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An example Rails 3.2 app for a web startup prelaunch site.
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Rails Prelaunch Signup for a Startup

Rails 3.2 “beta launching soon” example application that shows how to create a Rails application for a startup prelaunch signup site.

This app is in development. It is not finished. Click GitHub “Watch” to follow progress. Or follow @rails_apps on Twitter for project announcements.

You can clone this app or generate a new Rails application from this app’s template.

This application is for Rails developers who want to build and deploy their own prelaunch site. The application is very simple and any experienced Rails developer could easily build it. The aim of the project is to eliminate individual effort spent building an application that meets a common need. As an open source project, you can use code that is already implemented and tested. Your individual effort can be better applied to add features to your prelaunch app, customize the look and functionality of your prelaunch site, and get started on a real application for a launch.

Best of all, there’s a detailed tutorial to show how it is built.

Devise gives us ready-made authentication and user management. It is easy to build authentication from scratch for a Rails application. It is even easier to build an application that simply saves email addresses to a database. We’ll use Devise because it offers a full set of features used in more complex applications, such as recovering a user’s forgotten password. By using Devise for the prelaunch signup application, you can use the same user database for a post-launch site.

Devise handles signing up users through a registration feature. We use the Devise registration process to collect email addresses and create user accounts. Instead of confirming an email address immediately, we email a “thank you for your request” acknowledgment and mark the user account as “inactive.” When you are ready to invite users to try your site (either in beta or post-launch) you can mark the account as “active” and send the user an email invitation.

This app uses the rails3-devise-rspec-cucumber example app as a starter app. You can see a tutorial for the rails3-devise-rspec-cucumber example app to see how the starter app is built.

Any issues? Please create a GitHub issue.

Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Follow the project on Twitter: @rails_apps. Please tweet some praise if you like what you’ve found.

Add your prelaunch site to this list when you’re done: Rails Applications Built from the RailsApps Examples.

Tutorial Tutorial

A complete walkthrough tutorial is available on the GitHub wiki:

View the Tutorial

The tutorial documents each step to follow to create the application. Every step is documented concisely, so a complete beginner can create this application without any additional knowledge. However, no explanation is offered for any of the steps, so if you are a beginner, you’re advised to look for an introduction to Rails elsewhere. See a list of recommended resources for Rails.

If you simply wish to modify the application for your own project, you can download the application and set it up as described below, without following the tutorial.

Similar Examples and Tutorials

See a list of additional Rails examples, tutorials, and starter apps.

What Is Implemented — and What Is Not

Currently, the application only serves to display a landing page with a form for visitors to request invitations. Visitors’ email addresses are collected in the application’s database. An administrator can view the collected email addresses.

If there is interest, the author and contributors will implement additional features. See below for a list of implemented and proposed user stories.

User Stories (Implemented)

You can see a list of user stories that have been implemented.

Here are some user stories that have been implemented:

*Request Invitation*
As a visitor to the website
I want to request an invitation 
so I can be notified when the site is launched

*See Invitation Requests*
As the owner of the site
I want to view a list of visitors who have requested invitations
so I can know if my offer is gaining traction

*Collect Email Addresses*
As the owner of the site
I want to collect email addresses for a mailing list
so I can send an announcement when I launch the site

User Stories (Not Implemented)

You can see a list of user stories that have not been implemented. If you have ideas for additional features for this application, edit the file and submit a pull request. Or simply create a GitHub issue.

Here are some user stories that have not been implemented. If you implement any of these, please contribute your code to the project with a pull request.

*Post to Twitter After Sign Up*
As a user
I want an option to post to Twitter after I sign up
so my followers will learn about the site

*Post to Facebook After Sign Up*
As a user
I want an option to post to Facebook after I sign up
so my Facebook friends will learn about the site

*View "About" Page*
As a visitor to the website
I want to view the "About" page
so I can learn more about what the site will offer

*View "Contact" Page*
As a visitor to the website
I want to view the "Contact" page
so I can contact the owner of the site

Articles and Discussion

Here are some articles that describe the purpose and options for a startup prelaunch page:

Have other suggestions? Please create an issue with your suggestion or email the author.

Similar Projects

You can find other projects on GitHub that offer similar functionality.

Author Project Description
johngrimes t-minus Instant prelaunch page for your Rails 3 app
renderedtext coming-soon Sinatra app to show a pre-launch page and collect emails
hashrocket coming-soon Sinatra app to register email addresses
jbeyers django-prelaunch Django app to gather email addresses with a referral mechanism

Found others? Please create an issue with your suggestion or email the author.

Hosted Services

Here are hosted services that offer similar functionality and more features.

LaunchRock – set up a social launching-soon page in minutes

KickoffLabs – viral landing pages you’ll love in 60 seconds

Prefinery – complete beta management platform that encourages social sharing

Unbounce – create, publish & A/B test landing pages

WordPress Themes

WordPress themes are a popular way to stage a startup prelaunch page.

Launch Effect – a WordPress theme for viral launches


Before generating your application, you will need:

  • The Ruby language (version 1.9.3)
  • Rails 3.2

See Installing Rails 3.2 for detailed instructions and advice.

Getting the Application

You have several options for getting the code.

Fork, Clone, or Generate?

Fork: If you’d like to add features (or bug fixes) to improve the app for others to use as a prelaunch signup site, you can fork the GitHub repo and make pull requests. Your code contributions are welcome!

Clone: If you want to copy and customize the app with changes that are only useful for your own project, you can clone the GitHub repo. You’ll need to search-and-replace the project name throughout the application. You probably should generate the app instead (see below).

Generate: If you want to use the project as a starter app for your customized application, use the application template to generate a new version of the example app. You’ll be able to give it your project name when you generate the app. Note: Unfortunately, the application template isn’t available yet. In the meantime, follow the steps in the Tutorial to create your own version of the project.

Clone the Repository

If you simply wish to examine the example code, you can download the code (“clone the repository”) with the command

$ git clone git://

The source code is managed with Git (a version control system). You’ll need Git on your machine (install it from

Please Remember: Edit the README

If you’re open sourcing the app on GitHub, please edit the README file to add a description of the app and your contact info. Changing the README is important if you’re using a clone of the example app. I’ve been mistaken (and contacted) as the author of apps that are copied from my example.

Getting Started

About Required Gems

The application uses the following gems:

Install the Required Gems

Install the required gems on your computer:

$ bundle install

You can check which gems are installed on your computer with:

$ gem list --local

Keep in mind that you have installed these gems locally. When you deploy the app to another server, the same gems (and versions) must be available.

Set Up Configuration for Devise

This app uses Devise for user management and authentication.

You can modify the configuration file for Devise if you want to use something other than the defaults:


Configure Email for Devise

Configure email by modifying


and setting the return email address for emails sent from the application.

You may need to set values for your mailhost in


Create a Default User

Set Up a Database Seed File

You’ll want to set up a default user so you can easily log in to test the app. You can modify the file db/seeds.rb for your own name, email and password:

user = User.create! :name => 'First User', :email => '', :password => 'please', :password_confirmation => 'please'
puts 'New user created: ' <<

Use the defaults or change the values for name, email, and password as you wish.

Seed the Database

Add the default user to the database by running the command:

$ rake db:migrate
$ rake db:seed

Test the App

You can check that your app runs properly by entering the command

$ rails server

To see your application in action, open a browser window and navigate to http://localhost:3000/. You should see the default user listed on the home page. When you click on the user’s name, you should be required to log in before seeing the user’s detail page.

To sign in as the default user, (unless you’ve changed it) use

  • email:
  • password: please

You should delete or change the pre-configured logins before you deploy your application.

Deploy to Heroku

For your convenience, here are instructions for deploying your app to Heroku. Heroku provides low cost, easily configured Rails application hosting.


The application contains RSpec unit tests and Cucumber scenarios and steps. The tests are minimal and can be improved.

Please send the author a message, create an issue, or submit a pull request if you can contribute improved RSpec or Cucumber files.

After installing the application, run rake -T to check that rake tasks for RSpec and Cucumber are available.

Run rake spec to run all RSpec tests.

Run rake cucumber (or more simply, cucumber) to run all Cucumber scenarios and steps.

Documentation and Support

This is the only documentation.

For a Devise introduction, Ryan Bates offers a Railscast on Devise. You can find documentation for Devise at There is an active Devise mailing list and you can submit Devise issues at GitHub.


Please create a GitHub issue if you identify any problems or have suggestions for improvements.

Where to Get Help

Your best source for help with problems is Stack Overflow. Your issue may have been encountered and addressed by others.

You can also try Rails Hotline, a free telephone hotline for Rails help staffed by volunteers.


If you make improvements to this application, please share with others.

Send the author a message, create an issue, or fork the project and submit a pull request.

If you add functionality to this application, create an alternative implementation, or build an application that is similar, please contact me and I’ll add a note to the README so that others can find your work.


Daniel Kehoe ( implemented the application and wrote the tutorial.

Is the app useful to you? Follow the project on Twitter: @rails_apps
and tweet some praise. I’d love to know you were helped out by what I’ve put together.


Public Domain Dedication

This work is a compilation and derivation from other previously released works. With the exception of various included works, which may be restricted by other licenses, the author or authors of this code dedicate any and all copyright interest in this code to the public domain. We make this dedication for the benefit of the public at large and to the detriment of our heirs and successors. We intend this dedication to be an overt act of relinquishment in perpetuity of all present and future rights to this code under copyright law.

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