Rails Apps Composer version 1.5.0

I’ve released version 1.5.0 of the Rails Apps Composer gem. It’s a gem you can use to generate a Rails starter app. Makes it easy to create and maintain a starter app from recipes that integrate commonly used gems.

This release includes a major new feature contributed by Bryan Stearns.

For the first time, you can create a “defaults” file so every time you generate an app, you can use the same set of recipes and preferences. Bryan Stearns really gave the feature a lot of thought, so it is very flexible. I’ve expanded the README to explain all that you can do with the Rails Apps Composer gem.

It’s been exactly a year since I saw that the popular Rails Wizard gem was no longer maintained and forked the code to create the Rails Apps Composer gem. In the last year, dozens of developers have contributed features, recipes, and patches. Over 400 people are watching the project on GitHub. I’ve been focused on using the gem to maintain the example apps for the RailsApps project and sometimes I forget that a lot of other people are using the gem, too. But I try to keep up with the stream of pull requests and issues. I initially hesitated to fork the Rails Wizard gem but now I feel it was worthwhile.

In the last month, there’s been renewed interest in the idea of generating starter apps for Rails. Probably because Rails continues to get more complicated and a gem like Rails Apps Composer helps to reduce the burden of integrating various popular gems into a Rails app. I’m aware of a similar project from Daniel Davey: the app_drone gem which is the basis of the drone.bz website. And last month, Dr. Nic Williams of EngineYard forked the Rails Wizard gem to create his App Scrolls gem. I’ve made a list of Rails application template projects if you’re interested. I’d love to see a united effort in this area to avoid duplication of effort. I’m not sure if that will be possible, given a divergent codebase, but I’d like to explore it.