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Rails 3.2+ and Pry - the best REPL

Make sure you create the following ~/.pryrc to allow loading your Rails environment when firing up pry.

# Load plugins (only those I whitelist)
Pry.config.should_load_plugins = false

# Launch Pry with access to the entire Rails stack.
# If you have Pry in your Gemfile, you can pass: ./script/console --irb=pry instead.
# If you don't, you can load it through the lines below :)
rails = File.join Dir.getwd, 'config', 'environment.rb'

if File.exist?(rails) && ENV['SKIP_RAILS'].nil?
  require rails

  if Rails.version[0..0] == "2"
    require 'console_app'
    require 'console_with_helpers'
  elsif Rails.version[0..0] == "3"
    require 'rails/console/app'
    require 'rails/console/helpers'
    warn "[WARN] cannot load Rails console commands (Not on Rails2 or Rails3?)"

if defined?(Rails) && Rails.env
  extend Rails::ConsoleMethods

You should also take a look at the pry-rails gem. The gist is also here for your convenience.

More details on setting up Pry can be found here.