One of the great things about the Ruby community is that we are very happy to release our code; to contribute back to the community. RubyGems and github make it ridiculously easy.

Another great thing about the Ruby community is that we also like to help out. Maybe, someone wants to fix a bug, or perhaps sees an opportunity for a new feature, or just wants to help make the code better.

Lately, for whatever reason1, I have been running across well-used gems that passively discourage contributions because their development environment setup is disastrous2.

Anyone should be able to contribute to your gem after doing this3:

% git clone
% cd makes_coffee
% cat > .rvmrc
rvm gemset use makes_coffee
% cd .
% gem install bundler
% bundle install
% rake
...All specs pass...

That is all4 it should take to get a development environment up and running for your gem.

1 We are using Rails 3.

2 It is disastrous if I have to repeatedly run rake and look at stack traces for me to discern exactly what needs to be done to get a working development environment.

3 Yea, I am using bundler and rvm. You should be too.5

4 Yea, the rvmrc step should not need to be there :) Oh and there may need to be more done, like setting up a database. Put it in the README.

5 Or your gem has a development setup in the README or wiki, like RSpec.

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