Redmine plugins should be gems

Redmine has a pretty good plugin mechanism. This has resulted in a ton of plugins, most of which are still distributed like in the good old days:

  1. Get the source from somewhere
  2. Copy it to the plugins directory

Distributing your plugins as gems is a vastly better solution.

Simple installation

Two steps, which should be fairly familiar to anybody installing Redmine:

  1. Add to Gemfile.local: gem "gem-name"
  2. bundle

That’s it.

Better versioning

With gems your plugins version becomes a first-class citizen. While versioning can be handled using branches/tags or specific downloaded packages in the old way of doing things, tracking master directly from the repository is the most common way.

Dependency tracking

If your gem has dependencies on other libraries/gems, the gem spec is the perfect way to specify these. Properly configured, this will allow Bundler/RubyGems to fetch the necessary dependencies when installing, making the installation even easier.

Installation from source is still possible

Thanks to Bundler, you can still grab the plugin from the git source repository:

gem "gem-name", :git => ""

… or a tag or a branch or any of the other git options from Bundler.

Just do it

So what are you waiting for? Go forth and distribute your Redmine plugins as gems.