The presentation layer you always wanted for your Rails applications


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RailsPresenter will help you to clean up your views and avoid helpers hell.


# app/views/purchase_orders/show.html.haml

%h1 Purchase Order
    %strong Date:
    %span= localize(@purchase_order.date, format: :long)
    %strong Number:
    %span= @purchase_order.number

%h2 Customer
    %strong Name:
    %span= @purchase_order.customer.name
    %strong Phone:
    %span= @purchase_order.customer.phone || '------'
    %strong Email:
    %span= mail_to(@purchase_order.customer.email)

        %th%th Quantity
        %th Item
        %th Unit Price
        %th Discount
        %th Amount

      - @purchase_order.items.includes(:product).each_with_index do |item, index|
          %td= index + 1
          %td= number_with_precision(item.quantity)
          %td= item.product.name
          %td= number_to_currency(item.unit_price)
          %td= number_to_percentage(item.discount)
          %td= number_to_currency(item.amount)

    %strong Subtotal:
    %span= number_to_currency(@purchase_order.subtotal)
    %strong Vat:
    %span= number_to_currency(@purchase_order.vat)
    %strong Total:
    %span= number_to_currency(@purchase_order.total)


# app/views/purchase_orders/show.html.haml

- present(@purchase_order) do |order_presenter|

  %h1 Purchase Order
  = order_presenter.with_attrs :date, :number

  %h2 Customer
  = order_presenter.customer.with_attrs :name, :phone, :email

        %th%th Quantity
        %th Item
        %th Unit Price
        %th Discount
        %th Amount

      - order_presenter.items.each_with_index do |item_presenter, index|
          %td= index + 1
          %td= item_presenter.quantity
          %td= item_presenter.product
          %td= item_presenter.unit_price
          %td= item_presenter.discount
          %td= item_presenter.amount

  = order_presenter.with_attrs :subtotal, :vat, :total

How did we get here?

# app/presenters/purchase_order_presenter.rb

class PurchaseOrderPresenter < RailsPresenter::Base
  present :customer

  present :items do

  format :subtotal, :vat, :total, with: :number_to_currency

  def date
    h.localize(super, format: :long)
# app/presenters/customer_presenter.rb

class CustomerPresenter < RailsPresenter::Base
  def email
    h.mail_to super
# app/presenters/item_presenter.rb

class ItemPresenter < RailsPresenter::Base
  present :product

  format :quantity, with: :number_with_precision
  format :unit_price, :amount, with: :number_to_currency
  format :discount, with: :number_to_percentage
# app/presenters/product_presenter.rb

class ProductPresenter < RailsPresenter::Base

How does it work?

Basically there are two main components, the presenter object and the #present helper method.

The presenter object

You can think of a presenter as a mix between a domain model object and a view template, every method call not defined in the current class will be forwarded to the original domain model object, besides you can access all the view template functionality through the #h method. Also the #target method will get you the unmodified original domain model object.

class ProductPresenter < RailsPresenter::Base

  def image
    h.link_to(h.image_tag(super), h.product_path(target))


The #present helper method

The helper method #present it's used to instantiate new presenter objects, it takes any object, an array of objects or an ActiveRecord::Relation and returns the corresponding presenter instances.

present(Customer.new).map(&:class) # => CustomerPresenter
present([Customer.new, Product.new]).map(&:class) # => [CustomerPresenter, ProductPresenter]
present(Product.limit(2).order(:name))).map(&:class) # => [ProductPresenter, ProductPresenter]

This method determines the name of the presenter class from the target object, for example a Project object would instantiate a ProjectPresenter object. If the assumed presenter class doesn't exist it will return the unmodified target object.

You can pass an optional block too, in fact this the intended usage of the helper in your views:

present(@purchase_order) do |purchase_order_presenter|


Present associations

Define the associated objects that you want to get automatically presented.

class Post
  has_many :comments
  belongs_to :user

class PostPresenter < RailsPresenter::Base
  present :comments, :user

post_presenter = present(Post.last)

post_presenter.comments.first.class # => CommentPresenter
post_presenter.user.class # => UserPresenter

Format attributes with rails helpers

Configure in your presenter class how you want your attributes to be formatted for display.

class InvoicePresenter < RailsPresenter::Base
  format :net_amount, :total_amount, with: :number_to_currency
  format :vat_percentage, with: :number_to_percentage

invoice_presenter = present(Invoice.last)

invoice_presenter.net_amount # => $234,56
invoice_presenter.vat_percentage # => 10,5%

Nil Formatter

RailsPresenter will format any attribute with a nil value with a more descriptive string. (In future versions this string will be configurable)

purchase_order.description # => nil

present(purchase_order).description # => '----'

Show your object attributes in a consistent and DRY way

Use the default partial to show your object's attributes or write your own.

user_presenter.with_attrs :first_name, :last_name, :email

This helper will render the following partial passing it a hash named attrs_hash that represents the names and values for the given attributes.

# shared/_show_with_attrs.html.erb

<div class="show-with-attrs">
  <% attrs_hash.each do |name, value| %>
      <strong><%= "#{name.to_s.titleize}: " %></strong>
      <span><%= value %></span>
  <% end %>

If you define your own partial with the same name inside the views/shared directory it will override the provided default.

Teach your objects how to represent themselves

To take advantage of Rails calling #to_s before rendering an object inside a view template, RailsPresenter redefines this method to call a #name method if it is defined. (In future versions this will be configurable and you will be able to define an array of methods to try before using default #to_s behavior) So if you have the right method defined, you can just drop your object in a view template and without calling any method it will represent itself.

# contacts/show.html.haml

= @contact # => "#<Contact:0xc1ad978>"

= @contact.name # => 'John Doe'

= present(@contact) # => 'John Doe'

Automagic links

Set the location of your resources once and get free links everywhere.

class CommentPresenter
  location :@post, :@comment

comment_presenter.link_to_self # => "<a href="/posts/32/comments/21">Comment Name</a>"

You can use it with namespaced resources or has_one relationships

class ProfilePresenter
  location :dashboard, :@user, :profile

  def name
    "#{user.name}'s Profile"


# => "<a href="dashboard/users/12/profile">John Doe's Profile</a>"

By default RailsPresenter will call #to_s to get the text to be used inside the anchor, but you can pass a custom value too:

profile_presenter.link_to_self text: 'View your Profile'

# => "<a href="dashboard/users/12/profile">View your Profile</a>"

To get the parent resources RailsPresenter will try to get an instance variable with the same name as the parent, and if can't find any it will try to get it from an accessor method in the target object. In the example above it would try first to get a @user instance variable and if can't find it, it will call profile_presenter.target.user.

Use super at will

You can very easily add functionality on top of what RailsPresenter already provides, you just have to redefine your method and call super, class inheritance, module mixin, everything works as expected, as RailsPresenter uses a set of well identified (not anonymous) modules to extend functionality.

class SupplierPresenter < CompanyPresenter; end
class CompanyPresenter < RailsPresenter::Base; end


# =>

#      [SupplierPresenter,
#       SupplierPresenter::NumberToCurrency,
#       SupplierPresenter::SupplierPresenterAssociations,
#       SupplierPresenter::BlankAttributes,
#       CompanyPresenter,
#       CompanyPresenter::BlankAttributes,
#       RailsPresenter::Base,
#       etc, etc...]

Are you crazy? We already have Draper!!

Well yes, Draper it's an amazing library and it inspired RailsPresenter in many ways (and was developed by people way more smarter than me), so I will try to illustrate what motivated me to reinvent the wheel.

At a basic level both provide the same functionality, but for my personal needs I find Draper too complex and with too many options, I prefer a simpler interface and good conventions, besides RailsPresenter implements a set of presentation related functionality on top of basic delegation as you can see on the aforementioned features. Additionally RailsPresenter it's meant to be used only inside the views, through the #present helper, so it doesn't provides any controller related functionality.

On the other side Draper has a much more fine-grained control over the methods delegated to the target object, RailsPresenter just will delegate every method called not defined in the presenter.


Decorating a single object

# Draper way


# RailsPresenter way


Decorating a collection

# Draper way

Article.popular.decorate # this only works for an ActiveRecord relation
[Article.first, Comment.last, User.find(3)].decorate # you can't do this

# RailsPresenter way

present([Article.first, Comment.last, User.find(3)]) # you can decorate arbitrary arrays

Decorating associations

# Draper way

class Article < ActiveRecord::Base
  # I think the following scope it's completely view related and doesn't belongs here
  def self.comments_with_author_included_and_ordered_by_created_at

class ArticleDecorator < Draper::Decorator
  decorates_association :comments, scope: :comments_with_author_included_and_ordered_by_created_at

# RailsPresenter way

class ArticlePresenter < RailsPresenter::Base
  present :comments do



For any given version, check .travis.yml to see what Ruby versions are being tested for compatibility.


Add this line to your application's Gemfile:

gem 'rails_presenter'

And then execute:

$ bundle

Or install it yourself as:

$ gem install rails_presenter


  1. Fork it
  2. Create your feature branch (git checkout -b my-new-feature)
  3. Commit your changes (git commit -am 'Add some feature')
  4. Push to the branch (git push origin my-new-feature)
  5. Create new Pull Request


MIT License. Copyright 2013 Diego Mónaco