Jonathan's Pancheria

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Goaded on by requests for screenshots of Tracks running on my n810, I decided to instead document to the best of my recollection what I did to get Tracks and Instiki running on my n810.

Table of Contents

1. Preface: Why?

2. Screenshots

3. Prerequisites

4. Tracks and Instiki

5. Wrapping Up

DISCLAIMER: I am going to show you how to do some things that can probably badly mess up your device if you get them wrong, and maybe even if you follow these instructions to the letter. I do not promise that these instructions are even complete or accurate anymore; I am nearly positive the instructions below are incomplete regarding what to install. You follow these instructions at your OWN RISK. This worked for me, it may or may not work for you, with or without additional steps. I did this about 3 months ago and was not taking good notes because I figured over time apt packages would catch up and this would not be necessary to repeat. If you follow and you get warnings you need to install additional stuff to continue, you should probably assume that is correct.

Preface: Why?

So one of the main reasons I actually got a Nokia n810 internet table (Linux/gnome-based tablet) was because:

  • It had a keyboard
  • It ran Linux and was reasonably powerful enough to possibly run some interesting things
  • It might let me replace my horrible system of “engineering notebook” plus wiki on my personal laptop plus complete lack of organizational system for keeping track of tasks with a single device that could provide all of that in a small, portable package

To get this, however, I was going to have to be able to install 2 Rails apps that I liked:

  • Instiki, for wiki
  • Tracks, for GTD (Getting Things Done) task management

I pre-ordered my n810 directly from Nokia (with a very nice discount) before it was available, and received mine I think within the first week of its being generally available in the United States. So to preface this description of how I got things working, I did all this in late November, 2007. Some packages may have moved around, and there may be better ways to do things than what I had to do. But Chinook (OS2008) ported packages were fairly slim at that time.

I should also point out that I was not interested in developing Rails apps on this machine, just installing and using them. Once I got things to an acceptable level of “done” for me, I did not investigate some pecularities further. So some things that you will not have after this are:

  • The ruby gem system is not installed. I did get it installed, but could not get it to actually read the gem catalog, so I see no reason to describe how to install it. Could it be made to work? Don’t know and I don’t care for my purposes on this box. I have gem working lots of other places on different chip architectures, but the n810 was not a target I needed it working on at this time
  • I did absolutely no investigation on how to have Rails apps start when you boot up the n810. I have a shell script I use to start my apps, and anybody who wants to take that to the next level and get this autostarted, please document it and I will gladly use it. But my shell script works for me since I reboot the thing maybe once every 3 weeks
  • This does not get you the Rails gem installed anywhere in your site_ruby, nor ActiveRecord, nor anything else. Most packaged Rails apps seem to freeze their Rails install into railsapp/vendor anyway these days, so installing a pre-packaged app works just fine. So my instructions may not work for some Rails apps, and it certainly won’t work for you to start making your own new Rails app on your n810

Screenshots

So without further ado, as a tease, here are screenshots of Tracks running on my n810. As you can see by the lateness of many actions, I have been better about getting Tracks set up than in actually having it improve my personal organization!

"Home" screen in Tracks"
h4. The Tracks “Home” view. David Allen would be appalled!

Adding a next action
h4. Adding an action. Notice that the Ajax calendar works just fine.

Prerequisites

These are the steps to take to get the basics set up on your n810 to even put a Rails app like Tracks or Instiki on it.

Turn on Red Pill Mode

I am not sure this is strictly necessary, but I had it on while I was doing this,and I suspect it’s necessary. This is the first but not the last dangerous part of these instructions. Instructions on doing so, and what it does for you, are on the Maemo wiki here

Libsqlite3-0

libsqlite3-0 appears to already be installed, so there is nothing to do. But you might want to confirm in the Application manager that it is already installed.

Install Ruby and Ruby Sqlite3 Bindings

-I got the packages from http://maemo.rubyx.co.uk/ruby-maemo/ however the site appears to have been down for a while now.- The ruby packages I installed appear to now live at http://gplsystems.com/apt/dists/chinook/main/binary-armel/Packages (thank you friend and coworker who wishes to remain anonymous). The packages I installed, which I recall all coming from there, were:

  • libruby1.8
  • libruby1.8-dev (not sure it’s necessary, but I grabbed it)
  • ruby1.8 (1.8.6-p110-1)
  • ruby1.8-libxml (I don’t think it’s necessary, but I do a lot of stuff with XML)
  • ruby1.8-maemo (again, not sure it’s necessary)
  • ruby1.8-sdl (nearly positive I did not need this)
  • ruby1.8-sqlite3 – definitely required

I found and installed rubygems from somewhere, but I could never get it to do anything but hang trying to update catalog. Both Instiki and Tracks releases ship “complete” so there’s no gems needed, so I skipped this.

Add the Maemo Repository to Application Manager

Add the maemo stable repository at http://repository.maemo.org/. When you are done, the apt.sources line ends up looking like “deb http://repository.maemo.org/ chinook free non-free” for those of you that like to look at the raw apt package configuration files.

I also added the Maemo extras repository and maemo-hackers.org repository

Install p7Zip, gcc, make and some needed Libs

Since rubygems didn’t work for me, I decided to install mongrel from source. You need gcc, and I think make. You also need something to unpack tar/zip archives, and at the time the only maemo package I could find was p7zip. These are in the maemo repository/repositories you added earlier. I have

  • p7zip 4.42.maemo-1
  • make 3.80-9osso
  • gcc 3.4.4
  • libc6-dev if you don’t already have it

There may have been some other pieces needed too.

Download and Install Mongrel

Webrick runs on the n810, for values of run equal to a geriatric snail. You will not be happy with a Rails app running under webrick. Mongrel is, while not exactly instantaneous, at least responsive enough to run an AJAX-y Rails app.

Download the mongrel source tarball from http://mongrel.rubyforge.org/. 1.1.1 was the latest at the time but they are on 1.1.3 as of February 5, 2008. Untar to a directory (using p7zip). Then do ruby setup.rb which should configure, build, and install mongrel. You should now have /usr/bin/mongrel_rails.

Tracks and Instiki

Where to Install

You will be installing Tracks and Instiki from source tarballs or zipfiles. After you download them, you will need to unpack them somewhere, using p7zip. I put them on my removable media card, which is /media/mmc1 because I was concerned about the GPS/mapping software filling up the fixed 2GB memory card /media/mmc2. If you plan to swap out memory cards often that might be a bad decision for you, but I am happy with it.

Tracks
  • Download a Tracks tarball/zipfile. I used Tracks 1.043 which was the latest “release” drop on their site, but I am sure you could grab trunk out of the Tracks source repository and turn that into a tarball too
  • Untar/unzip the source archive and cd to the top directory of Tracks. In my case that was /media/mmc1/tracks-1.043. You may lay it down differently, but if so remember to alter your paths throughout the rest of these instructions appropriately.
  • cd into the tracks directory you just unpacked
  • Make sure that the database.yml in the config subdir is set up the way you like. I left mine using db/filename.db as it shipped
  • Now the moment of truth: start up Tracks. From the main directory you could do ruby script/server just to test (it might start up webrick instead of mongrel, for values of might equal to probably). If it starts up without error, point your web browser at your Tracks instance: http://localhost:3000/
  • Once you have it up and running, you can stop Tracks with ctrl-c
  • Now try mongrel. /usr/bin/ruby /usr/bin/mongrel_rails start -c /media/mmc1/tracks-1.043 -e production -a 127.0.0.1 -p 3000 is what I use in my environment. You might need to adjust the path after -c to match how you laid down Tracks. It should start up, and you should be able to point your web browser at it. If so, go ahead and stop Tracks by typing ctrl-c.

Congratulations, you’ve installed Tracks on your n810!

Instiki

  • Download Instiki 0.12.0 (or newer if it exists and you want it). I would avoid earlier versions of Instiki that use Madeleine for persistence. 0.12.0 uses sqlite3 for persistence, and that seems safer than using Madeleine on the n810
  • Untar the source archive and cd to the top directory of Tracks. In my case that was /media/mmc1/instiki-0.12.0. You may lay it down differently, but if so remember to alter your paths throughout the rest of these instructions appropriately.
  • cd into the instiki directory you just unpacked
  • Make sure that the database.yml in the config subdir is set up the way you like. I left mine using db/filename.db as it shipped
  • Now the moment of truth: start up Instiki. From the main directory you could do ruby script/server just to test (it might start up webrick instead of mongrel, for values of might equal to probably). If it starts up without error, point your web browser at your Instiki instance: http://localhost:2500/
  • Once you have it up and running, you can stop Tracks with ctrl-c
  • Now try mongrel. /usr/bin/ruby /usr/bin/mongrel_rails start -c /media/mmc1/instiki-0.12.0 -e production -a 127.0.0.1 -p 2500 is what I use in my environment. You might need to adjust the path after -c to match how you laid down Instiki. It should start up, and you should be able to point your web browser at it. If so, go ahead and stop Instiki by typing ctrl-c.

Congratulations, you have installed Instiki on your n810.

Wrapping Up

Now that you have Tracks and/or Instiki up and running, what next? I left my apps running on their default ports of 3000 and 2500, but you could run them on different ports if you chose. I saw no reason to do that, nor to find a webserver to proxy them to so they are off the “main” webserver. That’s just overhead the n810 really does not need.

Starting up Rails Apps

Once I was happy with my install, I made myself a little shell script to fire them both off. When I boot up, I start up an XTerm and fire off the script. Here are its contents (sorry for the iframe, it was easier):

Stopping Rails Apps

The easiest way I stop both my apps if I need to, like if I want to hook up the USB cable or otherwise want to make sure the Rails apps shut down cleanly, I just issue a killall ruby and that kills the mongrel processes given how I start them. Before you just do that, make sure you know what ruby processes are running on your n810 and that you’re ok to kill them all.

Note that it can take a good few seconds, from 15-20 up to maybe 30, for all the Rails apps to respond to the kill signal. Just be patient. I also highly recommend aliasing ps -ef | grep in the shell to pgrep because inputting the pipe symbol on an n810 is fairly cumbersome.

Published on 13/02/2008 at 05:28AM under . Tags , , , , , ,

I wanted a nice convenient way to have multiple Rails apps share my single postgresql database but keep all the apps’ tables/procs/views/other artifacts isolated from each other. I came up with the following solution, which I can’t claim is necessarily original, but I did not find documentation that laid out the solution all in one place. I currently have the typo blog you are reading this article on up using this solution.

The trick is to use multiple Postgresql schemas (part of Postgresql since 7.4) to separate each Rails app’s tables etc. into their own schema space Then, every time you want to load up a new Rails app, or really any postgresql-based application, you just create a new schema. You could in theory even put your development, testing, and production databases for a single Rails app into separate schemas in one database.

Documentation on Postgresql schemas, and more information about what the recipe below is doing with schema commands is here. Rails has had support for leveraging Postgresql schemas since version 0.11.0 as mentioned here.
h3. Steps to create a schema in a postgresql database and configure a Rails app to use the schema

1. Create the new schema in your database:
bq. CREATE SCHEMA myrailsapp\g

Replace myrailsapp with whatever name you want for your schema in the SQL above and everywhere else following.

2. If you are installing an existing Rails app that has a SQL script to generate the tables etc., then insert the following as the first line of the schema file, otherwise skip to step 4:
bq. SET search_path TO myrailsapp;

Postgresql uses the first schema in the schema path as the default location to look for tables/procs/triggers/etc if the name is unspecified (see this discussion discussion in the Postgresql docs for more details).

3. Execute the SQL script with the change from step 2. If you go into psql and issue the following commands, you should see the objects that your script created:


SET search_path TO myrailsapp\g

\d

4. Edit your database.yml file and add the following to the appropriate section(s):
bq. schema_search_path: myrailsapp

So your database.yml section for production would look like this if you wanted to use the myrailsapp schema in the mydbname database:


production:
  adapter: postgresql
  database: mydbname
  #whatever other postgresql config options you require
  schema_search_path: myrailsapp

That schema_search_path: statement in your database.yml file tells Rails to set the schema search path to look only in the myrailsapp schema for unqualified database object names. That means that without changing anything about how you write your code, your Rails app now has all its artifacts in a schema inside your database.

Enjoy!

Jonathan

Published on 01/11/2005 at 04:27AM under . Tags , , ,

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