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10 Gems you can't live without as a RoR Developer?


One of the key advantages that Ruby On Rails provides is the ability to build applications with low turnaround times by leveraging packaged libraries i.e. gems. RoR greatest advantage is the ease with which an enterprise can add functionality through packaged libraries i.e. gems. With these open-sourced gems, an enterprise can build the right features for a project. This, without wasting time and doing things right from scratch. Sifting through the various gems to find the best fit be a task. So here are 10 curated gems you just can’t live without as an enterprise deploying applications built on RoR. 


  • CanCan - Authorization: 
    CanCan is a simple way to define and access user permissions. All apps have an authorization scheme, generally setup ad-hoc that can lead to a messy view code. If while an application developers are struggling to make sense of the numerous if object.user == current_user statements in your views and controllers, it’s time to take a look at CanCan. CanCan centrally defines your app’s authorization scheme in an Ability model. You can then check to see if the current user is authorized to perform an action. You can also authorize controller actions and handle exceptions.
  • Smarter CSV – CSV Import: 
    Importing massive CSV files into an application’s database can be a challenging task. With Smarter CSV, developers can process the stream in smaller sections, an especially useful feature for projects where the existing import process times out on spreadsheets with large amounts of records.
  • Devise - Authentication:
    Any public-facing Rails app needs an authentication scheme, which is different from authorization. Authentication is necessary to determine user identity, commonly through a username and password combination. Devise does this with its advanced engine for providing models, controllers and views. Quite an active gem, Devise, in conjunction with omniauth, makes it easy to set-up Facebook and Twitter login buttons in less than a dozen lines of code.
  • Bundler – Audit: 
    With each update and fix, a program is that much vulnerable in terms of security risks. Bundler wins by performing a thorough audit of an application’s gem version. It subsequently produces a report of security issues that must be fixed. What’s more, each issue is given a level of criticality and upgrade solutions to simplify the developer’s life.
  • Paperclip - File Attachments: 
    Writing code to handle file uploads and image processing is often a task. Paperclip eliminates the need to restrict content types, defines storage locations and access a model’s associated attachment. When working with images, developers can define styles with corresponding resolutions for use-cases – profile sizes and thumbnails.
  • Will Paginate - Pagination: 
    When it comes to pagination, this is the best gem out there. Originally ported from PHP, it solves the pagination issues in just a few lines of code.
  • Rails ERD – ActiveRecord Diagrams: 
    When discovering the nitty-gritty of an existing application, learning how different models in a project relate to each other can be confusing. Rails ERD makes this easy by generating diagrams of ActiveRecord Models. This is of immense help for developers to visualize connections and dependencies, making it easier to learn visually.
  • Chartkick – Chart Creator: 
    With Chartkick, an enterprise can create stunning Javascript charts with just one line of code, saving time spent working with charting libraries. Even though Chartkick may not be an extensive data visualization tool and might not fit the bill when it comes to complex visualization requirement, it’s intuitiveness and responsiveness makes it an invaluable tool.
  • MetaTags – SEO-Friendly Rails Apps: 
    The SEO world sees experts guessing new aspects of Google’s algorithm every week. However, some constants have remained. MetaTags simplifies SEO by allowing developers to easily set all of the tags and descriptions for a web page. This gem handles canonical URLs, Twitter tags, titles, descriptions, and more.
  • Rack SSL Enforcer - HTTPS Redirection: 
    Now this is an incredibly simple gem that uses Rack to redirect non-HTTPS requests to the HTTPS equivalent. While the default configuration forces HTTPS on each request, it can be overridden to only require it on some URL patterns. Needless to say, this is a wonderfully simple solution, especially for securing an entire app.

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About The Author

Gopiraju M

Gopiraju M (Masters in CSE) is a full-stack developer at Navtech. He has experience of building over 100+ apps allows him to rapidly architect and design solutions. His ability to explain complex technologies in simple. He has a lot of passion for writing clean code and having a clean deployment/release process. Also, his practical ways have resulted in him becoming a popular speaker at colleges, universities, and conferences.