What’s Hoe?

Hoe is a gem that bundles ready-to-use rake tasks to help you build, package and publish your own gems. Thanks to Ryan Davis and friends (from Seattle.rb) for polishing the gem all those years - more than 100+ releases - leading to today’s version 3.13.0.

Let’s create a bare bones gem (hellohoe) and publish it on RubyGems.org.

Set up your gem by adding a build script, readme, change log and manifest

To use Hoe together with your own code use the following structure:

  + README.txt        - Description in plain text 
  + History.txt       - Version change log in plain text
  + Manifest.txt      - List of all files to include in plain text
  + Rakefile          - Build script (requires your name and email)  
  + /lib
     + hellohoe.rb    - Ruby code to bundle up into gem here

Note: You can grab all files from this post from the hellohoe GitHub repo.

Let’s look at hellohoe.rb:

class HelloHoe
  VERSION = '0.1.0'
  # your code here

Hoe requires a VERSION string in your Ruby code that you can reference in your build script. Let’s look at the build script, that is, Rakefile next:

require 'hoe'                # pull in the hoe machinery (that is, ready-to-use rake tasks)
require './lib/hellohoe.rb'

Hoe.spec 'hellohoe' do
  self.version = HelloHoe::VERSION

  self.author  = '[Your Name Here]'
  self.email   = '[Your Email Here]'
  # or use shortcut
  # self.developer( '[Your Name Here]', '[Your Email Here]' )

As a minimum Hoe requires you to set the author and email fields in the gemspec. As a shortcut you can use the developer method to set it all at once.

Next Hoe requires a readme in plain text stored in README.txt:

= hellohoe

* https://github.com/geraldb/hellohoe


Sample on how to use Hoe Rake tasks to build, package and publish gems.


The hellohoe sources are dedicated to the public domain. 

Hoe will use the link from the first section, that is, github.com/geraldb/hellohoe to auto-fill the homepage field in the gemspec and will use the description to auto-fill the summary field and the description in the gemspec.

Next Hoe requires a version change log in plain text stored in History.txt:

=== 0.1.0 / 2015-01-08

* Everything is new. First release.

Hoe will you use the change log to auto-fill the changes field in the gemspec and use the change log for emails and announcements.

Finally, Hoe requires a manifest - a list of all files to include in plain text stored in Manifest.txt:


Now you’re all set to use Hoe’s rake tasks to build, package and publish gems and more. You can list all tasks issuing rake -T. Resulting in:

rake announce              # publish   # Announce your release.
rake audit                 # test      # Run ZenTest against the package.
rake check_extra_deps      # deps      # Install missing dependencies.
rake check_manifest        # debug     # Verify the manifest.
rake clean                 # clean     # Clean up all the extras.
rake clobber_docs          # publish   # Remove RDoc files
rake clobber_package       # package   # Remove package products
rake config_hoe            # debug     # Create a fresh ~/.hoerc file.
rake dcov                  # publish   # Generate rdoc coverage report
rake debug_email           # publish   # Generate email announcement file.
rake debug_gem             # debug     # Show information about the gem.
rake default               # test      # Run the default task(s).
rake deps:email            # deps      # Print a contact list for gems dependent on this gem
rake deps:fetch            # deps      # Fetch all the dependent gems of this gem into tarballs
rake deps:list             # deps      # List all the dependent gems of this gem
rake docs                  # publish   # Generate rdoc
rake gem                   # package   # Build the gem file hellohoe-0.1.gem
rake generate_key          # signing   # Generate a key for signing your gems.
rake install_gem           # package   # Install the package as a gem.
rake install_plugins       # deps      # Install missing plugins.
rake newb                  # newb      # Install deps, generate docs, run tests/specs.
rake package               # package   # Build all the packages
rake post_blog             # publish   # Post announcement to blog.
rake publish_docs          # publish   # Publish RDoc to wherever you want.
rake release               # package   # Package and upload; Requires VERSION=x.y.z (optional PRE=a.1)
rake release_sanity        # package   # Sanity checks for release
rake release_to_gemcutter  # gemcutter # Push gem to gemcutter.
rake repackage             # package   # Force a rebuild of the package files
rake ridocs                # publish   # Generate ri locally for testing.

Using debug_gem, gem, package, install_gem tasks

Let’s try some Hoe tasks. Run rake debug_gem to show the gemspec Hoe generates from your build script settings, readme, change log and manifest. Next, let’s build the gem. Run rake gem. Resulting in:

mkdir -p pkg
  Successfully built RubyGem
  Name: hellohoe
  Version: 0.1.0
  File: hellohoe-0.1.0.gem
mv hellohoe-0.1.0.gem pkg/hellohoe-0.1.0.gem

Hoe will place your gem in the pkg folder. If you run rake package Hoe will bundle up all your sources in a tar’ed and gzipped package (e.g. pkg/hellohoe-0.1.0.tgz).

Next, let’s test drive the gem. Run rake install_gem to install the gem and try it in the Ruby console:

$ irb
>> require 'hellohoe'
=> true
>> HelloHoe::VERSION
=> "0.1.0"

Checking and updating your manifest with check_manifest

Hoe includes a check_manifest task that lets you check the manifest against your files and see if any files are missing or need to get added.

If you run the task the first time you need to create a ~/.hoerc setting file first that includes a regex (regular expression) pattern that excludes files from the manifest check. To create a new ~/.hoerc file run rake config_hoe. Resulting in a file such as:

exclude: !ruby/regexp /tmp$|CVS|TAGS|\.(svn|git|DS_Store)/
signing_key_file: ~/.gem/gem-private_key.pem
signing_cert_file: ~/.gem/gem-public_cert.pem
publish_on_announce: true
- user: user
  password: password
  url: url
  blog_id: blog_id
    mt_convert_breaks: markdown

Now let’s try rake check_manifest. If everything is in order (no files missing or waiting to get added). You will see:

rm -r doc
rm -r pkg
rm Manifest.tmp

Let’s create a new Todo.txt file and let’s retry rake check_manifest. Now you will see a diff:

@@ -2,4 +2,5 @@

Using the release task to upload (push) your gem to RubyGems.org

Next, let’s upload (push) the gem to RubyGems.org using the release task.

Before you can upload to RubyGems.org you will need to setup an account and save your RubyGems.org API key on your computer. Issue the command to store your RubyGems.org API key on your computer (only needed the first time):

$ curl -u carlos https://rubygems.org/api/v1/api_key.yaml > ~/.gem/credentials

Now you’re ready to use hoe to upload (push) your gem to RubyGems.org without requiring to enter a user and password. Run the command rake release and pass along the required release version. Example:

$ rake release VERSION=0.1.0

Check your RubyGems.org project page (e.g. rubygems.org/gems/hellohoe) if it all worked. Note, that it will take a minute or more until your uploaded gem gets added to the public RubyGems index. You can check if your gem is available using the list command with the -r (remote) switch. Example:

$ gem list hellohoe -r


hellohoe (0.1.0)

That’s it.

Bonus Tip by Ryan Davis: Quick Starter Templates with sow

Ryan Davis writes: The easiest way to get started with hoe is to use its included command-line tool sow:

$ sow hellohoe

That will create a new directory hellohoe with a skeletal project inside. You need to edit the Rakefile with developer information in order to meet the minimum requirements of a working gemspec. You should also go fix all the things it points out as being labeled with FIX in the README.txt file.

(Source: Hoe PDF Booklet; 6 Pages)

Find Out More

Hoe References

Gems References