How to Set up Rails with PostgreSQL on Linux Mint

Rails is database agnostic, meaning that it can talk to different databases with little more than a couple of configuration changes. Here’s how to install PostgreSQL on Linux Mint 16 and configure it for use with Rails.

The first thing to do is to install the Postgres packages from the repositories using apt-get.

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install postgresql postgresql-contrib

As you might gather, postgresql is the main package, postgresql-contrib is an additional package that adds further utilities and functionality.

The next thing to do is to install the pg gem, which is the Ruby interface to the PostgreSQL RDBMS:

sudo apt-get install libpq-dev

This installs the header files and static libraries necessary for compiling C programs to link with the libpq library, so as to communicate with the PostgreSQL backend.

gem install pg

PostgreSQL works with the concept of “roles” to aid in authentication and authorization. You can read more about them here. For now it is sufficient to create a role with the same name as your current user:

sudo -u postgres psql

This will take us to a shell prompt for the “postgres” role.

create role jim with createdb login password 'pass';

This creates a new role (jim) with a password of “pass”. Obviously, swap out “jim” for the name of your current user.

You can verify the success of this command thus:

SELECT rolname FROM pg_roles;

Sample output:

postgres=# SELECT rolname FROM pg_roles;
(7 rows)

A Simple Rails App

Now, let’s build a simple Rails app to ensure that everything is working as expected.

rails new testapp --database=postgresql

This will create a new Rails app with the name of “testapp”. Change directory into testapp and edit config/database.yml with the details of the role you previously created. For me this would be:

default: &default
  adapter: postgresql
  encoding: unicode
  # For details on connection pooling, see rails configuration guide
  pool: 5

  <<: *default
  database: testapp_development

  # The specified database role being used to connect to postgres.
  # To create additional roles in postgres see `$ createuser --help`.
  # When left blank, postgres will use the default role. This is
  # the same name as the operating system user that initialized the database.
  username: jim

  # The password associated with the postgres role (username).
  password: pass

You should then run:

rake db:migrate

to create testapp/db/schema.rb


rake db:setup

This creates development and test databases, sets their owners to the user specified, and creates “schema_migrations” tables in each.

Now you can start the server using rails s and head to http://localhost:3000/ where you can inspect your applications details.

Once you have verified that it is set up correctly, hop back onto the console, stop the server and enter:

rails g scaffold User name:string description:text
rake db:migrate

Restart the server, then head to http://localhost:3000/users and you should see your app running as expected.

You can now perform CRUD operations on the PostgreSQL database.

This post currently has one response

  1. chidu says:

    Thanks for this. Was having some serious trouble with postgres trying to use my system username as the role name but this pointed me towards a solution.

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