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Using Bundler In Application

This guide is originally written for Bundler v1.12. If you are using different version keep in mind that output can differ. To check Bundler version simply run bundle -v.

What’s Inside?

  1. Getting Started - Installing Bundler and bundle init
  2. Editing Gemfile
    1. Sources
    2. Adding Gems
    3. More About Gemfile Syntax
  3. Installing Gems - bundle install
    1. Development
    2. Deployment
  4. Gemfile.lock
  5. Executing Commands - bundle exec
  6. Updating Gems - bundle outdated and bundle update
  7. Recommended Workflow
  8. Troubleshooting
    1. Running git bisect in projects using Bundler

Getting Started - Installing Bundler and bundle init

Some of the frameworks have builtin support for Bundler, e.g. when you run rails new app it will automatically init Bundler.

Firstly, we need to install Bundler.

$ gem install bundler

This command will also update already installed bundler. You should get something similar as output:

$ gem install bundler
Successfully installed bundler-1.12.5
1 gem installed

To init Bundler manually, let’s do this (bundler_example will be folder with our app):

$ mkdir bundler_example && cd bundler_example
$ bundle init

This will create Gemfile inside bundler_example folder:

# frozen_string_literal: true
# A sample Gemfile
source "https://rubygems.org"

# gem "rails"

Editing Gemfile

Sources

Auto-generated Gemfile consists of source "https://rubygems.org". It means that Bundler will search for gems in https://rubygems.org. If you want to use your own RubyGems server or different one, just change it:

source "https://your_ruby_gem_server.url"

If you have more gem sources, you can use block or :source:

source "https://your_ruby_gem_server.url" do
  # gems
end

gem "my_gem", source: "https://your_2_ruby_gem_server.url"

Gems inside block will be retrieved from given source.


Learn more about source here.

Adding Gems

Let’s now add some dependencies to project:

# frozen_string_literal: true
# A sample Gemfile
source "https://rubygems.org"

gem "rails"

Using above Gemfile, bundler install will install latest version of rails gem.


What to do when we want to install specified version? Just specify it after comma:

gem "rails", "3.0.0"

or use this syntax:

gem "rails", "~> 4.0.0" # which is same as gem "rails", ">= 4.0.0", "< 4.1.0" 
gem "nokogiri", ">= 1.4.2"

Learn more about gems in Gemfile here.

More About Gemfile Syntax

To learn more about Gemfile’s click here.

Installing Gems - bundle install

Development

To install gems for development, simply run bundle install.

This should give you similar output:

Fetching gem metadata from https://rubygems.org/
Fetching version metadata from https://rubygems.org/
Fetching dependency metadata from https://rubygems.org/
Resolving dependencies...
Using mini_portile2 2.1.0
Using pkg-config 1.1.7
Using bundler 1.12.5
Using nokogiri 1.6.8
Bundle complete! 1 Gemfile dependency, 4 gems now installed.
Use `bundle show [gemname]` to see where a bundled gem is installed.

It should also create Gemfile.lock file:

GEM
  remote: https://rubygems.org/
  specs:
    mini_portile2 (2.1.0)
    nokogiri (1.6.8)
      mini_portile2 (~> 2.1.0)
      pkg-config (~> 1.1.7)
    pkg-config (1.1.7)

PLATFORMS
  ruby

DEPENDENCIES
  nokogiri (>= 1.4.0)

BUNDLED WITH
   1.12.5

This Gemfile.lock is described in next chapter.

Deployment

For deployment you should use --deployment option:

$ bundle install --deployment

This will install all dependencies to ./vendor/bundle.

To run this command, there are some requirements:

  1. Gemfile.lock file is required.
  2. Gemfile.lock must be up to date.

To learn more about bundle install command click here.

Gemfile.lock

Bundler uses this file to save names and versions of gems all gems. It guarantees that you always use the same exact code, even as your application moves across machines. After specified gem is installed for the first time, Bundler will lock its version. To update it, you must use: bundler update or/and modify its version in Gemfile.

This file is created/updated automatically when you use some of Bundler’s commands (e.g. bundle install or bundle update) and you should check it into version control.

We will use Gemfile.lock from previous chapter as an example.

GEM
  remote: https://rubygems.org/
  specs:
    mini_portile2 (2.1.0)
    nokogiri (1.6.8)
      mini_portile2 (~> 2.1.0)
      pkg-config (~> 1.1.7)
    pkg-config (1.1.7)

PLATFORMS
  ruby

DEPENDENCIES
  nokogiri (>= 1.4.0)

BUNDLED WITH
   1.12.5

Let’s break it down:

  • GEM
    • remote - source of gems
    • specs - installed gems (with versions). We can see here that mini_portile2 is dependency of nokogiri because it’s beneath and indented
  • PLATFORMS - platform that is used in application (see more here).
  • DEPENDENCIES - gems defined in our Gemfile.
  • BUNDLED WITH - version of Bundler which was last used to change Gemfile.lock

Executing Commands - bundle exec

Let’s see examples first:

$ bundle exec rspec

$ bundle exec rails s

This will allow you to run command (rspec and rails s here) in current bundle context, making all gems in Gemfile available to require and use.


To learn more about bundle exec command click here.

Updating Gems - bundle outdated and bundle update

Now let’s update some gems. With bundle outdated we can list installed gems with newer versions available:

$ bundle outdated
Fetching gem metadata from https://rubygems.org/
Fetching version metadata from https://rubygems.org/
Fetching dependency metadata from https://rubygems.org/
Resolving dependencies.......

Outdated gems included in the bundle:
  * nokogiri (newest 1.6.8, installed 1.6.7.2) in group "default"

You can also specify gems (bundle outdated *gems).

We’ve got nokogiri locked on version 1.6.7.2. How can we update it? bundle install won’t install newer version because it’s locked in Gemfile.lock file. We must use bundle update.

$ bundle update
Fetching git://github.com/middleman/middleman-syntax.git
Fetching gem metadata from https://rubygems.org/
Fetching version metadata from https://rubygems.org/
Fetching dependency metadata from https://rubygems.org/
Resolving dependencies.....
Installing nokogiri 1.6.8 (was 1.6.7.2) with native extensions
Using i18n 0.7.0

... (and more)

Bundle updated!

Using bundle update without any argument will try to update every gem to newest available version (restrained by Gemfile).

To update specific gems, use bundle update *gems


To learn more about bundle outdated command click here.

To learn more about bundle update command click here.

In general, when working with an application managed with bundler, you should use the following workflow:

  • To init Bundler, run
$ bundle init
  • After you create your Gemfile for the first time, run
$ bundle install
  • Check the resulting Gemfile.lock into version control
$ git add Gemfile.lock
  • When checking out this repository on another development machine, run
$ bundle install
  • When checking out this repository on a deployment machine, run
$ bundle install --deployment
  • After changing the Gemfile to reflect a new or update dependency, run
$ bundle install
  • Make sure to check the updated Gemfile.lock into version control
$ git add Gemfile.lock
  • If bundle install reports a conflict, manually update the specific gems that you changed in the Gemfile
$ bundle update rails thin
  • If you want to update all the gems to the latest possible versions that still match the gems listed in the Gemfile(5), run
$ bundle update

Troubleshooting

Running git bisect in projects using Bundler

See Git Bisect Guide.