Use of common RubyGems commands
gem command allows you to interact with RubyGems.
Ruby 1.9 and newer ships with RubyGems built-in but you may need to upgrade for bug fixes or new features. To upgrade RubyGems or install it for the first time (if you need to use Ruby 1.9) visit the download page.
If you want to see how to require files from a gem, skip ahead to What is a gem
- Finding Gems
- Installing Gems
- Requiring Code
- Listing Installed Gems
- Uninstalling Gems
- Viewing Documentation
- Fetching and Unpacking Gems
- Further Reading
search command lets you find remote gems by name. You can use regular
expression characters in your query:
$ gem search ^rails *** REMOTE GEMS *** rails (4.0.0) rails-3-settings (0.1.1) rails-action-args (0.1.1) rails-admin (0.0.0) rails-ajax (0.2.0.20130731) [...]
If you see a gem you want more information on you can add the details option. You’ll want to do this with a small number of gems, though, as listing gems with details requires downloading more files:
$ gem search ^rails$ -d *** REMOTE GEMS *** rails (4.0.0) Author: David Heinemeier Hansson Homepage: http://www.rubyonrails.org Full-stack web application framework.
You can also search for gems on rubygems.org such as this search for rake
install command downloads and installs the gem and any necessary
dependencies then builds documentation for the installed gems.
$ gem install drip Fetching: rbtree-0.4.1.gem (100%) Building native extensions. This could take a while... Successfully installed rbtree-0.4.1 Fetching: drip-0.0.2.gem (100%) Successfully installed drip-0.0.2 Parsing documentation for rbtree-0.4.1 Installing ri documentation for rbtree-0.4.1 Parsing documentation for drip-0.0.2 Installing ri documentation for drip-0.0.2 Done installing documentation for rbtree, drip after 0 seconds 2 gems installed
Here the drip command depends upon the rbtree gem which has an extension. Ruby installs the dependency rbtree and builds its extension, installs the drip gem, then builds documentation for the installed gems.
You can disable documentation generation using the
--no-doc argument when
RubyGems modifies your Ruby load path, which controls how your Ruby code is
found by the
require statement. When you
require a gem, really you’re just
placing that gem’s
lib directory onto your
$LOAD_PATH. Let’s try this out
irb and get some help from the
pretty_print library included with Ruby.
irb will automatically require a library when irb is loaded.
% irb -rpp >> pp $LOAD_PATH [".../lib/ruby/site_ruby/1.9.1", ".../lib/ruby/site_ruby", ".../lib/ruby/vendor_ruby/1.9.1", ".../lib/ruby/vendor_ruby", ".../lib/ruby/1.9.1", "."]
By default you have just a few system directories on the load path and the Ruby standard libraries. To add the awesome_print directories to the load path, you can require one of its files:
% irb -rpp >> require 'ap' => true >> pp $LOAD_PATH.first ".../gems/awesome_print-1.0.2/lib"
Note: For Ruby 1.8 you must
require 'rubygems' before requiring any gems.
Once you’ve required
ap, RubyGems automatically places its
lib directory on the
That’s basically it for what’s in a gem. Drop Ruby code into
lib, name a
Ruby file the same as your gem (for the gem “freewill” the file should be
freewill.rb, see also name your gem) and it’s loadable by
lib directory itself normally contains only one
.rb file and a
directory with the same name as the gem which contains the rest of the files.
% tree freewill/ freewill/ └── lib/ ├── freewill/ │ ├── user.rb │ ├── widget.rb │ └── ... └── freewill.rb
Listing Installed Gems
list command shows your locally installed gems:
$ gem list *** LOCAL GEMS *** bigdecimal (1.2.0) drip (0.0.2) io-console (0.4.2) json (1.7.7) minitest (4.3.2) psych (2.0.0) rake (0.9.6) rbtree (0.4.1) rdoc (4.0.0) test-unit (22.214.171.124)
(Ruby ships with some gems by default, bigdecimal, io-console, json, minitest, psych, rake, rdoc, test-unit for ruby 2.0.0).
uninstall command removes the gems you have installed.
$ gem uninstall drip Successfully uninstalled drip-0.0.2
If you uninstall a dependency of a gem RubyGems will ask you for confirmation.
$ gem uninstall rbtree You have requested to uninstall the gem: rbtree-0.4.1 drip-0.0.2 depends on rbtree (>= 0) If you remove this gem, these dependencies will not be met. Continue with Uninstall? [yN] n ERROR: While executing gem ... (Gem::DependencyRemovalException) Uninstallation aborted due to dependent gem(s)
You can view the documentation for your installed gems with
$ ri RBTree RBTree < MultiRBTree (from gem rbtree-0.4.0) ------------------------------------------- A sorted associative collection that cannot contain duplicate keys. RBTree is a subclass of MultiRBTree. -------------------------------------------
Fetching and Unpacking Gems
If you wish to audit a gem’s contents without installing it you can use the
fetch command to download the .gem file then extract its contents with the
$ gem fetch malice Fetching: malice-13.gem (100%) Downloaded malice-13 $ gem unpack malice-13.gem Fetching: malice-13.gem (100%) Unpacked gem: '.../malice-13' $ more malice-13/README Malice v. 13 DESCRIPTION A small, malicious library. [...] $ rm -r malice-13*
You can also unpack a gem you have installed, modify a few files, then use the modified gem in place of the installed one:
$ gem unpack rake Unpacked gem: '.../rake-10.1.0' $ vim rake-10.1.0/lib/rake/... $ ruby -I rake-10.1.0/lib -S rake some_rake_task [...]
-I argument adds your unpacked rake to the ruby
prevents RubyGems from loading the gem version (or the default version). The
-S argument finds
rake in the shell’s
$PATH so you don’t have to type out
the full path.
This guide only shows the basics of using the
gem command. For information
on what’s inside a gem and how to use one you’ve installed see the next
section, What is a gem. For a complete reference of gem
commands see the Command Reference.