler, and Rich Kilmer used this to build gitjour, a tool that makes it easier to share git repositories on local networks. The "jour" part of the name refers to the Bonjour, Apple's name for their implementation of the Zeroconf protocol. The basic idea behind these technologies is to use multicast in local networks to advertise and consume services. As the name Zeroconf implies, it allows to add these services without having to manually find them or the host and port that offers them.

The best source to get started is Dr. Nic's tutorial to gitjour and related tools. As the article shows, with gitjour, offering a git repository is as simple as calling gitjour serve in the repository directory. On the other side, a gitjour list lists the repositories that are available on the network and gitjour clone foo clones the repository named 'foo'. For detailed installation information and more see Dr. Nic's article.

Working with Ruby and Bonjour seems to be popular, as Dr. Nic's article continues showing further tools based on the same idea, like pastejour which allows to quickly share a snippet of code or gemjour for sharing gems, and many more. The projects use the dnssd Ruby gem.

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