Basho – First Week Coding & Research Adventures…

The First Things

This week, the first thing I did was give a solid read to Mark Phillip’s Blog “themarkphillips” (@pharkmillups). Here’s a break down of some entries I found really interesting and helpful in getting kick started here at Basho (or just really a good read in and of itself):

  • Using Open Source to Promote Sustainable Farming – Mark got to interview Chris Villalobos @frostbytten a long while back, but ended up getting a good interview and also got Chris to write an article on the Basho Blog “Riak in Production – A Distributed Event Registration System Written in Erlang”. Chris was working on Open AgroClimate Project a climate information and decision support system for managing agricultural and natural resources in the Southeastern US. Pretty interesting articles, the whole lot of them.
  • Two Anecdotes About Community From JSConf and NodeConf – This is a great one, two anecdotes that I’m all “hell yeah” about. The entry caught my eye for the obvious reasons that the whole great team behind JSConf & NodeConf, I always have to read about. Mikael, Chris and the whole lot of Noders are a great crew of people, throwing absolutely great conferences. The two anecdotes; “You Want Your Users To Hug You” andMeeting People In Real Life Never Gets Old And Is Incredibly Valuable”.
  • Another great entry revolved around putting together RICON 2012. See my other entries “RICON2012 Shreds the House!” and “RICON 2012 Photos” for more on RICON. This entry really lays out ground work for the mission Mark Phillips, Tom Santera and the rest of the team I’ve joined at Basho have to grow the community that works with, around and building distributed databases and systems.
  • The latest entry, the entry key to what I’m tackling, is the “Month One for Technical Evangelists at Basho“. This leads me to the next blog & entries and material I needed to dive into.

The next blog I gave a good review of was the Basho Blog.

  • Riak Cloud Storage with Multi-Datacenter Replication – this blog entry outlines the release of, well, what the title says. This release though, is a pretty big deal. The storage is already S3 compliant, a huge benefit in the first place. The entry goes into some detail about the full and realtime sync capabilities of the system. However if you’re really interested in this there’s more to dive into – so ping me or jump on the Basho mailing list and strike up a conversation. We love talking about this stuff at Basho, so don’t shy away from throwing some conversation our way.
  • The next blog entry that caught my attention, since some of my first demoes are going to be JavaScript, Node.js and Riak, the project around Riak.js getting a fresh start was a relief to read. I’ll admit, I read it when the blog entry was published. 😉
  • One last entry I read, then dived into the content that it links to is the “Building Apps on Riak” content and use cases blog entry. It links to the Basho Docs (see below) and use cases page.

The last two major things that I read, which are really important in the field of distributed databases and also having a work culture that seriously rocks. These two papers are the Amazon Dynamo Paper and the Valve Handbook.

amazon-dynamo-sosp2007 & Valve Handbook

The second thing I wanted to do was get Riak setup on my local machine to play with. I’d setup Riak a few times before in a multi-node cluster using Tier 3′ s Blueprint Technology to automate the process. This time however I’m taking the vantage of installing it locally for use. So what’s the steps? Well, it’s pretty straight forward. First however, I wanted to synch up my first install experience with the Basho Docs. Since the documentation is actually available via your standard open source repository on github, the Basho way, I wanted to get a local running copy of it.

Basho Documentation

I wanted to business, not just to read but also to contribute back to the basho_docs. This isn’t just some filler docs either, they’re actually really useful and well written. In other words, it’s solid, updated and well maintained documentation.

I forked the basho_docs to my own repo and went to work setting it up. Everything was going great until I stumbled into blockenspiel, or so I thought it was blockenspiel. Thus, the adventure of crazy new machine forgetfulness begins.

Breaking blockenspiel

I’ve spent a couple hours trying to get middleman working for the basho_docs project. Why did I spend a few hours working on this? Well the obvious one is I wanted to get the docs up and running locally, ya see, I intend to contribute back (want to jump into them too, hit up the github repo). While I was getting these installed I made a few mistakes and ran into a few issues. Here’s the story.

The first thing I forgot was to install rvm. The basho_docs project uses rvm and I highly suggest you use it, or something like it. In this case the project has specific settings you definitely want. The simple reason I didn’t have it is that I’d forgotten that I hadn’t installed it on my new Mac Book Air! Doh! Easily fixed via While there I also installed the Jewelry Box App, it’s pretty decent, but you’ll still want to dive into the command line where the real power is.

So with that all good I got through the next few steps.

[sourcecode language=”bash”]$ gem install bundler
ERROR: While executing gem … (Gem::FilePermissionError)
You don’t have write permissions into the /Library/Ruby/Gems/1.8 directory.
Adrons-MacBook-Air-2:basho_docs Adron$ sudo gem install bundler
Successfully installed bundler-1.2.3
1 gem installed
Installing ri documentation for bundler-1.2.3…
Installing RDoc documentation for bundler-1.2.3…
Adrons-MacBook-Air-2:basho_docs Adron$ bundle install
Fetching gem metadata from…….
Fetching gem metadata from
Enter your password to install the bundled RubyGems to your system:
Using rake (
Using i18n (0.6.1)
Using multi_json (1.3.6)
Using activesupport (3.2.8)
Using builder (3.1.3)
Using mime-types (1.19)
Using xml-simple (1.1.1)
Using aws-s3 (0.6.3)

At this point, the install seemed to be going great, and then BOOM, this happened!

[sourcecode language=”bash”]
Installing blockenspiel (0.4.5) with native extensions
Gem::Installer::ExtensionBuildError: ERROR: Failed to build gem native extension.

/System/Library/Frameworks/Ruby.framework/Versions/1.8/usr/bin/ruby extconf.rb
mkmf.rb can’t find header files for ruby at /System/Library/Frameworks/Ruby.framework/Versions/1.8/usr/lib/ruby/ruby.h

Gem files will remain installed in /Users/Adron/.bundler/tmp/13504/gems/blockenspiel-0.4.5 for inspection.
Results logged to /Users/Adron/.bundler/tmp/13504/gems/blockenspiel-0.4.5/ext/unmixer_mri/gem_make.out
An error occurred while installing blockenspiel (0.4.5), and Bundler cannot continue.
Make sure that `gem install blockenspiel -v ‘0.4.5’` succeeds before bundling.
Adrons-MacBook-Air-2:basho_docs Adron$ gem install blockenspiel
ERROR: While executing gem … (Gem::FilePermissionError)
You don’t have write permissions into the /Library/Ruby/Gems/1.8 directory.
Adrons-MacBook-Air-2:basho_docs Adron$ sudo gem install blockenspiel -v ‘0.4.5’
Building native extensions. This could take a while…
ERROR: Error installing blockenspiel:
ERROR: Failed to build gem native extension.

/System/Library/Frameworks/Ruby.framework/Versions/1.8/usr/bin/ruby extconf.rb
mkmf.rb can’t find header files for ruby at /System/Library/Frameworks/Ruby.framework/Versions/1.8/usr/lib/ruby/ruby.h

Gem files will remain installed in /Library/Ruby/Gems/1.8/gems/blockenspiel-0.4.5 for inspection.
Results logged to /Library/Ruby/Gems/1.8/gems/blockenspiel-0.4.5/ext/unmixer_mri/gem_make.out

Ok, so maybe I shouldn’t have used sudo, but wasn’t sure what the permissions issue was in the first place. Yeah, that’s a bad idea just to barge ahead, but sometimes you gotta just move on things. Maybe that was or wasn’t the issue. I didn’t know at this point so started to do some research.

The first thing I realized, was barely anyone had run into this issue. I did however find two things that seemed like they may be the root cause of this blockenspiel problem. which shows the native extension not building and a bug is issued here Ugh, how frustrating. Then I also noticed something else, the build is not passing per the file displaying the Travis CI status.

That sux, but I kept digging at that point.

So which native extension did I need to install? I was missing it for some reason. Then I dug around a little more and discovered this in one of the logs.

[sourcecode language=”bash”]
[2012-12-07 09:50:07] ./configure –prefix=/Users/Adron/.rvm/usr
checking for a BSD-compatible install… /usr/bin/install -c
checking whether build environment is sane… yes
checking for a thread-safe mkdir -p… config/install-sh -c -d
checking for gawk… no
checking for mawk… no
checking for nawk… no
checking for awk… awk
checking whether make sets $(MAKE)… no
checking for gcc… no
checking for cc… no
checking for cl.exe… no
configure: error: in `/Users/Adron/.rvm/src/yaml-0.1.4′:
configure: error: no acceptable C compiler found in $PATH
See `config.log’ for more details

Hmmm, dammit, new machine mistake again. I needed a C compiler ASAP! Opening up XCode I immediately got this fixed by installing the CLI tools. These tools include about a zillion things I obviously needed, including the LLVM Compiler, Linker and the universally needed Make.

XCode CLI Tools Installation, for full size image click.
XCode CLI Tools Installation, for full size image click.

Ok, I finally got that installed and moved forward again. Pulled down the bits, and ran smack into the problem again. The blockenspiel lib can’t build the native extension. Ugh! However this time I got a slightly more useful error message at least.

[sourcecode language=”bash”]
/Users/Adron/.rvm/rubies/ruby-1.9.3-p327/bin/ruby extconf.rb
checking for ruby/backward/classext.h… *** extconf.rb failed ***
Could not create Makefile due to some reason, probably lack of
necessary libraries and/or headers. Check the mkmf.log file for more
details. You may need configuration options.

Provided configuration options:
/Users/Adron/.rvm/rubies/ruby-1.9.3-p327/lib/ruby/1.9.1/mkmf.rb:369:in `try_do’: The compiler failed to generate an executable file. (RuntimeError)
You have to install development tools first.
from /Users/Adron/.rvm/rubies/ruby-1.9.3-p327/lib/ruby/1.9.1/mkmf.rb:494:in `try_cpp’
from /Users/Adron/.rvm/rubies/ruby-1.9.3-p327/lib/ruby/1.9.1/mkmf.rb:919:in `block in have_header’
from /Users/Adron/.rvm/rubies/ruby-1.9.3-p327/lib/ruby/1.9.1/mkmf.rb:778:in `block in checking_for’
from /Users/Adron/.rvm/rubies/ruby-1.9.3-p327/lib/ruby/1.9.1/mkmf.rb:272:in `block (2 levels) in postpone’
from /Users/Adron/.rvm/rubies/ruby-1.9.3-p327/lib/ruby/1.9.1/mkmf.rb:242:in `open’
from /Users/Adron/.rvm/rubies/ruby-1.9.3-p327/lib/ruby/1.9.1/mkmf.rb:272:in `block in postpone’
from /Users/Adron/.rvm/rubies/ruby-1.9.3-p327/lib/ruby/1.9.1/mkmf.rb:242:in `open’
from /Users/Adron/.rvm/rubies/ruby-1.9.3-p327/lib/ruby/1.9.1/mkmf.rb:268:in `postpone’
from /Users/Adron/.rvm/rubies/ruby-1.9.3-p327/lib/ruby/1.9.1/mkmf.rb:777:in `checking_for’
from /Users/Adron/.rvm/rubies/ruby-1.9.3-p327/lib/ruby/1.9.1/mkmf.rb:918:in `have_header’
from extconf.rb:44:in `’

My first thought was, WTF didn’t I just install the developer tools?

Went digging for this problem and found this interesting and likely related Stackoverflow Entry “”. One of the suggested solutions would be found in executing the following commands. As I read this I realized it wasn’t the marked answer, but I needed MacPorts so I downloaded MacPorts! A quick few seconds later I grabbed it and tried out these commands just to at least get things updated.

[sourcecode language=”bash”]
sudo xcodebuild -license
sudo port upgrade outdated
sudo port install apple-gcc42
sudo rvm reinstall 1.9.3

At this point, still no go. I was getting pretty pissed. At least I was getting all these things setup on my machine, but seriously, this should NOT be this hard. The next thing I did was also update my Ruby Gems, as another place on the web suggested doing that. I tried installing middleman again.

[sourcecode language=”bash”]
gem install middleman

At this point I was a bit frustrated, sat back and figured, I’ll give it a go in a while. Well after a few hours to let things sort out in my head, I picked up a completely different laptop. My Mac Book Air I’ve had and been using for over a year now. I opened up iTerm2 and through these commands in bash:

[sourcecode language=”bash”]
git clone
gem install bundler
bundle install

…and the server started right up on port 4567. I opened up a browser and navigated to http://localhost:4567. Right there before my eyes loaded the Basho Riak Documentation!

After all that, it boils down to some stupid machine load issue. So I’ll come back to fixing that machine some other time. For now, it was finally time to move on to other things. But that’s a gist of week one, and week two will be starting in just about 47 minutes. Next week I’ll be diving in a bit more to all of these things plus some actual installation, setup and related skill with Riak. Until then, cheers.

The Non-Microsoft Realm, Collecting Rubies Part II

Just a quick Friday night entry with helpful tidbits… cheers!

Part I of the Collecting Rubies Series.

RVM Gemsets

A few steps when setting up Gemsets with RVM. With a few other commands that can often be helpful.

Functionality by line:

  1. Get a list of the current available gemsets.
  2. Creates a gemset called theNameOfTheSiteToCreate.
  3. Lists the name of the current gemset.
  4. Delete the gemset named theNameOfTheSiteToCreate.
  5. This lists the current Ruby Version selected.

[sourcecode language=”bash”]
rvm gemset list
rvm gemset create theNameOfTheSiteToCreate
rvm gemset name
rvm gemset delete theNameOfTheSiteToCreate
rvm list


Check out the git-flow github account.

To install:

[sourcecode language=”bash”]
wget –no-check-certificate -q -O – | sudo sh

…then just type git flow and you’ll see this prompt, which provides some functionality that is usable right away…

[sourcecode language=”bash”]
usage: git flow

Available subcommands are:
init Initialize a new git repo with support for the branching model.
feature Manage your feature branches.
release Manage your release branches.
hotfix Manage your hotfix branches.
support Manage your support branches.
version Shows version information.

SQL Lite 3

Check out the sqlite3 site.

To install:

[sourcecode language=”bash”]
sudo apt-get install sqlite3 libsqlite3-dev

The Non-Microsoft Realm, Collecting Rubies Part I

Years ago I worked with Linux (Redhat 3.2, SUSE, Gentoo, and Slackware among others) and also played around with PHP.  I’ve never really gotten too keen in PHP, mainly because it just seemed sort of a mess.  But when I needed something to get the job done and didn’t want to wait on the bureaucratic nonsense of corporate governance, PHP was there for me, albeit with a headache to follow.

However my interest in Linux and alternate development stacks, being in Southern Mississippi left me pretty much one option if I wanted to get into software development:  Microsoft’s .NET Framework.

So I learned that, and work with it regularly, and I dig it.  Most of the time.  It serves its purpose.  I have however wanted more, so I’ve started digging into other things again.  This is something I do frequently, and in my not so humble opinion think any serious developer should also dive into regularly.  Step outside of your comfort zone and try other things out, often this helps expand both options (such as .NET and Java, or Ruby on Rails, or whatever).

Recently I’ve decided I’m diving head long straight into Ruby on Rails.  I’m working on a new personal project and have determined I’m not going to use one lick of Microsoft Software (you can read in other motivations if you want to).  This project will be 100% Linux (maybe some Apple Gear & Bits) and Ruby on Rails.  I’ve not determined much beyond that.  Database or data store, TBD, graphics, TBD, and other such are all TBD.

Ubuntu Download
Ubuntu Download

With that, this is how & where I started from the ground up.

  1. I snagged Ubuntu and loaded it (yes, it does dual boot on my machine that runs Windows 7).
  2. Next I went straight to TekPub and started downloading some of the Ruby on Rails Video Tutorials the crew over there has put together.  I purchased a membership because they’ve put out a lot of great material on everything from .NET, Entity Framework, NHibernate, Good SOLID Code, to Linux and Ruby on Rails.  I like the efforts, the teaching style, and they’re rather entertaining.  If you really don’t want to shell out any cash, there are other videos available on the Ruby on Rails Site.
  3. I hit a few snags on working with Ubuntu, mainly because I had not touched a Linux UI System in years.  The first two issues were;  1) How do I change the screen settings to not duplicate my dual monitors and 2) How do I take screenshots.  < Click on the respective issue to see what page I found to resolve the issue.  Yes, they were both that easy to resolve.  Literally first click links of Google results.  Very cool.  🙂
  4. The next issue I ran into was related to playing the TekPub Videos.  Using the Synaptic Package Manager however I was able to download all the additional codecs I needed.  I have to say, since the UX was vastly superior to Microsoft’s Windows Media Player (or whatever it’s called these days) I was able to get the codecs without much manual searching.  I just clicked ok, the package manager popped up, found what I needed, and I clicked OK.  This experience reminds me more of Apple’s OS-X than Windows strangely enough.
  5. With the TekPub Videos now viewable I downloaded the first Rails 3 Video.

While watching the video, which includes great coverage of what Rails 3 is all about, I worked through the following bits.  For these I also left the GUI Synaptic Package Manager and went with the command line, simply, it is just easier and faster.


This was stupid simple.

[sourcecode language=”bash”]
sudo apt-get install git git-gui git-doc gitk

Build Bits

Some important parts for building Ruby.  Yeah, this is kind of a kicker, super long, crazy command, best to copy and paste.  😉

[sourcecode language=”bash”]
sudo apt-get install build-essential bison openssl libreadline6 libreadline6-dev curl git-core zlib1g zlib1g-dev libssl-dev libyaml-dev libsqlite3-0 libsqlite3-dev sqlite3 libxml2-dev libxslt-dev autoconf libc6-dev ncurses-dev


Reached out and got some curl.

[sourcecode language=”bash”]
sudo apt-get install curl git-core

RVM (Ruby Version Manager)

Bash some Ruby Version Manager.  Note I put in “cd~” just as a reminder to get to your user directory.  Most likely, after installing RVM you’d already be in that directory.

[sourcecode language=”bash”]
bash < <(curl -s
cd ~
gedit .bashrc

At the very bottom of the .bashrc file add the following text.

[sourcecode language=”bash”]
[[ -s "$HOME/.rvm/scripts/rvm" ]] && . "$HOME/.rvm/scripts/rvm"

Once you’ve done that, close the terminal down and then reopen it so that all the paths and such can load.

[sourcecode language=”bash”]
sudo apt-get install libruby1.9 zlib1g-dev libssl-dev libreadline5-dev build-essential

Ruby 1.9.2 Bits

Now comes the exciting part, getting Ruby loaded up good and proper.

[sourcecode language=”bash”]
rvm install 1.9.2 –with-zlib-dir=~/.rvm/usr
rvm use 1.9.2 –default

Now if you check with “ruby -v” the ruby 1.9.2p0 version will be default.

Setting Ruby 1.9.2 as Default
Setting Ruby 1.9.2 as Default

Collecting Gems

Now you’ll need some bits, in this case, called gems.  This is one of the very powerful parts of Ruby on Rails.  Beware, these bits have glorious AWESOME all over em’.

[sourcecode language=”bash”]
gem list
gem install rails

The gem list command should list what is currently installed. Initially, only the rake gem is installed.  Once you execute gem install rails, then do another gem list, you’ll have a whole set of gems installed.

Checkup On Your Software

These are just a few of the commands that are helpful in identifying what is installed now. Try em’ out to get a view of what is available.

[sourcecode language=”bash”]
rvm gemset name
gem list