Easy file attachment management for ActiveRecord. This fork adds support for Rackspace Cloud Files. It will likely be deprecated soon in favor of the Fog provider in mainline paperclip.
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Paperclip-Cloudfiles is intended as an easy file attachment library for ActiveRecord and all attachments are served from Rackspace's Cloudfiles.

Some features include:

  • Files aren't saved to their final locations on disk, nor are they deleted if set to nil, until ActiveRecord::Base#save is called.
  • Validations are managed based on size and presence, if required.
  • It can transform its assigned image into thumbnails if needed, by installing ImageMagick (which, for most modern Unix-based systems, is as easy as installing the right packages).
  • Attached files are either saved to the filesystem, or to Rackspace Cloudfiles, and referenced in the browser by an easily understandable specification, which has sensible and useful defaults.

Note: The Thoughtbot guys have indicated that they don't want to pull any code into the official Paperclip mainline that they don't personally use on projects, so until they discover the joy of Cloud Files, this fork is available on RubyGems.org at http://rubygems.org/gems/paperclip-cloudfiles

The complete RDoc is online.

Changes in this repo

Allowed to refresh images of classes with namespaces. For example:

rake paperclip:refresh CLASS='User::Asset'


ImageMagick must be installed and Paperclip must have access to it. Run which convert (one of the ImageMagick utilities). It might return /usr/local/bin/convert or /usr/bin/convert.

Add the returned line to config/environments/development.rb) and to config/environments/production.rb):

Paperclip.options[:command_path] = "/usr/local/bin/"


Include the gem in your Gemfile (Rails 3 or Rails 2.x with Bundler):

gem 'cloudfiles'
gem 'cocaine' #a dependency that paperclilp didn't pick up yet
gem 'paperclip-cloudfiles', :require => 'paperclip'

(Rails 2 only) In your environment.rb:

config.gem "paperclip-cloudfiles", :lib => 'paperclip'

This is because the gem name and the library name don't match.

Quick Start

Create config/rackspace_cloudfiles.yml

  username: yourusernamehere
  api_key: yourapikeyhere

  container: dev_avatars

  container: test_avatars

  container: avatars

Declare that your model has an attachment with the has_attached_file method, and give it a name. In your model:

    class User < ActiveRecord::Base
      # More information about the has_attached_file options are available in the
      # documentation of Paperclip::ClassMethods.
      has_attached_file :avatar,
        :styles => { :medium => "300x300>",  :thumb => "100x100>" },
        :storage => :cloud_files,
        :cloudfiles_credentials => "#{Rails.root}/config/rackspace_cloudfiles.yml"

      # Validation Methods:
      validates_attachment_presence :avatar
      validates_attachment_content_type :avatar, :content_type => ['image/jpeg', 'image/png']
      validates_attachment_size :avatar, :in => 1..1.megabyte

Paperclip will wrap up up to four attributes (all prefixed with that attachment's name, so you can have multiple attachments per model if you wish) and give them a friendly front end.

In your migrations:

class AddAvatarColumnsToUser < ActiveRecord::Migration

  def self.up
      add_column :users, :avatar_file_name,    :string
      add_column :users, :avatar_content_type, :string
      add_column :users, :avatar_file_size,    :integer
      add_column :users, :avatar_updated_at,   :datetime

  def self.down
      remove_column :users, :avatar_file_name
      remove_column :users, :avatar_content_type
      remove_column :users, :avatar_file_size
      remove_column :users, :avatar_updated_at

In your edit and new views:

<% form_for :user, @user, :url => user_path, :html => { :multipart => true } do |form| %>
  <%= form.file_field :avatar %>
<% end %>

In your controller:

def create
  @user = User.create( params[:user] )

In your show view:

<%= image_tag @user.avatar.url %>
<%= image_tag @user.avatar.url(:medium) %>
<%= image_tag @user.avatar.url(:thumb) %>


The files that are assigned as attachments are, by default, placed in the directory specified by the :path option to has_attached_file. By default, this location is ":rails_root/public/system/:attachment/:id/:style/:filename". This location was chosen because on standard Capistrano deployments, the public/system directory is symlinked to the app's shared directory, meaning it will survive between deployments. For example, using that :path, you may have a file at


NOTE: This is a change from previous versions of Paperclip, but is overall a safer choice for the default file store.

You may also choose to store your files using Rackspace's Cloud Files service. You can find more information about Cloud Files storage at the description for Paperclip::Storage::CloudFile


Files on the local filesystem (and in the Rails app's public directory), and on Rackspace Cloudfiles, will be available to the internet at large. For the filesystem, if you require access control, it's possible to place your files in a different location. You will need to change both the :path and :url options in order to make sure the files are unavailable to the public. Both :path and :url allow the same set of interpolated variables.

Post Processing

Paperclip supports an extensible selection of post-processors. When you define a set of styles for an attachment, by default it is expected that those "styles" are actually "thumbnails". However, you can do much more than just thumbnail images. By defining a subclass of Paperclip::Processor, you can perform any processing you want on the files that are attached. Any file in your Rails app's lib/paperclip_processors directory is automatically loaded by paperclip, allowing you to easily define custom processors. You can specify a processor with the :processors option to has_attached_file:

has_attached_file :scan, :styles => { :text => { :quality => :better } },
                         :processors => [:ocr]

This would load the hypothetical class Paperclip::Ocr, which would have the hash "{ :quality => :better }" passed to it along with the uploaded file. For more information about defining processors, see Paperclip::Processor.

The default processor is Paperclip::Thumbnail. For backwards compatability reasons, you can pass a single geometry string or an array containing a geometry and a format, which the file will be converted to, like so:

has_attached_file :avatar, :styles => { :thumb => ["32x32#", :png] }

This will convert the "thumb" style to a 32x32 square in png format, regardless of what was uploaded. If the format is not specified, it is kept the same (i.e. jpgs will remain jpgs).

Multiple processors can be specified, and they will be invoked in the order they are defined in the :processors array. Each successive processor will be given the result of the previous processor's execution. All processors will receive the same parameters, which are what you define in the :styles hash. For example, assuming we had this definition:

has_attached_file :scan, :styles => { :text => { :quality => :better } },
                         :processors => [:rotator, :ocr]

then both the :rotator processor and the :ocr processor would receive the options "{ :quality => :better }". This parameter may not mean anything to one or more or the processors, and they are expected to ignore it.

NOTE: Because processors operate by turning the original attachment into the styles, no processors will be run if there are no styles defined.


Before and after the Post Processing step, Paperclip calls back to the model with a few callbacks, allowing the model to change or cancel the processing step. The callbacks are before_post_process and after_post_process (which are called before and after the processing of each attachment), and the attachment-specific before_<attachment>_post_process and after_<attachment>_post_process. The callbacks are intended to be as close to normal ActiveRecord callbacks as possible, so if you return false (specifically

  • returning nil is not the same) in a before_ filter, the post processing step will halt. Returning false in an after_ filter will not halt anything, but you can access the model and the attachment if necessary.

NOTE: Post processing will not even start if the attachment is not valid according to the validations. Your callbacks and processors will only be called with valid attachments.


Paperclip provides rspec-compatible matchers for testing attachments. See the documentation on Paperclip::Shoulda::Matchers for more information.


If you'd like to contribute a feature or bugfix: Thanks! To make sure your fix/feature has a high chance of being included, please read the following guidelines:

  1. Ask on the mailing list[http://groups.google.com/group/paperclip-plugin], or post a new GitHub Issue[http://github.com/thoughtbot/paperclip/issues].
  2. Make sure there are tests! We will not accept any patch that is not tested. It's a rare time when explicit tests aren't needed. If you have questions about writing tests for paperclip, please ask the mailing list.



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Thank you to all the contributors!

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Paperclip is Copyright © 2008-2011 thoughtbot. It is free software, and may be redistributed under the terms specified in the MIT-LICENSE file.