Create Liquid-based email templates in your rails app
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Effective Email Templates

This gem is no longer actively maintained

Create email templates that an admin or any user can safely edit (you're protected from SQL injection and other nastiness). Effective Email Templates relies on Liquid templates built by Shopify to profide this safety.

Rails 3.2.x and Rails 4 Support

Getting Started

Add to your Gemfile:

gem 'effective_email_templates', :git => ''

Run the bundle command to install it:

bundle install

Then run the generator:

rails generate effective_email_templates:install

The generator will install an initializer which describes all configuration options and creates a database migration.

If you want to tweak the table name (to use something other than the default 'email_templates'), manually adjust both the configuration file and the migration now.

Then migrate the database:

rake db:migrate

Creating Email Templates

This is very similar to creating other emails in Rails.

  1. Create a new mailer object (i.e. /app/mailers/template_mailer.rb)

    • Mailer objects need to inherit from Effective::LiquidMailer
  2. Create a method inside the mailer object based on the name of your email (i.e. def welcome_email)

  3. Create a default email template file (i.e. /app/views/template_mailer/welcome_email.liquid)

    • Start out with a plain text email (without any variables and we'll show you how to add dynamic content below)
    • Add the email subject and from address at the top of the email. For example:
    subject: 'Hello User'                   # REQUIRED
    from: ''   # REQUIRED
    cc: ''     # optional
    bcc: ''     # optional
    Hello new user! I'm a liquid template that will be editable to site admins and/or users.
  4. Run this rake task to import this email template from the filesystem to the database (where it will be editable)

    • Remember to do this in your staging and production environments as well!
    • This task can be run even when no new templates have been added and will not overwrite existing database templates. This allows you to run the rake task in a deploy script if you are adding new templates frequently.
    rake effective_email_templates:import_templates
  5. Visit localhost:3000/admin/email_templates in your browser to edit templates.

  6. Run this rake task to overwrite to initial state default database email templates that have already been changed. This will touch email templates created only from filesystem.

    rake effective_email_templates:overwrite_templates

Making Content Dynamic

Welcome to our site.  We think you're {{ adjective }}!

The corresponding Mailer:

# app/mailers/template_mailer.rb
class TemplateMailer < Effective::LiquidMailer
  def welcome_email(user)
    @to_liquid = {
      'adjective' => 'awesome'

Send the emails like normal:

mail = TemplateMailer.welcome_email(user)


All authorization checks are handled via the config.authorization_method found in the config/initializers/ file.

It is intended for flow through to CanCan or Pundit, but that is not required.

This method is called by all controller actions with the appropriate action and resource

Action will be one of [:index, :show, :new, :create, :edit, :update, :destroy]

Resource will the appropriate Effective::Something ActiveRecord object or class

The authorization method is defined in the initializer file:

# As a Proc (with CanCan)
config.authorization_method = { |controller, action, resource| authorize!(action, resource) }
# As a Custom Method
config.authorization_method = :my_authorization_method

and then in your application_controller.rb:

def my_authorization_method(action, resource) ||, resource).send('#{action}?')

or disabled entirely:

config.authorization_method = false

If the method or proc returns false (user is not authorized) an Effective::AccessDenied exception will be raised

You can rescue from this exception by adding the following to your application_controller.rb:

rescue_from Effective::AccessDenied do |exception|
  respond_to do |format|
    format.html { render 'static_pages/access_denied', :status => 403 }
    format.any { render :text => 'Access Denied', :status => 403 }


To allow a user to see the admin area, using CanCan:

can :admin, :effective_email_templates


MIT License. Copyright Code and Effect Inc.

You are not granted rights or licenses to the trademarks of Code and Effect


  • minimize gem dependencies
  • remove unused non-admin routes and config option
  • Add an admin alert if there are mailer methods that do not have associated email templates
  • Show admin what the available arguments are for each template
  • remove caller usage from Effective::LiquidMailer (or remove requirement for Ruby 2.0+)
  • add EffectiveEmailTemplates::present? to check if a template model is present
    • notify the app but don't raise an error if template is not present when an email is sent
  • configurable default from address
  • configurable prefix for subject line
  • use autoload rather than require
  • research panoramic gem's usage of the Resolver class and improve our Resolver usage
  • enable multipart emails
  • enable file attachments
  • import factories/fixtures in install task