windshaft on ubuntu

Just set up Windshaft on Ubuntu for the first time, and since there were a few hiccups I figured I’d give a rough outline of my installation process:

# Use mapnik 2.2 (
# I was getting some errors with interactivity requests on an older version of
# mapnik
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mapnik/v2.2.0
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install libmapnik libmapnik-dev mapnik-utils python-mapnik
# Uninstall system gyp, it was causing problems for me when compiling mapnik
# node extensions, e.g. gyp 'module' object has no attribute 'script_main'
sudo aptitude remove gyp
# Use nvm ( instead of the package nodejs,
# which didn't seem to work for me, though that may have been tangled up with
# the mapnik 2.2 issue. Either way, nvm should install a working version of
# nodejs w/ npm.
curl | sh
nvm install 0.10.26 # or whatever works
# install windshaft with npm
npm install windshaft

I’m also using nginx and Passenger to serve the web app. I’ll assume you know how to install those two things and skip to my nginx conf:

http {
    passenger_root /path/to/passenger;
    passenger_ruby /path/to/ruby;
    passenger_nodejs /home/inaturalist/.nvm/v0.10.26/bin/node;
    server {
      listen 80;
      passenger_enabled on;
      passenger_app_root /path/to/app;
      passenger_document_root /path/to/app/public;
      error_log /var/log/nginx/your-error.log;
      access_log /var/log/nginx/your-access.log;

One thing that threw me for a while is that Passenger won’t work with older versions of node (see, so make sure you’re using 1.0 or higher.

Also note that console.log in Node will write to /var/log/nginx/error.log, not to one of your server’s custom log files.