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Need to serve gems locally or for your organization?

There are times you would like to run your own gem server. You may want to share gems with colleagues when you are both without internet connectivity. You may have private code, internal to your organization, that you’d like to distribute and manage as gems without making the source publicly available.

There are a few options to set up a server to host gems from within your organization. This guide covers the gem server command and the Gem in a Box project. It also discusses how to use these servers as gem sources during development.

Running the built-in gem server

When you install RubyGems, it adds the gem server command to your system. This is the fastest way to start hosting gems. Just run the command:

gem server

This will serve all your installed gems from your local machine at http://localhost:8808. If you visit this url in your browser, you’ll find that the gem server command provides an HTML documentation index.

When you install new gems, they are automatically available through the built-in gem server.

For a complete list of options, run:

gem server --help

Among other options, you can change the port that gems are served on and specify the directories to search for installed gems.

Running Gem in a Box

For a server with more features, including the ability to push gems, try out the Gem in a Box project.

To get started, install geminabox:

[~/dev/geminabox] gem install geminabox

Make a data directory for storing gems:

[~/dev/geminabox] mkdir data

Include the following in a config.ru file:

[~/dev/geminabox] cat config.ru
require "rubygems"
require "geminabox"

Geminabox.data = "./data"
run Geminabox::Server

And run the server:

[~/dev/geminabox] rackup
[2011-05-19 12:09:40] INFO  WEBrick 1.3.1
[2011-05-19 12:09:40] INFO  ruby 1.9.2 (2011-02-18) [x86_64-darwin10.5.0]
[2011-05-19 12:09:40] INFO  WEBrick::HTTPServer#start: pid=60941 port=9292

Now you can push gems using the gem inabox command. The first time you do this, you’ll be prompted for the location of your gem server.

[~/dev/secretgem] gem build secretgem.gemspec
  Successfully built RubyGem
  Name: secretgem
  Version: 0.0.1
  File: secretgem-0.0.1.gem
[~/dev/secretgem] gem inabox ./secretgem-0.0.1.gem
Enter the root url for your personal geminabox instance. (E.g. http://gems/)
Host:  http://localhost:9292
Pushing secretgem-0.0.1.gem to http://localhost:9292/...

There is a web interface available on http://localhost:9292 as well. For more information, read the Gem in a box README.

Using gems from your server

Whether you use gem server, Gem in a Box, or another gem server, you can configure RubyGems to use your local or internal source alongside other sources such as http://rubygems.org.

Use the gem sources command to add the gem server to your system-wide gem sources. The following URL is the default for running Gem in a Box via rackup:

gem sources --add http://localhost:9292

Then install gems as usual:

[~] gem install secretgem
Successfully installed secretgem-0.0.1
1 gem installed

If you’re using Bundler then you can specify this server as a gem source in your Gemfile:

[~/dev/myapp] cat Gemfile
source "http://localhost:9292"
gem "secretgem"

[~/dev/myapp] bundle
Using secretgem (0.0.1)
Using bundler (1.0.13)
Your bundle is complete! Use `bundle show [gemname]` to see where a bundled gem is installed.