Getting Beast up and Running on Dreamhost (for the Truly Lazy)

Though dreamhost offers phpBB as one of their one-click install goodies (ergo it is the easiest to install of all forums since you almost don’t have to do anything), I have been looking for something different. To me, phpBB’s interface was always quite unintuitive and too heavy – I wanted something smaller, easier, more compact. The problem was I did not know what should I search for – until I came across beast, a lightweight forum written in Ruby on Rails. It was love at the first sight!

When it comes to tools I am using, I am really language agnostic – this very blog uses WordPress (PHP), I am using Trac (Python) to track my projects, mediaWiki (PHP) is my preferred wiki etc – so even if it may seem so, I did not choose beast because it is written in Rails (although +1 for that :-)), but because of the design and ease of use. My first thought after trying it was ‘wow, this is as easy to use as a 37signals app’ – it’s really that intuitive and well designed!

Well, this sounds fine and all, but installation on dreamhost was a different story. Thanks God I have found a superb, step by step HOWTO here. However, even after following all the steps, I got ‘incomplete headers’ and other problems, which I have managed to fix – here are some additional comments to the HOWTO:

6. You can forget about this point; as the HOWTO says, it is already installed on DH and it will work without any problems.
7. Forget about ‘development’ and ‘test’, however be sure to get ‘production’ right, as the next step will not work otherwise. It should look something like this:

  adapter: mysql
  database: beast_prod
  username: us3r
  password: p4ss
  port: 3306

8. For me it worked only *with* the RAILS_ENV=production parameter specified.
9. You can change the salt to anything – it just must not stay the same. The easiest thing is to add or remove a random character from the string.
12. The shebang should be updated to #!/usr/bin/ruby
13. The || should be removed, i.e. it should read:

ENV[‘RAILS_ENV’] = ‘production’

14. Make sure you change the permission of those directories only – I have changed everything recursively, destroying the executable flag of dispatch.fcgi :-).

Now you should apply the ‘GetText patch’ – it can be found later in the thread. After you should be up and running!

After playing around, I have found that the user listing is not working – fortunately I have found this as well in the forum. The solution is:
app/views/users/index.rhtml line 3 should be modified to

%lt;% form_tag '', :method => 'get' do -%>

Enjoy this great forum!