Chapter 19. Automating Tasks with Rake
Even when your software is written, tested, and packaged, you’re still not done. You’ve got to start working on the next version, and the next… Every release you do, in some cases every change you make to your code, will send you running through a maze of repetitive tasks that have nothing to do with programming.
Fortunately, there’s a way to automate these tasks, and the best part is that you can do it by writing more Ruby code. The answer is Rake.
Rake is a build language, Ruby’s answer to Unix
make and Java’s Ant. It lets you define
tasks: named code bocks that carry out specific
actions, like building a gem or running a set of unit tests. Invoke Rake,
and your predefined tasks will happily do the work you once did: compiling
C extensions, splicing files together, running unit tests, or packaging a
new release of your software. If you can define it, Rake can run
Rake is available as the
gem; if you’ve installed Rails, you already have it. Unlike most gems, it
doesn’t just install libraries: it installs a command-line program called
rake, which contains the logic for
actually performing Rake tasks. For ease of use, you may need to add to
your PATH environment variable the directory containing the
rake script: something like
That way you can just run
rake from the
A Rakefile is just a Ruby source file that has access to some
task, file, directory, and a few others. ...