IntelliJ IDEA 2021.2 Help


Rake is a popular task runner for Ruby and Rails applications. For example, Rails provides the predefined Rake tasks for creating databases, running migrations, and performing tests. You can also create custom tasks to automate specific actions - run code analysis tools, backup databases, and so on.

IntelliJ IDEA provides a convenient way to run, debug, and reload Rake tasks. Moreover, you can use run/debug configurations to run tasks with specific parameters: you can pass task arguments, specify environment variables, and so on.

Before running a Rake task

  1. Make sure the 'rake' gem is installed to the project SDK.

  2. Check that the Rakefile is located in the project's root.

Run a task

IntelliJ IDEA allows you to run an arbitrary Rake task. For example, let’s see how to run the db:migrate task required for migrating a database in the Rails application:

Run a task using Run Anything

  1. Do one of the following:

    • Press Ctrl twice and start typing db:migrate in the invoked popup. Select rake db:migrate from the list and press Enter.

      Run Anything / rake db:migrate

    • From the main menu, choose Tools | Run Rake Task. In the invoked popup, start typing db:migrate, select db:migrate and press Enter.

  2. In the invoked Execute 'db:migrate' dialog, select the required migration version and environment. Click OK.

    Execute db:migrate

Run a task from the editor

  1. In the *.rake file, do one of the following:

    • Click the Run Rake Task button on the gutter next to the required task.

    • Place the caret at the required task name and press Alt+Enter.

  2. Depending on whether you want to run or debug a task, select Run '<task name>' or Debug '<task name>'. Press Enter.

After you've run a Rake task, IntelliJ IDEA automatically creates a special profile - a temporary run/debug configuration. You can customize settings of this configuration, for example, you can pass task arguments, specify environment variables, and so on. Then, you can save the customized configuration to quickly run this configuration in the future.

Run a task using a run/debug configuration

IntelliJ IDEA automatically creates the Rake run configurations for running the Minitest and RSpec tests in Rails applications - test and spec. You can run these tasks or any other task with the existing run/debug configurations in one of the following ways:

  • Press Ctrl twice to invoke the Run Anything popup. Start typing the required configuration name, select it from the list, and press Enter.

  • Select the desired configuration on the toolbar and click Run Shift+F10.

  • Select Run | Run... Alt+Shift+F10 from the main menu, select the desired configuration from the list and press Enter.

Reload Rake tasks

Sometimes it is necessary to reload Rake tasks. For example, this can be useful if you created a custom task and need to run it. To reload Rake tasks, do one of the following:

  • Press Ctrl+Shift+A and start typing Reload Rake Tasks. Select this item from the list and press Enter.

  • From the main menu, select Tools | Run Rake Task. In the invoked popup, select rake --tasks and press Enter.

Configure parameters for running a task

When you run a Rake task for the first time, IntelliJ IDEA automatically creates a corresponding Rake temporary configuration, which can be saved. If necessary, you can create the Rake run/debug configuration manually from the predefined template.

To customize the run/debug configuration, do the following:

  1. Open the Run/Debug Configuration dialog in one of the following ways:

    • Select Run | Edit Configurations from the main menu.

    • With the Navigation bar visible (View | Appearance | Navigation Bar), choose Edit Configurations from the run/debug configuration selector.

    • Press Alt+Shift+F10 and then press 0.

  2. In the opened Run/Debug Configurations dialog, select the required configuration in the Rake group, and specify its settings.

    Run/Debug Configurations: Rake

Run/debug configuration: Rake

Configuration tab

NameIn this field, specify the name of the current run/debug configuration.
Task name

Specify the name of the Rake task to be executed. Note that you can use autocompletion (Ctrl+Space) to see the available tasks.


Specify arguments to be passed to the Rake task. These arguments should be separated with commas. For example:

  • Create the sample Rake task as shown below:

    task :sample, [:first, :last] do |t, args| puts "First name is #{args.first}" puts "Last name is #{args.last}" end
  • Create the Rake run configuration and specify its settings in the following way:

    • Task name: sample

    • Arguments: "Andrew", "Fuller"

  • Run the created configuration. The program will return:

    First name is Andrew Last name is Fuller
Turn on invoke/execute tracing, enable full backtrace --traceEnable the --trace Rake command-line option.
Do a dry run without executing actions -dry-runEnable the --dry-run Rake command-line option.
Display the tasks and dependencies, then exit --prereqsEnable the --prereqs Rake command-line option.
Attach test runner UI for frameworksDepending on the used testing framework, enable the required test runner UI for performing tests.
Working directorySpecify the working directory used by the running task. For example, this option is in effect when the running script loads other scripts by relative paths.
Environment variables

Specify the list of environment variables as the name-value pairs, separated with semi-colons. Alternatively, click the Browse button to create variables and specify their values in the Environment Variables dialog.

Ruby arguments

Specify the command-line arguments to be passed to the Ruby interpreter.

When such a run/debug configuration is launched, IntelliJ IDEA analyzes the running processes, and does one of the following, depending on the presence of the running Nailgun server:

  • If there is no running Nailgun server, or if there is a Nailgun server on a non-default port, or with a different gemset, then IntelliJ IDEA suggests to specify the desired port number.

  • If a Nailgun server runs on the default port with the required gemset, IntelliJ IDEA does nothing.

  • If a Nailgun server runs on a different port with the required gemset, then IntelliJ IDEA suggests to specify the desired port number.

  • If a Nailgun server runs on the default port with a different gemset, then IntelliJ IDEA deletes the --ng argument.

Classpath property is added to Nailgun settings.

Ruby SDKSpecify the desired Ruby interpreter. You can choose the project default Ruby SDK, or select a different one from the list of configured Ruby SDKs.
Last modified: 13 October 2021