Installing ri documentation for rails-3.0.0… File not found: lib and rvm

First published on Fencore Ltd.’s Posterous page on October 13th, 2010

I’ll put the bottom line first: if you’ve tried installing Rails 3 and received an ‘Installing ri documentation for rails-3.0.0… File not found: lib’ error and ended up with no Rdocs, you need to install the rdoc gem first. If you do that, the problem goes way and the install will work perfectly.
I’d been working on a Rails application for some time and had been using it as a learning experience – trying all sorts of new ideas but the wheels fell off last week.
Rails 2.3.8 had been producing lots of deprecation warnings and seeing that 2.3.9 addressed some of those, I thought I’d upgrade. Easy enough – download the new gems (and incidentally clog up my gem repository even more) make a couple of trivial changes to the environment.rb file and try it out. No issues so far.
I needed to move the application to a Windows box and tried freezing the gems into the vendor directory and then copying it across, having installed MySQL and used the Windows Ruby Installer. No luck this time; it’s been a long while since I’ve run Rails on a Windows box but it seems an even less friendly environment than it used to. Apparently the Ruby installer is compiled using a different compiler nowadays and some gems haven’t changed along with it. I needed to install different versions of some gems.
Recognising the existence of rvm, which allows different versions of Ruby to run on the same computer (although you need to use ‘pik’ on a Windows computer), and also of the Bundler gem, which is integral to Rails 3 and allows for better management of gems, I decided to try these out.
Too many changes at once? Darn right. Hindsight is a wonderful thing…
If you follow the instructions carefully, rvm installs easily enough. You can install different versions of Ruby and install different gems for each Ruby version. (rvm calls these gemsets).
In fact, rvm goes further than this – it enables the creation of many gemsets under each Ruby version, allowing you to create gemsets for specific applications. When using a specific gemset, you also have access to a global gemset under that Ruby version. Neat!
Using a file called .rvmrc, you can set things up so that a default Ruby and gemset are chosen when you ‘cd’ to a particular directory.
rvm is an excellent utility and full marks must go to Wayne Seguin and his helpers for developing it. My only carp is about the web documentation, which I really do not like but this is open source right? Live with it or offer to help out!
I did have one huge issue, however. After I had got everything installed to my satisfaction (or so I thought), I tried installing Rails 3.
Now, according to the Rails 3 web site, http://rubyonrails.org/download, you need Ruby, Rubygems and then you can install Rails. If you do and you do not have the rdoc gem installed (which will happen if you use rvm), you will get the error described. Rails will install and work, but you won’t have the documentation locally available. So make sure you have the rdoc gem installed first. (rdoc is also part of Ruby’s standard lib and Rubygems is supposed to install it too – so I guess someone’s not testing enough!)
I have set things up so that the following are available in the global gemset under Ruby-1.8.7; bundler, rake, rdoc, rdoc-data, and syntax. Rake is provided by the rvm setup; the rvm documentation had also stated that rdocs would be installed by default but this wasn’t the case and the rvm web site has had been amended to reflect that.
In my opinion, the Rails site should state that the rdoc gem needs to be installed before Rails (or better yet, make it transparent by including it in the Rails install itself). I’ve tried raisng the issue but so far the response has been that rdoc is not a Rails dependency…

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