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Annotate ActiveRecord models as a gem

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Annotate (aka AnnotateModels)

Gem Version

Add a comment summarizing the current schema to the top or bottom of each of your…

  • ActiveRecord models

  • Fixture files

  • Tests and Specs

  • Object Daddy exemplars

  • Machinist blueprints

  • Fabrication fabricators

  • Thoughtbot's factory_girl factories, i.e. the (spec|test)/factories/<model>_factory.rb files

  • routes.rb file (for Rails projects)

The schema comment looks like this:

# == Schema Info
# Table name: line_items
#  id                  :integer(11)    not null, primary key
#  quantity            :integer(11)    not null
#  product_id          :integer(11)    not null
#  unit_price          :float
#  order_id            :integer(11)

 class LineItem < ActiveRecord::Base
   belongs_to :product
  . . .

It also annotates geometrical columns, geom type and srid, when using SpatialAdapter, PostgisAdapter or PostGISAdapter:

# == Schema Info
# Table name: trips
#  local           :geometry        point, 4326
#  path            :geometry        line_string, 4326

Also, if you pass the -r option, it'll annotate routes.rb with the output of +rake routes+.


Into Gemfile from

gem 'annotate', ">=2.6.0"

Into Gemfile from Github:

gem 'annotate', github: 'ctran/annotate_models'

Into environment gems from

gem install annotate

Into environment gems from Github checkout:

git clone git:// annotate_models
cd annotate_models
rake build
gem install pkg/annotate-*.gem


(If you used the Gemfile install, prefix the below commands with +bundle exec+.)

Usage in Rails

To annotate all your models, tests, fixtures, and factories:

cd /path/to/app

To annotate just your models, tests, and factories:

annotate --exclude fixtures

To annotate just your models:

annotate --exclude tests,fixtures,factories

To annotate routes.rb:

annotate --routes

To remove model/test/fixture/factory annotations:

annotate --delete

To remove routes.rb annotations:

annotate --routes --delete


Usage Outside of Rails

Everything above applies, except that --routes is not meaningful, and you will probably need to explicitly set one or more --require option(s), and/or one or more --model-dir options to inform annotate about the structure of your project and help it bootstrap and load the relevant code.


If you want to always skip annotations on a particular model, add this string anywhere in the file:

# -*- SkipSchemaAnnotations

Configuration in Rails

To generate a configuration file (in the form of a .rake file), to set default options:

rails g annotate:install

Edit this file to control things like output format, where annotations are added (top or bottom of file), and in which artifacts.

Rails Integration

By default, once you've generated a configuration file, annotate will be executed whenever you run +rake db:migrate+ (but only in development mode). If you want to disable this behavior permanently, edit the .rake file and change:

'skip_on_db_migrate'   => "false",


'skip_on_db_migrate'   => "true",

If you want to run +rake db:migrate+ as a one-off without running annotate, you can do so with a simple environment variable, instead of editing the .rake file:

skip_on_db_migrate=1 rake db:migrate


Usage: annotate [options] [model_file]*
    -d, --delete                     Remove annotations from all model files or the routes.rb file
    -p, --position [before|after]    Place the annotations at the top (before) or the bottom (after) of the model/test/fixture/factory/routes file(s)
        --pc, --position-in-class [before|after]
                                     Place the annotations at the top (before) or the bottom (after) of the model file
        --pf, --position-in-factory [before|after]
                                     Place the annotations at the top (before) or the bottom (after) of any factory files
        --px, --position-in-fixture [before|after]
                                     Place the annotations at the top (before) or the bottom (after) of any fixture files
        --pt, --position-in-test [before|after]
                                     Place the annotations at the top (before) or the bottom (after) of any test files
        --pr, --position-in-routes [before|after]
                                     Place the annotations at the top (before) or the bottom (after) of the routes.rb file
    -r, --routes                     Annotate routes.rb with the output of 'rake routes'
    -v, --version                    Show the current version of this gem
    -m, --show-migration             Include the migration version number in the annotation
    -i, --show-indexes               List the table's database indexes in the annotation
    -s, --simple-indexes             Concat the column's related indexes in the annotation
        --model-dir dir              Annotate model files stored in dir rather than app/models
        --ignore-model-subdirects    Ignore subdirectories of the models directory
        --sort                       Sort columns alphabetically, rather than in creation order
    -R, --require path               Additional file to require before loading models, may be used multiple times
    -e [tests,fixtures,factories],   Do not annotate fixtures, test files, and/or factories
    -f [bare|rdoc|markdown],         Render Schema Infomation as plain/RDoc/Markdown
        --force                      Force new annotations even if there are no changes.
        --trace                      If unable to annotate a file, print the full stack trace, not just the exception message.
    --timestamp                      Include an updated time in routes.rb


By default, columns will be sorted in database order (i.e. the order in which migrations were run).

If you prefer to sort alphabetically so that the results of annotation are consistent regardless of what order migrations are executed in, use --sort.


The format produced is actually MultiMarkdown, making use of the syntax extension for tables. It's recommended you use kramdown as your parser if you want to use this format. If you're using yard to generate documentation, specify a format of markdown with kramdown as the provider by adding this to your .yardopts file:

--markup markdown
--markup-provider kramdown

Be sure to add this to your Gemfile as well:

gem 'kramdown', :groups => [:development], :require => false


Don't add text after an automatically-created comment block. This tool will blow away the initial/final comment block in your models if it looks like it was previously added by this gem.

Be sure to check the changes that this tool makes! If you are using Git, you may simply check your project's status after running annotate:

$ git status

If you are not using a VCS (like Git, Subversion or similar), please tread extra carefully, and consider using one.



Released under the same license as Ruby. No Support. No Warranty.


See AUTHORS.rdoc.

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