Easy acitivity tracking for models - similar to Github's Public Activity
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PublicActivity Build Status

public_activity provides smooth activity tracking for your ActiveRecord models in Rails 3. Simply put: it records what has been changed or edited and gives you the ability to present those recorded activities to users - in a similar way Github does it.


Here is a simple example showing what this gem is about:

Example usage

Online demo

You can see an actual application using this gem here: http://public-activity-example.herokuapp.com/feed

The source code of the demo is hosted here: https://github.com/pokonski/activity_blog

Upgrading to 0.4

If you are using versions earlier than 0.4.0 please click here or scroll to the "Upgrading" section at the bottom of this README.

First time setup

Gem installation

You can install public_activity as you would any other gem:

gem install public_activity

or in your Gemfile:

gem 'public_activity'

Database setup

Create migration for activities and migrate the database (in your Rails project):

rails g public_activity:migration
rake db:migrate

Model configuration

Include PublicActivity::Model and add tracked to the model you want to keep track of:

class Article < ActiveRecord::Base
  include PublicActivity::Model

And now, by default create/update/destroy activities are recorded in activities table. This is all you need to start recording activities for basic CRUD actions.

Displaying activities

To display them you simply query the PublicActivity::Activity ActiveRecord model:

# notifications_controller.rb
def index
  @activities = PublicActivity::Activity.all

And in your views:

<% for activity in @activities %>
  <%= render_activity(activity) %>
<% end %>

Note: render_activity is a helper for use in view templates. render_activity(activity) can be written as activity.render(self) and it will have the same meaning.

You can also pass options to both activity#render and #render_activity methods, which are passed deeper to the render_partial method. A useful example would be to render activities wrapped in layout, which shares common elements of an activity, like a timestamp, owner's avatar etc.

<% for activity in @activities %>
  <%= render_activity(activity, :layout => :activity) %>
<% end %>

The activity will be wrapped with the app/views/layouts/activity layout, in the above example.

Activity views

Since version 0.4.0 you can use views to render activities. public_activity looks for views in app/views/public_activity, and this is now the default behaviour.

For example, if you have an activity with :key set to "activity.user.changed_avatar", the gem will look for a partial in app/views/public_activity/user/_changed_avatar.(erb|haml|slim|something_else).

Hint: the "activity." prefix in :key is completely optional and kept for backwards compatibility, you can skip it in new projects.

If a view file does not exist, then p_a falls back to the old behaviour and tries to translate the activity :key using I18n#translate method (see the section below).


Translations are used by the #text method, to which you can pass additional options in form of a hash. #render method uses translations when view templates have not been provided.

Translations should be put in your locale .yml files. To render pure strings from I18n Example structure:

    create: 'Article has been created'
    update: 'Someone has edited the article'
    destroy: 'Some user removed an article!'

This structure is valid for activities with keys "activity.article.create" or "article.create". As mentioned before, "activity." part of the key is optional.


There are a couple of major differences between 0.3 and 0.4 version. To upgrade, follow these steps:

  1. Add include PublicActivity::Model above tracked method call in your tracked models, like this:

    class Article < ActiveRecord::Base
      include PublicActivity::Model
  2. public_activity's config YAML file is no longer used (by default in config/pba.yml). Move your YAML contents to your config/locales/*.yml files.

    IMPORTANT: Locales are no longer rendered with ERB, this has been removed in favor of real view partials like in actual Rails apps. Read Activity views section above to learn how to use those templates.

  3. Generate and run migration which adds new column to activities table:

     rails g public_activity:migration_upgrade
     rake db:migrate


For more customization go here

Useful examples


Copyright (c) 2012 Piotrek Okoński, released under the MIT license