Sometimes everyone needs a break

I’ve been working through – and enjoying – the EdX/Berkeley CS169 course for the past couple of months. With a bit of a break between the two halves, I thought I’d start a small Rails project of my own. After including ‘rspec-rails’ in my Gemfile, I ran bundle install and then

$ rails g rspec:install
Could not find generator rspec:install

This was bad. I naturally blamed the gem first, and spent an awful lot of time digging for an answer. At one point, as a control, I added the ‘cucumber-rails’ gem

$ rails g cucumber:install
Could not find generator cucumber:install

This was much worse. The gems were installed and bundled, no errors, no missing dependencies. I went as far as installing the latest Ruby, creating a new gemset, reinstalling Rails, …

Could not find generator ...

Running ‘rails g’ only showed the built-in Rails generators: model, controller, etc. None of the gem generators would show up. This meant no devise, no foundation, no bootstrap, no hundreds of other gems that I haven’t used or that have not even been written yet. I dug deeper, hitting pages 3 and 4 of my Google searches, looking at questions and answers from 2, 3, 4 years ago. Nothing.

It was late. I turned off the computer, which I rarely do, and went to bed.

In the morning, everything worked.

I couldn’t help but remember Tom Knight and the Lisp Machine:

A novice was trying to fix a broken Lisp machine by turning the power off and on.

Knight, seeing what the student was doing, spoke sternly: “You cannot fix a machine by just power-cycling it with no understanding of what is going wrong.”

Knight turned the machine off and on.

The machine worked.

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