Fixing Common Bundler Problems

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When bundler first came out, I really wanted to like it. It promised a clean way to declare dependencies on for your application in a single place, and have that be definitive regardless of what box your app was running on. Unfortunately, reality didn't match up with promises and I've had plenty of headaches from bundler problems. Read on for a list of tips I've pulled together to save you some headache.

Ensure you're local bundler is the same version as your server

Different versions of bundler may act differently:

bundle --version  # on your local machine and your server
sudo gem install bundler --version="0.9.26"

Explicitly specify gem versions

Did you know in HTTParty 0.4.5, there's no 'parsed_response' method on a response object? Well, neither did I when it worked fine on my local laptop (0.6.1), but not on the server (0.4.5)

gem "httparty"  # bad times if your system gem is out of date...
gem "httparty", "~> 0.6.1"  # better, but...
gem "httparty", "0.6.1"     # ...why not just specify the version everyone should use?

Check you're actually using gems installed by bundler

Once in a while, bundler will report success on install, but you'll get the wrong gems loaded in your load path. Grep your load path to double check libraries you're having trouble with

# in script/console
>> $:.grep /http/
=> ["/Users/jch/.bundle/ruby/1.8/gems/httparty-0.6.1/lib"]

Gemfile conditionals

bundler allows you to specify groups so only gems you need in one environment are loaded:

# we don't call the group :test because we don't want them auto-required
group :test do
  gem 'database_cleaner', '~> 0.5.0'
  gem 'rspec'
  gem 'rspec-rails', '~> 1.3.2', :require => 'spec/rails'

All gems you specify in your Gemfile WILL be installed regardless of what RAILS_ENV you're currently on. There's a very deceptively named option called --without that does not work as you would expect:

# weird, but this will install gems in group test
bundle install --without=test

This can turn out to be a disaster if your production environment tries to install a OSX specific gem with native extensions that you use for development. An ugly fix in the meantime is to add conditionals that look for an environment variable:

if ['test', 'cucumber'].include?(ENV['RAILS_ENV'])
  group :test do
    # your gems

Update your capistrano

Don't forget to bundle when you deploy:

after  "deploy:update_code", "deploy:bundle"
namespace :deploy do
  desc "Freeze dependencies"
  task :bundle, :roles => :app do
    run "cd #{release_path} && bundle install --relock --without=test"

NameErrors and autoloading issues

Read this issue. The fix is to skip the require in your Gemfile and do the require in your environment.rb:

# Gemfile
gem 'misbehaving_gem', :require_as => []

# environment.rb do |config|
  # ...
  config.gem 'misbehaving_gem'
  # ...

Nuke .bundler

When all else doesn't make sense, and you've pulled out what precious little hair you have left:

rm -rf RAILS_ROOT/.bundle      # removes gems for this project
rm -rf ~/.bundle               # removes cached gems for your current user
rm -rf RAILS_ROOT/Gemfile.lock # lets you do a fresh 'bundle install'

# do a fresh bundle install
bundle install


Bundler is still a moving target as far as bugs goes. It's getting better with each release, so many of these issues might not exist by the time you start using it. Meanwhile, hopefully this list above is will save you some time with bundler related headaches. Let me know in the comments if you've encountered other tips for resolving these problems.

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