Probably superfluous to mention this, but I saw a notice on the Riding Rails weblog about “Passenger”:http://www.modrails.com/. I haven’t tried it myself, but I think this would fit nicely in the deploying rails section :)
Time will tell on this one. I personally think it’s an exciting option, particularly for shared hosting, but I can also see problems. We’ll monitor it as the book is updated, and see if it still has legs when we get to updating the deployment chapter.
It is not clear to me that passenger is targeted at shared hosts. From my read, in order to make use of it, one needs to be able to modify httpd.conf, update the files in the document root, and restart Apache.
My understanding of it in a shared hosting environment is that the host sets up the directories for your app, and does the necessary vhost config for Apache. But I’ve never tried it, and I haven’t spoken to anyone who has. So, treat what I say lightly. If it turns out to be significant, we should dig deeper and write about it. But let’s wait and see.
Just to update on this topic, I recently saw version 2 of Passenger presented at a Rails conference and it looks pretty relevant. Maybe it’s not such a one day fly after all :)
For what it’s worth, I’ve now deployed two small web applications to a Slicehost slice using Passenger and am pretty impressed with the relative simplicity in which it works. Average time spent launching a rails app to each slice: about 30 minutes. I was half-way through Ezra’s book when I first came across the Passenger gem and I haven’t looked back (though I still highly recommend Ezra’s book on Rails deployment…the half that I did read was superb). I think the Passenger gem is going to rapidly increase the number of new rails developers for no other reason than it takes the headache out of deploying small web sites. Whether it’s ready for prime-time apps is yet to be seen.
I’m definitely down with the Passenger bandwagon. For both my slicehost account, and dreamhost. I feel it works great on both VPS, and shared. Also, if you want a good overview of it, http://peepcode.com has an awesome screencast on the subject. Not to take people away from Pragprog. I think I’ve spent a quarter of my income this year at PragProg this year. It’s worth every penny.