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WARNING: Still under heavy maintenance ;)

I think I should write that this gem is not yet production ready and it will probably take some API changes without deprecation warnings, so you should probably wait a bit if you want to use that.


bulk_api makes integrating Sproutcore and Rails applications dead simple. It handles all the communication and allows to take advantage of bulk operations, which can make your application much faster. To use that plugin you will also need BulkDataSource, which will handle the Sproutcore side of things..

The bulk_api approach differs from REST APIs that you're probably used to; thus it needs to be handled differently. The goal is to cut the number of requests you need to do: It can handle many records (and many types of records) with one request. If you want to read more about how the API looks from the HTTP point of view, please refer to the "HTTP Api" section.



After following this guide you will have a setup like this:

  • $RAILS_ROOT/app/bulk is the path where your resource definitions live
  • /api/bulk is routed to serve the API


Add this line to Gemfile and run bundle install:

gem 'bulk_api', :git => ''

Add this line to your routes.rb:

match '/bulk/api' =>


Now you need to configure your application. Install BulkDataSource:

cd <sproutcore_root>
mkdir frameworks # In case it does not exist yet
git clone frameworks/bulk_data_source

Change your Buildfile to include it:

config :all, :required => [:sproutcore, "sproutcore/core_foundation", "bulk_data_source"]

Configure your store:

YourApp = SC.Application.create({
  store: SC.Store.create().from('SC.BulkDataSource')

The last thing that you need to do is to set resource names for your models. BulkDataSource assumes that you have resourceName attribute set on your model. If you don't have such attributes, you can add it like that:

Todos.Todo = SC.Record.extend({
  // your code here
Todos.Todo.resourceName = 'todo';


If you don't have any specific needs like authentication or authorization, you're good to go with such simple configuration. In other cases you will need to do a bit more to integrate your application.

When using bulk api you can handle things on 3 levels:

  1. All requests
  2. Particular record type
  3. Individual record

Let's see how to handle things on all of the 3 levels to add your own logic (like authentication or authorization).

The methods used for records manipulation are:

  • get
  • create
  • update
  • delete

Control which resources are exposed

By default Bulk Api plugin handles all models. This is probably not what you want. Customization is done by subclassing Bulk::Application:

# app/bulk/bulk_application.rb
class BulkApplication < Bulk::Application
  resources :tasks, :projects

# config/routes.rb
match '/bulk/api' => BulkApplication

Because bulk_api is built on Rack, you can use other middleware to alter its behaviour.


# app/bulk/bulk_application.rb
class BulkApplication < Bulk::Application
  def before_request(request)


If some of your logic is common for all resources, you can define an ApplicationResource. This class is used if you do not implement a more specific resource. Just like ApplicationController in rails, you can use that as a base class for all of your resources.

There are 2 different authorization callbacks that you can use:

  • authorize_records(action, model_class) - this callback is run before handling each type of resource, if it returns false, a `forbidden`` error is added to all of the records.
  • authorize_record(action, record) - this callback is run for each of the records. If it returns false, a forbidden error is added to the given record.
# app/bulk/application_resource.rb
class ApplicationResource < Bulk::Resource

  # Allow only get requests and only for the tasks resource:
  def authorize_records(action, model_class)
    model_class == Task && action == :get

  # Check if the record belongs to the user
  def authorize_record(action, record)
    request.env['current_user'].id == record.user_id


Params filtering

While preparing your API, you will probably need to filter parameters that user can set on your models. The easiest way to do it is to set params_accessible or params_protected callbacks:

class ApplicationResource < Bulk::Resource
  def params_accessible(klass)
    { :tasks    => [:title, :done],
                    :projects => [:name] }

  # or:

  def params_protected(klass)
    { :tasks => [:created_at, :updated_at] }

You can also set it for individual resource classes. In such case this will overwrite the one that's set in ApplicationResource.

Attributes filtering

If you want to filter the attributes that are sent in a response, the easiest way to do it is to use standard Rails mechanism for that - override as_json method in your model:

class MyModel < ActiveRecord::Base
  def as_json(options={})
    super(:only => [:email, :avatar], :include =>[:addresses])

With some applications that's not enough, though. If you have several user roles, the chances are that you will need to differentiate responses based on user rights. In that case you can use as_json callback. Value returned from that callback will be passed to the record's as_json method:

class ApplicationResource < Bulk::Resource
  def as_json(record)
    # return hash that will be passed to record's as_json
    { :only => [:email] }

You can also override that method in individual resource classes.

Implementing resources

Sometimes you may want to implement specific application logic to one of the resources. Or you don't want to end up with Switch Driven Development in one of you authenticate callbacs. In such cases, the easiest way to handle resource specific code is to create an ApplicationResouce subclass that you can use to override standard behavior. There is a generator to make things easy for you:

rails g bulk:resource task

This will create the following file:

# app/bulk/task_resource.rb
class TaskResource < ApplicationResource

If you do nothing else, Rails will automatically return records by retrieving them using ActiveRecord. You can customize any of the default behavior by overriding methods on the resource class. As you already now the main methods that are used to fetch and modify records are: get, create, update, delete. Let's see how you can override those methods:

# app/resources/task_resource.rb
class TaskResource < Sproutcore::Resource

  def get(ids)
    # ids is an array with records that we need to fetch

    collection = super(ids)

    # collection is an instance of Bulk::Collection class that keeps
    # fetched records, please check the rest of the README and the docs
    # to see how you can manipulate records in collection

  def create(records)
    # records is an array of hashes with data that will be used
    # to create new records e.g.:
    # [{:title => "First", :done => false, :_local_id => 1},
    #  {:title => "", :done => true, :_local_id => 3}]
    # _local_id is needed to identify the records in sproutcore
    # application, since they do not have an id yet

    collection = super(records)


  def update(records)
    # records array is very similar to the array from create method,
    # but this time we should get data with id, like:
    # [{:id => 1, :title => "First (changed!)", :done => false},
    #  {:id => 2, :title => ""}]

    collection = super(records)


  def delete(ids)
    # similarly to get method, we get array of ids to delete

    collection = super(ids)


While overriding records you can use super to handle the actions with default behavior or reimplement them yourself. In latter case you just need to make sure that you properly construct collection.


Bulk::Collection is a container for records and is used to construct response from. It has a few handy methods to easily modify collection, for more please refer to documantation.

collection =
collection.set(1, record) # add record with identifier '1', identifier is then used while constructing response
                          # most of the time it's id or _local_id (the latter one is mainly for create)

collection.errors.set(1, :access_denied) # add error that will be passed to DataSource
                                         # notice that these errors are not the same as validation errors,
                                         # this is more general way to tell DataSource what's going on
collection.delete(1, record) # remove the record

Http Bulk API

The point of using bulk API is to cut the requests number. Because of its nature it can't be handled efficiently using standard REST API. The bulk API is designed to handle many records and record types in one request. Let's look how does GET request can look like with bulk API;

POST /bulk/api
  'todos': [
    {'title': "First todo", 'done': false, '_storeKey': '3'},
    {'title': "Second todo", 'done': true, '_storeKey': '10'}
  'projects': [
    {'name': "Sproutcore todolist", '_storeKey': '12'}

As you can see we POST some new items to our application. Rails application will then respond with list of created records:

  'todos': [
    {'id': 1, 'title': "First todo", 'done': false, '_storeKey': '3'}
  'projects': [
    {'id': 1, 'name': "Sproutcore todolist", '_storeKey': '12'}
  'errors': {
    'todos': {

As you can see, all the records that were created have id attached now and there is additional attribute 'errors' that tells us what went wrong during validation.