Book Image

Rake Task Management Essentials

By : Andrey Koleshko
Book Image

Rake Task Management Essentials

By: Andrey Koleshko

Overview of this book

Table of Contents (18 chapters)
Rake Task Management Essentials
About the Author
About the Reviewers


Maybe every Ruby developer who is familiar with Rails knows what Rake is. However, many of them are unaware of the complete power of this tool and its real aim. The goal of this book is to improve this situation.

Have you ever had to perform boring, repetitive tasks while deploying your project? I assume here that a project is not only something written in Ruby or another programming language, but it can also consist of operations with files. For example, it might be a book or the documentation of a project that you are writing in Markdown and then compiling into HTML. Or it can be compiling a lot of files to one package. Have you ever wished to build a project or run tests on a project whenever it undergoes a change? All this stuff is easily made possible by programs called software management tools. Rake is one such program.

Rake was initially implemented as a Ruby version of Make—a commonly used build utility. However, calling Rake a build utility undermines its true power. Rake is actually an automation tool—it's a way to put all those tasks that you perform under the project into one neat and tidy place.

Basically, build automation includes the following processes:

  • Compiling the computer source code into binary code

  • Packaging the binary code

  • Running tests

  • Deployment to production systems

  • Creating documentation and/or release notes

Rake can be used in all these situations, and this book shows you how Rake performs all the steps. After reading this book, you will know Rake better and be able to write more clear and robust Rake code.

What this book covers

Chapter 1, The Software Task Management Tool – Rake, introduces you to the basic usage of Rake and its command-line utilities. You will learn what a rake task is and how to set dependencies between rake tasks, what a default rake task is, Rakefile, and the global Rakefile. This chapter also contains information about the Rake project structure and how to organize the code.

Chapter 2, Working with Files, explains the foundational features of Rake that help us work with files. This is mandatory information because of Rake's orientation—it is built to be an automation tool. You will see that there is a special rake task for file processing called file. The main part of the chapter contains the explanation of utilities that are offered by Rake to work with the files: FileList and FileUtils. At the end, you will be given a real-world example on how to apply the acquired knowledge.

Chapter 3, Working with Rules, will show how knowing a rule task may allow you to write more robust and precise code.

Chapter 4, Cleaning Up a Build, describes one of the useful features of Rake—the capability to clean the build of your project with the clean standard task.

Chapter 5, Running Tasks in Parallel, helps us figure out how to speed up the resulting task execution with multitask. We will learn which basic problems may arise while implementing parallelism and how to avoid them.

Chapter 6, Debugging Rake Tasks, provides the basic knowledge to debug Rake projects. You will be provided with an example on how to debug rake tasks inherent to Rake techniques and also to Ruby projects in general.

Chapter 7, Integration with Rails, provides an overview of how Rake is integrated into the famous Ruby web framework, Rails. The chapter shows how to write custom rake tasks in a Rails project and run them manually or automatically on schedule.

Chapter 8, Testing Rake Tasks, details the reasons we should test rake tasks. Also, you will see an example of how to write the tests with MiniTest—a built-in Ruby test framework.

Chapter 9, Continuous Integration, briefly introduces you to Jenkins—a continuous integration software. You will see how to configure it and run rake tasks with its help.

Chapter 10, Relentless Automation, doesn't introduce any new Rake terms, but you will find useful examples of the Rake appliance by popular programs. You will be introduced to the Thor utility, which can replace Rake in some circumstances. Then we will compare both of these frameworks. Finally, we will briefly gather all the information that was provided throughout the book.

What you need for this book

To run the examples in this book, you must have Ruby installed. The examples can be run in all operation systems where Ruby can be installed. However, a few chapters provide examples that may be run only on Unix-based systems such as Linux and OS X. The command-line examples are written in a Unix-like style, but Windows users will also be able to run them.

Who this book is for

This book requires basic knowledge of Ruby because Rake is written in this programming language. But it doesn't mean that gurus of other languages will not be able to understand the examples. If you are working with a build automation tool that doesn't fit your requirements or seems too complicated, this book is what you need.


In this book, you will find a number of styles of text that distinguish between different kinds of information. Here are some examples of these styles, and an explanation of their meaning.

Code words in text, database table names, folder names, filenames, file extensions, pathnames, dummy URLs, user input, and Twitter handles are shown as follows: "We can include other contexts through the use of the include directive."

A block of code is set as follows:

task :hello do
  puts 'Hello, Rake!'

Any command-line input is written as follows:

$ rake task2

All command-line outputs have been highlighted and will appear as follows:

rake aborted!
this is an error

New terms and important words are shown in bold. Words that you see on the screen, in menus or dialog boxes for example, appear in the text like this: "You will be redirected to the configuration page of the created project. There you will find the Build section with the Add build step dropdown."


Warnings or important notes appear in a box like this.


Tips and tricks appear like this.

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