[UPDATE: You no longer need to do most of the steps below in recent versions of NodeJS. RailsInstaller/RubyInstaller should work just by installing NodeJS.]

If you’ve tried using RailsInstaller or RailsFTW in Windows 8, you might think it works out of the box — that is, until you open a page that uses the asset pipeline and get a cryptic message related to your CSS/JS.

The reason for this is that the built-in JScript runtime is incompatible with Rails. You need to install Node.js and make it the primary runtime for Rails to work.

The easiest way to do this is:

  1. Install Node.js
  2. Run Node.js » “Node.js command prompt”
  3. Get the path of node.exe via “path” command. You’ll get something like:
    PATH=C:\Users\bry\AppData\Roaming\npm;C:\Program Files\nodejs\;C:\Program Files...

    Get the “C:\Users\bry\AppData\Roaming\npm;C:\Program Files\nodejs\;” part.

    Tip: right click command prompt window » Poperties » tick QuickEdit Mode so you can select and right click to copy to clipboard.

  4. Edit the setup_environment.bat for RailsInstaller (e.g. C:\RailsInstaller\Ruby2.0.0\setup_environment.bat, Notepad will do), find the following line
    SET PATH=%RUBY_DIR%\bin;%RUBY_DIR%\lib\ruby\gems\1.9.1\bin;%ROOT_DIR%\DevKit\bin;%PATH%

    for RailsFTW this will be setrbvars.bat (e.g. C:\RailsFTW200402\bin\setrbvars.bat) and the line will be:


    and add the Node.js path after the SET PATH= e.g for RailsInstaller:

    SET PATH=C:\Users\bry\AppData\Roaming\npm;C:\Program Files\nodejs\;%RUBY_DIR%\bin;%RUBY_DIR%\lib\ruby\gems\1.9.1\bin;%ROOT_DIR%\DevKit\bin;%PATH%

    for RailsFTW:

    SET PATH=C:\Users\bry\AppData\Roaming\npm;C:\Program Files\nodejs\;%RUBY_BIN%;%PATH%
  5. At this point, RailsInstaller » “Command Prompt with Ruby and Rails” and RailsFTW » “Start Command Prompt with Ruby” will now have Node.js as the runtime.
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