Yesterday I’ve started (after trying to restart Passenger) to see this exception coming out from Apache error.log:

[ pid=5098 thr=5896300 file=utils.rb:176 time=2012-08-31 19:00:45.293 ]:
*** Exception PhusionPassenger::UnknownError in 
PhusionPassenger::ClassicRails::ApplicationSpawner ((<unknown>): 
found a tab character that violate intendation while scanning a plain scalar at line 49 in 11
(Psych::SyntaxError)) (process 5098, thread #<Thread:0x00000000b3f0d8>):

Passenger ApplicationSpawner was endlessly creating new instances of my app, because the previous onces needed to be shutdown because of this error. It was quite obvious for me, that the error came from invalid yaml file (Psych::SyntaxError), however stack trace looked like this:

from /usr/local/lib/ruby/1.9.1/psych.rb:203:in `parse'
from /usr/local/lib/ruby/1.9.1/psych.rb:203:in `parse_stream'
from /usr/local/lib/ruby/1.9.1/psych.rb:151:in `parse'
from /usr/local/lib/ruby/1.9.1/psych.rb:127:in `load'
from /gems/settingslogic-2.0.8/lib/settingslogic.rb:114:in `initialize'
from /gems/settingslogic-2.0.8/lib/settingslogic.rb:71:in `new'
from /gems/settingslogic-2.0.8/lib/settingslogic.rb:71:in `instance'
from /gems/settingslogic-2.0.8/lib/settingslogic.rb:77:in `method_missing'
from /home/httpd/
from /gems/activesupport-3.2.8/lib/active_support/dependencies.rb:245:in `load'
from /gems/activesupport-3.2.8/lib/active_support/dependencies.rb:245:in `block in load'
from /gems/activesupport-3.2.8/lib/active_support/dependencies.rb:236:in `load_dependency'
from /gems/activesupport-3.2.8/lib/active_support/dependencies.rb:245:in `load'
from /gems/railties-3.2.8/lib/rails/engine.rb:588:in `block (2 levels) in <class:Engine>'
from /gems/railties-3.2.8/lib/rails/engine.rb:587:in `each'
from /gems/railties-3.2.8/lib/rails/engine.rb:587:in `block in <class:Engine>'
from /gems/railties-3.2.8/lib/rails/initializable.rb:30:in `instance_exec'
from /gems/railties-3.2.8/lib/rails/initializable.rb:30:in `run'
from /gems/railties-3.2.8/lib/rails/initializable.rb:55:in `block in run_initializers'
from /gems/railties-3.2.8/lib/rails/initializable.rb:54:in `each'
from /gems/railties-3.2.8/lib/rails/initializable.rb:54:in `run_initializers'
from /gems/railties-3.2.8/lib/rails/application.rb:136:in `initialize!'
from /gems/railties-3.2.8/lib/rails/railtie/configurable.rb:30:in `method_missing'

Ok, bot how to find the file with invalid yaml syntax? In my case, this exception was raised when SettingsLogic could not parse the given yaml file. So I’ve decided to hookup into it, just before the parsing, so I would be able to print out the invalid file. To do so I’ve edited /gems/settingslogic-2.0.8/lib/settingslogic.rb file. If you go to line 114 of this file, you will see something like this:

hash = YAML.load(
if self.class.namespace
  hash = hash[self.class.namespace] or return missing_key("Missing setting '#{self.class.namespace}' in #{hash_or_file}")

So in order to print the invalid file name we just need to add:

p hash_or_file

just before the YAML.load method execution. After this, it was really easy to find an invalid line in my yaml file.