Getting Rails 2.2 to work on Mac OS X, despite the MySQL ruby “gem”

rubygems makes package management a nightmare. This is demonstrated every time you try and setup a new server using your operating system’s ruby/rails packages. It gets fully demonstrated when you try and upgrade to Rails 2.2 on a Mac. You can go read the full details of the nightmare if you’re so inclined.

The summary is that rails 2.2 removes the mysql driver and so you have to install a native driver using rubygems. Normally this would be a single command, but MySQL is a mess on Mac OS X. If you have a working MySQL installation on a Mac, chances are you’ve used MAMP and/or installed it yourself.

After about two hours of pain, I finally came across this forum post which has the horribly hacky but wonderfully simple idea of copying the mysql driver that worked in older versions of rails into your rails 2.2 app! This finally worked! On my Mac, this meant running the following command:

 cp /Library/Ruby/Gems/1.8/gems/activerecord-2.1.2/lib/active_record/vendor/mysql.rb ~/Software/myapp/lib/

When I restarted my rails app, it actually worked! Joy!

It’s worth noting that it’s probably worth pushing through the pain to install the native mysql gem on your production servers, but this technique is a winner to keep development on the go.

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