Nithin Bekal

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Disable unsafe rake tasks in Rails production environment

18 May 2015

In my previous post, I wrote about dropping and reseeding the DB of your Rails app. This is useful in development, but you might want to disable such tasks in production. Let’s look at how we can do that.

First, let’s define a rake task that simply raises an exception if you run it in production environment:

# lib/tasks/skip_prod.rake
desc 'Raises exception if used in production'
task skip_prod: [:environment] do
  raise 'You cannot run this in production' if Rails.env.production?

The rake environment task loads the Rails environment and makes methods like Rails.env.production? available, so we added that as a dependency of our task. Now we can change the db:reseed task to run this before dropping the database.

# lib/tasks/db.rake
namespace :db do
  desc 'Drop, create, migrate then seed the development database'
  task reseed: [ 'skip_prod', 'db:drop', 'db:migrate', 'db:seed' ]

This ensures that the task always fails in production. But what about the other tasks that are already defined by Rails that could cause similar damage, like db:drop or db:reset? We could add the skip_prod dependency to these tasks.

# lib/tasks/db.rake
['db:drop', 'db:reset', 'db:seed'].each do |t|
  Rake::Task[t].enhance ['skip_prod']

The #enhance method adds skip_prod to the very beginning of the dependencies. So the exception is raised before the database is dropped.

Even if you have made sure that your data won’t get deleted by an accidental rake command, do make sure that you’ve set up regular backups of the database. You never know what else could mess up your data.

Hi, I’m Nithin Bekal, a software craftsman with over 7 years of experience in shipping web applications. I mostly use Ruby, but lately have also been exploring Elixir. Co-founder of, and helping organize Rubyconf India. Tweet to me at @nithinbekal.