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SmartListing helps creating AJAX-enabled lists of ActiveRecord collections or arrays with pagination, filtering, sorting and in-place editing.

See it in action


Add to your Gemfile:

gem "smart_listing"

Then run:

$ bundle install

Also, you need to add SmartListing to your asset pipeline:

//= require smart_listing

Rails >= 5.1 users: Rails 5.1 has dropped jQuery dependency from the default stack in favour of rails-ujs. SmartListing still requires jQuery so make sure that you use jquery_ujs from jquery-rails gem and have following requires in your asset pipeline before smart_listing:

//= require jquery
//= require jquery_ujs


Optionally you can also install some configuration initializer:

$ rails generate smart_listing:install

It will be placed in config/initializers/smart_listing.rb and will allow you to tweak some configuration settings like HTML classes and data attributes names.

Custom views

SmartListing comes with some built-in views which are by default compatible with Bootstrap 3. You can easily change them after installing:

$ rails generate smart_listing:views

Files will be placed in app/views/smart_listing.


Let's start with a controller. In order to use SmartListing, in most cases you need to include controller extensions and SmartListing helper methods:

include SmartListing::Helper::ControllerExtensions
helper  SmartListing::Helper

Next, put following code in controller action you desire:

@users = smart_listing_create(:users,, partial: "users/listing")

This will create SmartListing named :users consisting of ActiveRecord scope elements and rendered by partial users/listing. You can also use arrays instead of ActiveRecord collections. Just put array: true option just like for Kaminari.

In the main view (typically something like index.html.erb or index.html.haml), use this method to render listing:


smart_listing_render does some magic and renders users/listing partial which may look like this (in HAML):

- unless smart_listing.empty?
        %th User name
        %th Email
      - smart_listing.collection.each do |user|

  = smart_listing.paginate
- else
  %p.warning No records!

You can see that listing template has access to special smart_listing local variable which is basically an instance of SmartListing::Helper::Builder. It provides you with some helper methods that ease rendering of SmartListing:

  • Builder#paginate - renders Kaminari pagination,
  • Builder#pagination_per_page_links - display some link that allow you to customize Kaminari's per_page,
  • Builder#collection - accesses underlying list of items,
  • Builder#empty? - checks if collection is empty,
  • Builder#count - returns collection count,
  • Builder#render - basic template's render wrapper that automatically adds smart_listing local variable,

There are also other methods that will be described in detail below.

If you are using SmartListing with AJAX on (by default), one last thing required to make pagination (and other features) work is to create JS template for main view (typically something like index.js.erb):

<%= smart_listing_update(:users) %>


SmartListing supports two modes of sorting: implicit and explicit. Implicit mode is enabled by default. In this mode, you define sort columns directly in the view:

- unless smart_listing.empty?
        %th= smart_listing.sortable "User name", :name
        %th= smart_listing.sortable "Email", :email
      - smart_listing.collection.each do |user|

  = smart_listing.paginate
- else
  %p.warning No records!

In this case :name and :email are sorting column names. Builder#sortable renders special link containing column name and sort order (either asc, desc, or empty value).

You can also specify default sort order in the controller:

@users = smart_listing_create(:users,, partial: "users/listing", default_sort: {name: "asc"})

Implicit mode is convenient with simple data sets. In case you want to sort by joined column names, we advise you to use explicit sorting:

@users = smart_listing_create :users,, partial: "users/listing",
                              sort_attributes: [[:last_signin, "stats.last_signin_at"]],
                              default_sort: {last_signin: "desc"}

Note that :sort_attributes are array which of course means, that order of attributes matters.

There's also a possibility to specify available sort directions using :sort_dirs option which is by default [nil, "asc", "desc"].

List item management and in-place editing

In order to allow managing and editing list items, we need to reorganize our views a bit. Basically, each item needs to have its own partial:

- unless smart_listing.empty?
        %th= smart_listing.sortable "User name", "name"
        %th= smart_listing.sortable "Email", "email"
      - smart_listing.collection.each do |user|
        %tr.editable{data: {id:}}
          = smart_listing.render partial: 'users/user', locals: {user: user}
      = smart_listing.item_new colspan: 3, link: new_user_path

  = smart_listing.paginate
- else
  %p.warning No records!

<tr> has now editable class and data-id attribute. These are essential to make it work. We've used also a new helper: Builder#new_item. It renders new row which is used for adding new items. :link needs to be valid url to new resource action which renders JS:

<%= smart_listing_item :users, :new, @new_user, "users/form" %>

Note that new action does not need to create SmartListing (via smart_listing_create). It just initializes @new_user and renders JS view.

New partial for user (users/user) may look like this:

%td.actions= smart_listing_item_actions [{name: :show, url: user_path(user)}, {name: :edit, url: edit_user_path(user)}, {name: :destroy, url: user_path(user)}]

smart_listing_item_actions renders here links that allow to edit and destroy user item. :show, :edit and :destroy are built-in actions, you can also define your :custom actions. Again. <td>'s class actions is important.

Controller actions referenced by above urls are again plain Ruby on Rails actions that render JS like:

<%= smart_listing_item :users, :new, @user, "users/form" %>
<%= smart_listing_item :users, :edit, @user, "users/form" %>
<%= smart_listing_item :users, :destroy, @user %>

Partial name supplied to smart_listing_item (users/form) references @user as object and may look like this:

%td{colspan: 3}
  - if object.persisted?
    %p Edit user
  - else
    %p Add user

  = form_for object, url: object.new_record? ? users_path : user_path(object), remote: true do |f|
      = f.text_field :name
      = f.text_field :email
    %p= f.submit "Save"

And one last thing are create and update controller actions JS view:

<%= smart_listing_item :users, :create, @user, @user.persisted? ? "users/user" : "users/form" %>
<%= smart_listing_item :users, :update, @user, @user.valid? ? "users/user" : "users/form" %>

Controls (filtering)

SmartListing controls allow you to change somehow presented data. This is typically used for filtering records. Let's see how view with controls may look like:

= smart_listing_controls_for(:users) do
    = text_field_tag :filter, '', class: "search", placeholder: "Type name here", autocomplete: "off"
    %button.btn.disabled{type: "submit"}

This gives you nice Bootstrap-enabled filter field with keychange handler. Of course you can use any other form fields in controls too.

When form field changes its value, form is submitted and request is made. This needs to be handled in controller:

users_scope =
users_scope =[:filter]) if params[:filter]
@users = smart_listing_create :users, users_scope, partial: "users/listing"

Then, JS view is rendered and your SmartListing updated. That's it!

Simplified views

You don't need to create all the JS views in case you want to simply use one SmartListing per controller. Just use helper methods without their first attribute (name) ie. smart_listing_create(, partial: "users/listing"). Then define two helper methods:

  • smart_listing_resource returning single object,
  • smart_listing_collection returning collection of objects.

SmartListing default views will user these methods to render your list properly.

More customization

Apart from standard SmartListing initializer, you can also define custom config profiles. In order to do this, use following syntax:

SmartListing.configure(:awesome_profile) do |config|
  # put your definitions here

In order to use this profile, create helper method named smart_listing_config_profile returning profile name and put into your JS SmartListing.config.merge() function call. merge() function expects parameter with config attributes hash or reads body data-attribute named smart-listing-config. Hash of config attributes can be obtained by using helper method SmartListing.config(:awesome_profile).to_json.

Not enough?

For more information and some use cases, see the Showcase


SmartListing uses great pagination gem Kaminari

Created by Sology

Initial development sponsored by Smart Language Apps Limited


Ruby on Rails data listing gem with built-in sorting, filtering and in-place editing.







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