Every Rails page has footnotes that link give request information and link back to your source via TextMate [extracted from Rails TextMate bundle project]
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New home

This plugin has new home at http://github.com/josevalim/rails-footnotes for Rails >~ 2.2

I'm waiting for your forks there. =)

Footnotes plugin for Rails (v3.3)

If you are developing in Rails you should know the plugin!

It displays footnotes in your application for easy debugging, such as sessions, request parameters, cookies, log tail, filter chain and routes.

Even more, it contains links to open files directly in textmate. And if Rails get an error, it appends Textmate links to backtrace file lines.


The current version is only Rails Edge (aka Rails 2.2) compatible. Scroll down to check how to install early versions.

If you just want a static copy of the plugin:

cd myapp
git clone git://github.com/drnic/rails-footnotes.git vendor/plugins/footnotes
rm -rf vendor/plugins/footnotes/.git

If you are using Git for your own app, then you could use Git sub-modules or the tool Braid.

Early versions

If you are running on Rails 2.1.x, you should use Footnotes v3.2.2:

cd myapp
git clone git://github.com/drnic/rails-footnotes.git vendor/plugins/footnotes
cd vendor/plugins/footnotes
git checkout v3.2.2
rm -rf ./.git

If you are running on Rails 2.0.x or Rails 1.x, you should use Footnotes v3.0:

cd myapp
git clone git://github.com/drnic/rails-footnotes.git vendor/plugins/footnotes
cd vendor/plugins/footnotes
git checkout v3.0
rm -rf ./.git

Remember that in Rails 1.x, after filters appear first than before filters in the Filters tab.


  • Footnotes are applied in all actions under development. If You want to change this behaviour, check the loader.rb file.

  • Some features only work by default if you are under MacOSX and using Textmate. If your editor supports out-of-the-box opening files like Textmate, e.g. txmt://open?url=file://path/to/file, you can put in your environment file the following line:

    Footnotes::Filter.prefix = "editor://open?file://"

    If it doesn't, you can enable this behavior in few steps. I've written a post about it here.

  • If you want to use your own stylesheet, you can disable the Footnotes stylesheet with:

    Footnotes::Filter.no_style = true

  • Footnotes are appended at the end of the page, but if your page has a div with id "footnotes_holder", Footnotes will be inserted into this div.

  • If you want to open multiple notes at the same time, just put in your enviroment:

    Footnotes::Filter.multiple_notes = true

  • Finally, you can cherry pick which notes you want to use, simply doing:

    Footnotes::Filter.notes = [:session, :cookies, :params, :filters, :routes, :queries, :log, :general]

Creating your own notes

Create your notes to integrate with Footnotes is easy.

  1. Create a Footnotes::Notes::YoursExampleNote class

  2. Implement the necessary methods (check abstract_note.rb file in lib/notes)

  3. Append yours example note in Footnotes::Filter.notes (usually at the end of your environment file or an initializer):

Footnotes::Filter.notes += [:yours_example]

To create a note that shows info about the user logged in your application (@current_user) you just have to do:

module Footnotes
  module Notes
    class CurrentUserNote < AbstractNote
      # Always receives a controller
      def initialize(controller)
        @current_user = controller.instance_variable_get("@current_user")

      # The name that will appear as legend in fieldsets
      def legend
        "Current user: #{@current_user.name}"

      # This Note is only valid if we actually found an user
      # If it's not valid, it won't be displayed
      def valid?

      # The fieldset content
      def content

Then put in your environment:

Footnotes::Filter.notes += [:current_user]


Current Developer (v3.0 and above)

José Valim (jose.valim@gmail.com) http://josevalim.blogspot.com/

Original Author (v2.0)

Duane Johnson (duane.johnson@gmail.com) http://blog.inquirylabs.com/


See MIT License.