ABET Project for EAS Comm Office

We were approached by the E&AS Communications Office to provide them with a platform for them to complete their ABET project (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology).

Specifically, they wanted a web platform that:
  • is stable.
  • is secure.
  • has Ruby on Rails 3.

Technical details

Getting Ruby on Rails with Apache working is relatively easy. However, this won't get you publicly accessible pages. For that, Passenger needs to be installed. This is where the real fun begins...

Using openSUSE Studio, I've created install images with most of the software needed:

Studio installs any dependent packages as necessary.


In the case more detailed info is needed, you should be able to find it here at the modrails site.

When the system is booted the first time, you'll need to build the actual passenger module for Apache to use:

This is a script that came with the passenger Ruby gem to check for needed executables that compile and install the passenger Apache module. (This is a required step unless you'd like to install Passenger by hand, which will be much more time-consuming.)

When done, you should see:

The Apache 2 module was successfully installed.

Please edit your Apache configuration file, and add these lines:

   LoadModule passenger_module /usr/lib/ruby/gems/1.8/gems/passenger-3.0.0/ext/apache2/mod_passenger.so
   PassengerRoot /usr/lib/ruby/gems/1.8/gems/passenger-3.0.0
   PassengerRuby /usr/bin/ruby

After you restart Apache, you are ready to deploy any number of Ruby on Rails
applications on Apache, without any further Ruby on Rails-specific

Press ENTER to continue.

Deploying a Ruby on Rails application: an example

Suppose you have a Rails application in /somewhere. Add a virtual host to your
Apache configuration file and set its DocumentRoot to /somewhere/public:

   <VirtualHost *:80>
      ServerName www.yourhost.com
      DocumentRoot /somewhere/public    # <-- be sure to point to 'public'!
      <Directory /somewhere/public>
         AllowOverride all              # <-- relax Apache security settings
         Options -MultiViews            # <-- MultiViews must be turned off

And that's it!

In /etc/apache2/conf.d/mod_passenger.conf, insert the block of text above starting with LoadModule.

Next, create the developer's desired namespace for deployment under DocumentRoot (normally /srv/www/htdocs). For this project, it is:

Then, in the VirtualHost directive they are exposed as:
<VirtualHost *:80>
  ServerName www.somename.com
  DocumentRoot /srv/www/htdocs/staging/current/public
  RailsEnv Staging
  RailsBaseURI /
  <Directory /srv/www/htdocs/staging/current/public>
    AllowOverride all
    Options -MultiViews

On the production system, replace "staging" with "production".

If the developer is using the "Capistrano" Ruby gem, as in the case of this project, you'll need to create an SSH key for use with it, as well as give that user write access to the DocumentRoot mentioned above. ASSIGN THIS SSH KEY A PASSPHRASE!! Password/Passphrase-less SSH keys are evil evil evil.

NOTE: You may also want to chmod and chown the ~/.ssh directory and files to prevent the user from overwriting them to create passphrase-less SSH keys.

Of course, the SSH key should be the same on both machines, development and production.

-- DavidLeBlanc - 2019-10-04
Topic revision: r1 - 2019-10-04, DavidLeBlanc
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