Ruby + MySQL + Windows = SUCCESS! (Finally)

If you do a Google for “ruby mysql windows” you will find, among other things, lots of people trying to use Ruby to access MySQL on a Windows system. I’ve been trying for some time, and have finally gotten things going.

About a year ago I found this article in which he fought the same fight. He was able to get a working .so file, using the .Net C++ compiler, and offered his binary, but that won’t work for everyone. Specifically, a file compiled with VC7 isn’t usable by VC6 (at least not that I could see).

Anyway, I followed his advice to a point, and then started experimenting. I opened up irb and started poking MKMF to see what I could accomplish. What I finally ended up with is a hacked extconf.rb that can be edited easily to get the library built on your own system. It will work with both VC6 and VC7, by changing one line in the file. Assuming that you have MySQL 4.1 installed in the default location, and you are using VC6, and Ruby 1.8.2 is installed in the default location, you should be able to do this

    ruby extconf.rb
    nmake install

and have everything compile and install. Notice that I said should. You should still take a look at the file, near the top, to see if the settings are appropriate for your system.

Once installed, you can use this module directly, or install DBI for that “standard” interface. DBI will use the library you just built and installed, so all you have to do is download the DBI module, then do this

    cd ruby-dbi-all
    ruby setup.rb config --with=dbi,dbd_mysql
    ruby setup.rb setup
    ruby setup.rb install

If you want to install other DBD drivers, add them after dbd_mysql. That should be it.

Here’s the hacked extconf.rb file.

There are only two lines you might need to change, and they are at the top of the file with comments around them.

I have tested this slightly using the binary I built with VC6 and it seems to work fine. I have not tested the VC7-compiled binary, because I don’t have a Ruby distro that was compiled with VC7. Let me know if these directions don’t work for you. Not that I can do anything about it, but I could put a note here for others.

Also, notice that I used 8.3 pathnames, which is really ugly. I would have been happy to use the pathnames with spaces, but VC6 doesn’t like spaces in pathnames. VC7 can grok them fine, but not 6. Both understand the 8.3, so it was just easier to use that.

One more thing. I don’t believe that installing Visual Studio.Net installs the necessary header and library files for building non-.Net binaries. IOW, you might not have windows.h which will cause things not to work. If you download and install the Platform SDK, then you’ll be fine. My extconf.rb will add the default Platform SDK directory to the necessary paths, so if you have that installed, and try to do a VC7 build, you should be ok.

I’d Like to Buy a Vowel, Please…

There is a word that I know that I know, but I can’t remember it. I’ve been trying to remember it for the last three weeks, with no success. I’ve had a “background process” in my mind that’s been combing through all my memories, but it keeps coming up with bupkus. If anyone knows this word, please email me and let me know.

The word, if I’m remembering rightly, begins with trans-. Googling for “trans-” mostly just brings up articles about “transgender” crap, which is not what I want.

The word I’m looking for describes a literary condition where you ascribe an action to the wrong person in a sentence or paragraph. This happens a lot in books like The Bible where you see sentences like “He looked at him and he died.” The potential confusion in a sentence like that is which “he” in that sentence died? Is it the first “he” who looked at the other, or is it the second “he” who was looked at by the first? The word I’m looking for describes this confusion of pronouns.

If you think you know the word, please let me know.