RAKE – Ruby Make

This package contains Rake, a simple ruby build program with capabilities similar to make.

Rake has the following features:

  • Rakefiles (rake’s version of Makefiles) are completely defined in standard Ruby syntax. No XML files to edit. No quirky Makefile syntax to worry about (is that a tab or a space?)

  • Users can specify tasks with prerequisites.

  • Rake supports rule patterns to synthesize implicit tasks.

  • Flexible FileLists that act like arrays but know about manipulating file names and paths.

  • A library of prepackaged tasks to make building rakefiles easier. For example, tasks for building tarballs and publishing to FTP or SSH sites. (Formerly tasks for building RDoc and Gems were included in rake but they’re now available in RDoc and RubyGems respectively.)

  • Supports parallel execution of tasks.


Gem Installation

Download and install rake with the following.

gem install rake

Normal Installation

You can download the source tarball of the latest version of Rake from

Extract the tarball and run

% ruby install.rb

from its distribution directory.


Simple Example

First, you must write a “Rakefile” file which contains the build rules. Here’s a simple example:

task :default => [:test]

task :test do
  ruby "test/unittest.rb"

This Rakefile has two tasks:

  • A task named “test”, which - upon invocation - will run a unit test file in Ruby.

  • A task named “default”. This task does nothing by itself, but it has exactly one dependency, namely the “test” task. Invoking the “default” task will cause Rake to invoke the “test” task as well.

Running the “rake” command without any options will cause it to run the “default” task in the Rakefile:

% ls
Rakefile     test/
% rake
(in /home/some_user/Projects/rake)
ruby test/unittest.rb
....unit test output here...

Type “rake –help” for all available options.

More Information


Source Repository

Rake is currently hosted at github. The github web page is github.com/jimweirich/rake. The public git clone URL is

  • git://github.com/jimweirich/rake.git

Running the Rake Test Suite

If you wish to run the unit and functional tests that come with Rake:

  • Install the ‘flexmock’ gem

  • Install the ‘session’ gem in order to run the functional tests.

  • CD into the top project directory of rake.

  • Type one of the following:

    rake                  # If you have a version of rake installed
    ruby -Ilib bin/rake   # If you do not have a version of rake installed.

Issues and Bug Reports

Feature requests and bug reports can be made here

Issues and bug reports can also be tracked here:

Online Resources

Rake References

Presentations and Articles about Rake

Other Make Reinvisionings …

Rake is a late entry in the make replacement field. Here are links to other projects with similar (and not so similar) goals.


Ryan Dlugosz

For the initial conversation that sparked Rake.

[email protected]

For the initial patch for rule support.

Tilman Sauerbeck <[email protected]>

For the recursive rule patch.


Rake is available under an MIT-style license.

:include: MIT-LICENSE


The Rake homepage is rake.rubyforge.org. You can find the Rake RubyForge page at rubyforge.org/projects/rake.

Feel free to submit commits or feature requests. If you send a patch, remember to update the corresponding unit tests. In fact, I prefer new feature to be submitted in the form of new unit tests.

For other information, feel free to ask on the ruby-talk mailing list (which is mirrored to comp.lang.ruby) or contact jim dot weirich at gmail.com.

Other stuff


Jim Weirich <[email protected]>


Ruby 1.8.6 or later


Copyright 2003-2008 by Jim Weirich. Released under an MIT-style license. See the LICENSE file included in the distribution.


This software is provided “as is” and without any express or implied warranties, including, without limitation, the implied warranties of merchantibility and fitness for a particular purpose.