Forem Creators and Builders

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How to access and debug the Forem Server's underlying Rails App

Andrew Brown
・3 min read

Forem is built using Ruby on Rails but if you were to SSH into your Forem Server you may have a hard time finding it.

That is because Forem is running in containers via Podman.

So you can see all of the resources running on your Forem server by running:

sudo podman ps -a
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Which will list containers

CONTAINER ID  IMAGE                             COMMAND               CREATED             STATUS                 PORTS                                     NAMES
e5712942bcb9  k8s.gcr.io/pause:3.5                                    About a minute ago  Up About a minute ago  0.0.0.0:80->80/tcp, 0.0.0.0:443->443/tcp  ff711bf9eef1-infra
29a1cb7fe232  docker.io/darthsim/imgproxy:v2    imgproxy              About a minute ago  Up About a minute ago  0.0.0.0:80->80/tcp, 0.0.0.0:443->443/tcp  forem-imgproxy
94977d75c1ce  docker.io/library/postgres:11     postgres              About a minute ago  Up About a minute ago  0.0.0.0:80->80/tcp, 0.0.0.0:443->443/tcp  forem-postgresql
9bc4592eeb54  docker.io/library/redis:6.0.1     redis-server --ap...  About a minute ago  Up About a minute ago  0.0.0.0:80->80/tcp, 0.0.0.0:443->443/tcp  forem-redis
d7bdd1f6baae  localhost/forem/forem:current     bundle exec rails...  About a minute ago  Up About a minute ago  0.0.0.0:80->80/tcp, 0.0.0.0:443->443/tcp  forem-rails
e990ee4624ea  localhost/forem/forem:current     bundle exec sidek...  About a minute ago  Up 58 seconds ago      0.0.0.0:80->80/tcp, 0.0.0.0:443->443/tcp  forem-worker
2fa68d8d5c2b  quay.io/forem/openresty:1.17.8.2  /usr/bin/openrest...  55 seconds ago      Up 55 seconds ago      0.0.0.0:80->80/tcp, 0.0.0.0:443->443/tcp  forem-openresty
4e2db20b2690  docker.io/library/traefik:2.3.0   traefik               48 seconds ago      Up 48 seconds ago      0.0.0.0:80->80/tcp, 0.0.0.0:443->443/tcp  forem-traefik
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Now you shouldn't need to modify a Ruby on Rails running in production, but there are rare instances you may need to debug an issue, like say you are not sure if you Rails server is working so you want to access rails console.

Similar to Docker we can use the exec command to run bash to access these pods:

podman exec -it <Container ID> /bin/bash
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You can either provide the Container ID or Container Name.
So to access the Ruby on Rails server you can type:

sudo podman exec -it forem-rails /bin/bash
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Once you're inside you can ls and see the contents of the Rails app right there.

bash-5.0$ ls
CODE_OF_CONDUCT.md  FOREM_BUILD_SHA  Procfile          SECURITY.md  config.ru          datadog         jest.config.js  postcss.config.js  svgo.config.js
CONTRIBUTING.md     Gemfile      Procfile.dev      app      container-compose.yml  db          jsconfig.json   postcss_error.log  testSetup.js
Containerfile       Gemfile.lock     Procfile.dev-hot  babel.config.js  cypress            docker-compose.yml  lib         public         tmp
Dockerfile      Guardfile        README.md         bin      cypress.dev.json       docs        log         release-tasks.sh   vendor
FOREM_BUILD_DATE    LICENSE.md       Rakefile          config       cypress.json           empty-module.js     package.json    scripts        yarn.lock
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A common tool to debug rails app is rails console which is an interactive shell with your Rails environment loaded.

bash-5.0$ RAILS_ENV=production bin/rails console
Loading production environment (Rails 6.1.4)
irb(main):001:0> Rails.env
=> "production"
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Another easy check is to send a GET request to the homepage via Curl:

bash-5.0$ curl -I localhost
HTTP/1.1 308 Permanent Redirect
Location: https://localhost/
Date: Thu, 22 Jul 2021 20:33:58 GMT
Content-Length: 18
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8
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So this shows us that the ruby server is taking in requests and giving back a response.

To exit console just type exit

To exit the pod back to your Forem OS type exit

If you are just looking to access Rails Console Forem has their own convient tool called ForemCtl so you can just type:

foremctl console
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Its the same as logging into a pod and running bin/rails console

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