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The administration framework for Ruby on Rails applications.

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README.rdoc

Active Admin

Active Admin is a framework for creating administration style interfaces. It abstracts common business application patterns to make it simple for developers to implement beautiful and elegant interfaces with very little effort.

Help / Support / Demo

Goals

  1. Allow developers to quickly create gorgeous administration interfaces <strong>(Not Just CRUD)</strong>

  2. Build a DSL for developers and an interface for businesses.

  3. Ensure that developers can easily customize every nook and cranny of the interface.

  4. Build common interfaces as shareable gems so that the entire community benefits.

Getting Started

Active Admin is released as a Ruby Gem. The gem is to be installed within a Ruby on Rails 3 application. To install, simply add the following to your Gemfile:

# Gemfile
gem 'activeadmin'

After updating your bundle, run the installer

$> rails generate active_admin:install

The installer creates an initializer used for configuring defaults used by Active Admin as well as a new folder at app/admin to put all your admin configurations.

Migrate your db and start the server:

$> rake db:migrate
$> rails server

Visit localhost:3000/admin and log in using:

  • User: admin@example.com

  • Password: password

Voila! You're on your brand new Active Admin dashboard.

To register your first model, run:

$> rails generate active_admin:resource [MyModelName]

This creates a file at app/admin/my_model_names.rb for configuring the resource. Refresh your web browser to see the interface.

To learn how to further configure your admin section, keep on reading!

General Configuration

Admin Users

By default Active Admin will include Devise and create a new model called AdminUser. If you would like to use another name, you can pass it in to the installer through the user option:

$> rails generate active_admin:install UserClassName

If you don't want the generator to create any user classes:

$> rails generate active_admin:install --skip-users

Authentication

Active Admin requires two settings to authenticate and use the current user within your application. Both are set in config/initializers/active_admin.rb. By default they are setup for use with Devise and a model named AdminUser. If you chose a different model name, you will need to update these settings.

Set the method that controllers should call to authenticate the current user with:

# config/initializers/active_admin.rb
config.authentication_method = :authenticate_admin_user!

Set the method to call within the view to access the current admin user

# config/initializers/active_admin.rb
config.current_user_method = :current_admin_user

Both of these settings can be set to false to turn off authentication.

# Turn off authentication all together
config.authentication_method = false
config.current_user_method   = false

Site Title

You can update the title used for the site in the initializer also. By default it is set to the name of your Rails.application class name.

# config/initializers/active_admin.rb
config.site_title = "My Admin Site"

Customize The Resource

Rename the Resource

By default, any references to the resource (menu, routes, buttons, etc) in the interface will use the name of the class. You can rename the resource by using the :as option.

ActiveAdmin.register Post, :as => "Article"

The resource will then be available as /admin/articles

Customize the Navigation

The resource will be displayed in the global navigation by default.

To disable the resource from being displayed in the global navigation:

ActiveAdmin.register Post do
  menu false
end

To change the name of the label in the menu:

ActiveAdmin.register Post do
  menu :label => "My Posts"
end

To add the menu as a child of another menu:

ActiveAdmin.register Post do
  menu :parent => "Blog"
end

This will create the menu item if it doesn't exist yet.

Customizing the Index Page

Filtering and listing resources is one of the most important tasks for administering a web application. Active Admin provides many different tools for you to build a compelling interface into your data for the admin staff.

Built in, Active Admin has the following index renderers:

  • Table: A table drawn with each row being a resource

  • Grid: A set of rows and columns each cell being a resource

  • Blocks: A set of rows (not tabular) each row being a resource

  • Blog: A title and body content, similar to a blog index

All index pages also support scopes, filters, pagination, action items, and sidebar sections.

Index as a Table

By default, the index page is a table with each of the models content columns and links to show, edit and delete the object. There are many ways to customize what gets displayed.

Defining Columns

To display an attribute or a method on a resource, simply pass a symbol into the column method:

index do
  column :title
end

If the default title does not work for you, pass it as the first argument:

index do
  column "My Custom Title", :title
end

Sometimes calling methods just isn't enough and you need to write some view specific code. For example, say we wanted a colum called Title which holds a link to the posts admin screen.

The column method accepts a block as an argument which will then be rendered within the context of the view for each of the objects in the collection.

index do
  column "Title" do |post|
    link_to post.title, admin_post_path(post)
  end
end

The block gets called once for each resource in the collection. The resource gets passed into the block as an argument.

Sorting

When a column is generated from an Active Record attribute, the table is sortable by default. If you are creating a custom column, you may need to give Active Admin a hint for how to sort the table.

If a column is defined using a block, you must pass the key to turn on sorting. The key is the attribute which gets used to sort objects using Active Record.

index do
  column "Title", :sortable => :title do |post|
    link_to post.title, admin_post_path(post)
  end
end

You can turn off sorting on any column by passing false:

index do
  column :title, :sortable => false
end

Showing and Hiding Columns

The entire index block is rendered within the context of the view, so you can easily do things that show or hide columns based on the current context.

For example, if you were using CanCan:

index do
  column :title, :sortable => false
  if can? :manage, Post
    column :some_secret_data
  end
end

Index as a Grid

Sometimes you want to display the index screen for a set of resources as a grid (possibly a grid of thumbnail images). To do so, use the :grid option for the index block.

index :as => :grid do |product|
  link_to(image_tag(product.image_path), admin_product_path(product))
end

The block is rendered within a cell in the grid once for each resource in the collection. The resource is passed into the block for you to use in the view.

You can customize the number of colums that are rendered using the columns option:

index :as => :grid, :columns => 5 do |product|
  link_to(image_tag(product.image_path), admin_product_path(product))
end

Index as a Block

If you want to fully customize the display of your resources on the index screen, Index as a Block allows you to render a block of content for each resource.

index :as => :block do |product|
  div :for => product do
    h2 auto_link(product.title)
    div do
      simple_format product.description
    end
  end
end

Index Filters

By default the index screen includes a “Filters” sidebar on the right hand side with a filter for each attribute of the registered model. You can customize the filters that are displayed as well as the type of widgets they use.

To display a filter for an attribute, use the filter method

ActiveAdmin.register Post do
  filter :title
end

Out of the box, Active Admin supports the following filter types:

  • :string - A search field

  • :date_range - A start and end date field with calendar inputs

  • :numeric - A drop down for selecting “Equal To”, “Greater Than” or “Less Than” and an input for a value.

  • :select - A drop down which filters based on a selected item in a collection or all.

  • :check_boxes - A list of check boxes users can turn on and off to filter

By default, Active Admin will pick the most relevant filter based on the attribute type. You can force the type by passing the :as option.

filter :author, :as => :check_boxes

The :check_boxes and :select types accept options for the collection. By default it attempts to create a collection based on an association. But you can pass in the collection as a proc to be called at render time.

# Will call available
filter :author, :as => :check_boxes, :collection => proc { Author.all }

You can change the filter label by passing a label option:

filter :author, :label => 'Author'

By default, Active Admin will try to use ActiveModel I18n to determine the label.

Customizing the CSV format

Customizing the CSV format is as simple as customizing the index page.

csv do
  column :name
  column("Author") { |post| post.author.full_name }
end

Customizing the Form

Active Admin gives complete control over the output of the form by creating a thin DSL on top of the fabulous DSL created by Formtastic (github.com/justinfrench/formtastic).

ActiveAdmin.register Post do

  form do |f|
    f.inputs "Details" do
      f.input :title
      f.input :published_at, :label => "Publish Post At"
      f.input :category
    end
    f.inputs "Content" do
      f.input :body
    end
    f.buttons
  end

end

Please view the documentation for Formtastic to see all the wonderful things you can do: github.com/justinfrench/formtastic

If you require a more custom form than can be provided through the DSL, you can pass a partial in to render the form yourself.

For example:

ActiveAdmin.register Post do
  form :partial => "form"
end

Then implement app/views/admin/posts/_form.html.erb:

<%= semantic_form_for [:admin, @post] do |f| %>
  <%= f.inputs :title, :body %>
  <%= f.buttons :commit %>
<% end %>

Customizing the Show Screen

Customizing the show screen is as simple as implementing the show block:

ActiveAdmin.register Post do
  show do
    h3 post.title
    div do
      simple_format post.body
    end
  end
end

The show block is rendered within the context of the view and uses the Arbre HTML DSL. You can also render a partial at any point.

ActiveAdmin.register Post do
  show do
    # renders app/views/admin/posts/_some_partial.html.erb
    render "some_partial"
  end
end

Sidebar Sections

To add a sidebar section to all the screen within a section, use the sidebar method:

sidebar :help do
  "Need help? Email us at help@example.com"
end

This will generate a sidebar section on each screen of the resource. With the block as the contents of the section. The first argument is the section title.

You can also use Arbre syntax to define the content.

sidebar :help do
  ul do
    li "Second List First Item"
    li "Second List Second Item"
  end
end

Sidebar sections can be rendered on a specific action by using the :only or :except options.

sidebar :help, :only => :index do
  "Need help? Email us at help@example.com"
end

If you only pass a symbol, Active Admin will attempt to locate a partial to render.

# Will render app/views/admin/posts/_help_sidebar.html.erb
sidebar :help

Or you can pass your own custom partial to render.

sidebar :help, :partial => "custom_help_partial"

Add collection and member actions

To add a collection action, use the collection_action method:

collection_action :import_csv do
  # do csv import
  redirect_to :action => :index, :notice => "CSV imported successfully!"
end

To add a member action, use the member_action method:

member_action :lock, :method => :post do
  resource.lock!
  redirect_to :action => :show, :notice => "Locked!"
end

Internationalization (I18n)

To internationalize Active Admin or to change default strings, you can copy lib/active_admin/locales/en.yml to your application config/locales directory and change its content. You can contribute to the project with your translations to!

Tools Being Used

We believe strongly in not writing code unless we have to, so Active Admin is built using many other open source projects:

InheritedResources

Inherited Resources speeds up development by making your controllers inherit all restful actions so you just have to focus on what is important.

InheritedViews

Inherited Views is a thin addition to Inherited Resources which adds in html views to the mix

Formtastic

A DSL for semantically building amazing forms.

Devise

User authentication is done using Devise

Kaminari

Pagination for rails apps

Iconic Icons

Excellent SVG icon set designed by P.J. Onori: somerandomdude.com/projects/iconic

Contributors

Roadmap & Issue Tracking

We are using the awesome Github issues!

Note on Patches/Pull Requests

  • Fork the project.

  • Make your feature addition or bug fix on a new topic branch

  • Add specs and cukes for it. This is important so I don't break it in a future version unintentionally.

  • Commit, do not mess with rakefile, version, or history. (if you want to have your own version, that is fine but bump version in a commit by itself I can ignore when I pull)

  • Send me a pull request.

Copyright

Copyright © 2010 Greg Bell, VersaPay Corporation. See LICENSE for details.

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