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Could not locate Gemfile or .bundle/ directory

When I view an error log from Forestry I see: Could not locate Gemfile or .bundle/ directory

What this error means

Gemfiles include a list of project dependencies and where to find them. Bundler is a dependency manager for the Ruby programming language that can read Gemfiles, resolve the dependency graph and install those gems. Jekyll is a ruby application and can use Bundler to manage your project dependencies. Forestry requires that your Jekyll projects contain a Gemfile at the root of the repository.

This error message typically means that your Jekyll project doesn’t have a Gemfile. This document will help you to create a Gemfile for your project so that you can use Forestry to build your project and unlock our powerful Preview and Publish functionality.

Jekyll also allows several methods to specify plugins, including using your project Gemfile. Forestry will continue to support all of these options specifically for jekyll plugin dependencies.

But my project works fine when I build it on my machine

This can happen when you can have gems installed globally on your machine. Since Forestry’s architecture builds your sites in the cloud we need a way to specify to the cloud computer what code it needs to successfully build your site. The Gemfile serves this purpose.

Fixing the issue

Testing that the Gemfile works locally

To test this you can open a command line, navigate to your project repo and execute the command:

bundle exec jekyll build

If your site builds and you don’t see any errors, your project should also build in Forestry. If it still doesn’t please contact support and we can help.

Adding a Gemfile to an existing project

In our opinion the easiest way to add a Gemfile to a project is to have Jekyll generate the Gemfile for you, then commit that file to your project repo and push it to your source provider. To achieve you’ll need to:

  • open a command line
  • navigate to the project directory
  • make sure you have a clean working tree
  • generate a Gemfile with bundle init
  • add project’s dependencies by manually editing the Gemfile or using bundle addcommand.
  • install the dependencies with bundler by running bundle install
  • test that the project works the way that you expect it to with bundler
  • commit and push those changes with git

In bash this would correspond to the following set of commands:

Note that the “#” and everything after are comments to describe what the command should do.
cd my-jekyll-project

git status

# you can use "git stash" to set aside any work
# in progress you might have

# this command will generate a template Gemfile,
# calculate the dependency graph and install the
# dependencies with bundler
bundle init

# Now you can make any changes you need to the
# Gemfile. See 
# for a basic example

# this command will test that the gemfile works and
# serve your project to localhost:4000
bundle exec jekyll serve

# Open a web browser and go to the url localhost:4000
# to make sure your website looks as expected

git add Gemfile Gemfile.lock
git commit -m "Dependency management handling via bundler"
git push

# If you did stash any work above, reapply it
# now with "git stash pop"

Going forward, Forestry recommends that you prepend all your jekyll commands with bundle exec like we have in the example above. That way Forestry previews and publishes should match the experience you have on your computer when you serve and build with Jekyll.

If there are any questions or if you run into any issues please don’t hesitate to contact our support team.

Last updated on February 22, 2018