Discovering Bundler: A Hidden Gem for Ruby Dependency Management published 10/2/2023 | 3 min read

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As your Ruby project grows, so do its dependencies. Managing them manually can become a herculean task. That's where Bundler comes in. Bundler is a Ruby dependency management tool that makes handling your project's gems a breeze.

Learning how to use Bundler effectively can make your Ruby development process smoother and more efficient. In this guide, we will explore Bundler, why it's important and how to use it in your Ruby projects.

We will cover:

  1. What is Bundler and why should you use it?
  2. Installing Bundler
  3. Creating a Gemfile
  4. Managing dependencies with Bundler
  5. Troubleshooting with Bundler

What is Bundler and Why Should You Use It?

Bundler is a package manager for the Ruby programming language that handles your project's dependencies. It ensures that the exact gems and versions needed for your application are available to all machines running the application, preventing inconsistencies and conflicts.

Using Bundler, you can:

Installing Bundler

To install the Bundler gem, open your terminal and run:

gem install bundler

Running the above command will install the latest Bundler version. If you need a specific version, specify it with -v.

gem install bundler -v 2.0.1

Creating a Gemfile

A Gemfile is where Bundler keeps track of the gem dependencies for your project. To create a Gemfile, navigate to the root of your project and run:

bundle init

This will create a basic Gemfile in your project root. You can then specify your gem dependencies in the new Gemfile like so:

# The 'puma' and 'rails' gems with specified versions
gem 'puma', '~> 3.12'
gem 'rails', ''

Managing Dependencies with Bundler

After specifying all your dependencies in the Gemfile, run:

bundle install

This will install all the gems required by your project and their dependencies.

If you add, remove, or update gems in your Gemfile, run bundle install again, and Bundler will adjust the installed gems to match the Gemfile.

Troubleshooting with Bundler

Sometimes, Bundler may run into issues while installing gems. One common issue is the dreaded “Gem Bundler conflict.”

If you face this issue, you can solve it by uninstalling the specific gem version causing the conflict, and then running bundle install again. Here's how:

gem uninstall -v '1.0.1' conflicted_gem
bundle install

Bundler is a powerful ally in managing dependencies for Ruby applications. Utilizing Bundler eliminates the hassle of manual gem management, allowing you to concentrate on building great applications. It's an essential tool in the toolkit of any Ruby developer. Enjoy coding!