Easy method to handle logic behind active links
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Creates a link tag of the given name using a URL created by the set of options. Please see documentation for link_to, as active_link_to is basically a wrapper for it. This method accepts an optional :active parameter that dictates if the given link will have an extra css class attached that marks it as 'active'.


When installing for Rails 3 applications add this to the Gemfile: gem 'active_link_to' and run bundle install.

For older Rails apps add config.gem 'active_link_to' in config/environment.rb and run rake gems:install. Or just checkout this repo into /vendor/plugins directory.

Super Simple Example

Here's a link that will have class attached if it happens to be rendered on page with path /users or any child of that page like /users/123

active_link_to 'Users', '/users'
# => <a href="/users" class="active">Users</a>

This is exactly the same as:

active_link_to 'Users', '/users', :active => :inclusive
# => <a href="/users" class="active">Users</a>

Active Options

Here's available options that can be used as the :active value

  • Boolean -> true | false
  • Symbol -> :exclusive | :inclusive
  • Regex -> /regex/
  • Controller/Action Pair -> [[:controller], [:action_a, :action_b]]

More Examples

Most of the functionality of active_link_to depends on the current url. Specifically, request.fullpath value. We covered the basic example already, so let's try something more fun.

We want to highlight the link that matches immediate url, and not the children nodes as well

# For URL: /users will be active
active_link_to 'Users', users_path, :active => :exclusive
# => <a href="/users" class="active">Users</a>

# But for URL: /users/123 it will not be active
active_link_to 'Users', users_path, :active => :exclusive
# => <a href="/users">Users</a>

If we need to set link to be active based on some regular expression, we can do that as well. Let's try to activate links urls of which begin with 'use':

active_link_to 'Users', users_path, :active => /^\/use/

What if we need to mark link active for all URLs that match a particular controller, or action, or both? Or any number of those at the same time? Sure, why not:

# For matching multiple controllers and actions:
active_link_to 'User Edit', edit_user_path(@user), :active => [['people', 'news'], ['show', 'edit']]

# for matching all actions under given controllers:
active_link_to 'User Edit', edit_user_path(@user), :active => [['people', 'news'], []]

# for matching all controllers for a particular action
active_link_to 'User Edit', edit_user_path(@user), :active => [[], ['edit']]

Sometimes it should be easy as setting a true or false:

active_link_to 'Users', users_path, :active => true

More Options

You can specify active and inactive css classes for links:

active_link_to 'Users', users_path, :class_active => 'enabled'
# => <a href="/users" class="enabled">Users</a>

active_link_to 'News', news_path, :class_inactive => 'disabled'
# => <a href="/news" class="disabled">News</a>

Sometimes you want to replace link with a span if it's active:

active_link_to 'Users', users_path, :disable_active => true
# => <span class="active">Users</span>

If you are constructing navigation links it's helpful to wrap links in another tag, like <li> maybe:

active_link_to 'Users', users_path, :wrap_tag => :li
# => <li class="active"><a href="/users">Users</a></li>

Helper Methods

You may directly use methods that active_link_to relies on.

is_active_link? will return true or false based on the URL and value of the :active parameter:

is_active_link?(users_path, :inclusive)
# => true

active_link_to_class will return the css class:

active_link_to_class(users_path, :active => :inclusive)
# => 'active'


Copyright (c) 2009 Oleg Khabarov, The Working Group Inc. See LICENSE for details.