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a ruby code dependency graph interactive visualizer
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Rubrowser (Ruby Browser)

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a visualizer for ruby code (rails or otherwise), it analyze your code and extract the modules definitions and used classes/modules and render all these information as a directed force graph using D3.


Starting from version 2.0.0 the project is no longer an http server, it generates one HTML file that is self-contained, data and script and html in one file, so you can generate it in your CI build and publish it as part of your documentation

this project is so small that the visualization looks like so

rubrowser visualization

the idea is that the project opens every .rb file and parse it with parser gem then list all modules and classes definitions, and all constants that are listed inside this module/class and link them together.

Here are some output examples

Gem Visualization
rack-1.6.4/lib rake
actioncable-5.0.0/lib acioncable
railties-5.0.0/lib railties

there are couple things you need to keep in mind:

  • if your file doesn't have a valid ruby syntax it won't be parsed and will print warning.
  • if you reference a class that is not defined in your project it won't be in the graph, we only display the graph of classes/modules you defined
  • it statically analyze the code so meta programming is out of question in here
  • rails associations are meta programming so forget it 😄


gem install rubrowser


Usage: /home/emad/code/rubrowser/bin/rubrowser [options] [file] ...
    -o, --output=FILE                output file page, if not specified output will be written to stdout
    -l, --layout=FILE                layout file to apply on the resulting graph
    -s, --server=SERVER:PORT         rubrowser server for execution monitoring
    -T, --no-toolbox                 Don't display toolbox on the page
    -v, --version                    Print Rubrowser version
    -h, --help                       Prints this help

if you run it without any options


it'll analyze the current directory and print out an HTML file, so you can write it to a file, and open it in your browser

rubrowser > output.html

Monitoring your application execution

Add rubrowser to your ruby project Gemfile

gem 'rubrowser'

Add the following code before your application runs, if it's a rails project this should be an initializer Rails.root.to_s, port: 8080)

path is your code path, and port is the execution websocket server port, the server will open that port and announce any execution happens to the code inside your project directory.

now generate a rubrowser HTML output that connect to your server

rubrowser -slocalhost:8080 > output.html

Using a saved layout

When you move classes/modules in the graph to fix them in one place, then you refresh the page, you'll reset the graph again.

for that reason there is a button to download the current graph state as json file (fixed nodes positions), when you generate the graph again you can pass that file to rubrowser to embed it inside the output HTML file.

rubrowser -l layout.json

I recommend putting that file in your project and name it .rubrowser in that case it'll be easy to use it whenever you generate the graph.

rubrowser -l .rubrowser

So that in the future probably rubrowser can pick the file automatically, if you follow that naming, your project will be ready in that case.


  • trace your execution in realtime on the graph
  • interactive graph, you can pull any node to fix it to some position
  • to release node double click on it
  • zoom and pan with mouse or touch pad
  • highlight node and all related nodes, it'll make it easier for you to see what depends and dependencies of certain class
  • highlight nodes by names or file path
  • ignore node by name, or file path
  • ignore nodes of certain type (modules/classes)
  • hide namespaces
  • hide relations
  • change graph appearance (collision radius)
  • stop animation immediately
  • fix all nodes in position or release all fixed nodes
  • Module/class circle size on the graph will be relative to module number of lines in your code
  • cyclical dependencies are marked in red
  • after you move nodes around, you can download the layout as a file, then provide it when generating the graph file again with -l file.json it will embed the layout in the file and the graph will have the same layout by default.


Because i didn't find a good visualization tool to make me understand ruby projects when I join a new one.

it's great when you want to get into an open source project and visualize the structure to know where to work and the relations between modules/classes.

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