Our hero finds a useful companion after having escaped the first part of the wild maze he got himself into last time.

This is part 4 of my exploits in Ruby C extension land.

If you haven't read part 1, 2 and 3, you might want to go back there.

A Fearless Companion

After having surmounted the first obstacles, I found myself facing a small cottage that turned out to be inhabited by a nice young fellow, called Luis.

I told him my story and that I wanted to seek the miracles of this magic land and he empathized with me.

Being totally enchanted by my tale, he agreed to lend me his mighty steed for my exploits.

It's name was rake-compiler.

Configuration

When using the steed -- I mean rake-compiler -- there are some simple steps you need to take.

First, you must modify your Rakefile:

require 'rake/extensiontask'
Rake::ExtensionTask.new('cranberry', $gemspec)

Just replace cranberry with the name of the ext directory from the last part.

$gemspec must refer to your gem specification. There are numerous tools out there, but I like Jeweler, because it integrates with Git.

(NOTE: I'll write an extra article on integrating Jeweler and rake-compiler .)

Once you have done that, there are several new tasks available for you:

rake compile                # compile all defined extensions
rake compile:cranberry      # compile the cranberry extension
rake native                 # prepare for native gem build

The last one can be used like one of the following:

rake native gem
rake native build

depending on your rake configuration (for jeweller it's the last one).

Ready, Set, Compile!

Now you're ready to compile some C! Just put some example C code in the appropriate ext directory and run the above tasks.

While you do that, I'll go off and ponder on what to tell you next.

Continue with Part 5!