Garbled

Never Type Bundle Exec Again

Sometimes people complain about having to type bundle exec before every freakin’ command in a Ruby project. Honestly, I think the benefits Bundler gives you outweigh that downside by a huge margin. However, there is good news: You can use this one weird trick to never type bundle exec again.

OK. It’s actually an option of two weird tricks. And then a bonus trick. This joke is ruined.

Somewhat Involved, Works Everywhere

If you’ve got Ruby installed, you can do this trick. It’s a little hacky and comes with some downsides.

First up, make ~/.bundle/config look like this business:

~/.bundle/config
1
2
---
BUNDLE_BIN: bin

This will tell bundle install to always run as if you passed the --binstubs=bin option. Now, when you bundle up a project, it’ll drop wrapper scripts into the bin directory of your project that ensure the correct Bundler environment is set up before running their normal stuff.

As a courtesy to everyone you share a project with, when you do something like this which will litter your project up with files to do with your personal set up, you should make sure you don’t commit them to anything. So go to your global git ignore file and make sure it includes this:

~/.gitignore
1
bin

Here’s downside number one: You will probably have to override this for specific projects. For instance, gems often ship with a bin directory with files to do with the gem. You’ll want to make sure those aren’t ignored. If you explicitly git add them, they should be tracked by git thereafter, but you have to go out of your way. In particular, a Rails project contains wrappers for rails, rake and bundle in the bin directory and those should be committed to the repo… and not over-written by your bundle install binstubs. So take care, there.

At this point, you could stop, except you’d have to type bin/ in front of every command, instead of bundle exec. Sure, it’s shorter, but still annoying. The next thing to do might be to prepend ./bin to your $PATH so that your command line looks there for commands first. Downside number two is that there are some negative security implications to this, so I for sure don’t recommend it for servers, but I’ll leave it up to you whether you do it on your personal dev machine.

Less Involved, Requires rbenv

“But, Ben,” you say, “I want to be just like you so I use rbenv.” Well, you know, that’s flattering and I have to say you make some good life decisions, friend. Let me tell you about some nice tools.

If you use rbenv (and I like it so far), then you can take advantage of it’s plug-in system. Probably you’re already using ruby-build as a plug-in to install Rubies. I have two more for you: rbenv-gem-rehash and rbenv-binstubs.

You can read more in the READMEs of those projects, but in brief, you install them to your ~/.rbenv/plugins/ directory, then make your ~/.bundle/config look like this business:

~/.bundle/config
1
2
---
BUNDLE_BIN: .bundle/bin

Undo any steps you may have taken above (like ignoring bin) and shit should be taken care of for you. Now you won’t have to rbenv rehash or bundle exec! Rockin’.

Note: The .bundle directory of a project that uses Bundler should already be ignored in git, so tossing your binstubs in there should protect you against barfing them into a repo unintentionally. Rbenv-binstubs handles making sure they’re in your path for you.

Bonus Trick: alias be

I kinda lied to you. I’m sorry. You may still have to type bundle exec on occasion, even with nifty rbenv-related goodness. Things that aren’t gem commands don’t get binstubs from Bundler: notably, the gem command. For me, this most commonly comes up when I want to see what the gem list is that Bundler’s resolving.

Doing gem list will show you all gems installed for the active Ruby. No help. So you can do bundle exec gem list and Bundler will do it’s path-related mojo and then execute gem list for you. Nice, but typey. So the bonus trick is to add this line to your .bashrc (or .bashprofile or whatever madness your system might use):

~/.bashrc
1
alias be='bundle exec'

Now you can just be gem list, which sounds sort of like an existential confusion to me, but involves less typing, so… win!

Final Caveat To All This

One last thing that’s important to remember with all this: whenever you do this kind of optimization of your local system, whether it’s installing vim plug-ins or putting set -o vi in your .bashrc or whatever, you have to keep in mind that it’s not portable. When you shell into your alpha server to tail some logs or debug something, you won’t have this stuff. So while you may never type bundle exec again locally, you should remember that it’s still there in the background, and remember that on machines you didn’t set up, you’ll still need to type it.