Here's a tip that may make your life a little simpler when you need to start a new Rails project. Don't use the
rails shell command.
We have a few people building Rails apps at work, and I wanted to make it dead simple for people to start a new Rails app and have it include all our standard customizations. Instead of hacking the generator for the rails command, I decided to use Subversion to help me out.
I ran the rails command one last time to create a pristine app. I checked it in to svn as the
exemplar project and went to town customizing it. I set up the usual svn stuff like ignoring logs and database.yml, added datbase.yml.example, set up externals for standard plugins, etc. Now starting a new app is just
svn copy /rails/exemplar /rails/new_app svn checkout /rails/new_app
Notice that I don't have to do the svn import for new projects. And the svn:ignores etc. are already there.
There are of course a few things you might want to tweak for new projects, like the session cookie name or anything else that uses the name of the app. And when you upgrade to a new version of Rails you'll need to run the upgrade scripts and such on each app. But with svn working for you, you can diff revisions to see what you need to update, which is also helpful.