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A gem providing Rails with authentication, Facebook Connect, MadMimi, and DelayedJob support


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Blue Light Special

Blue Light Special is a derivative from Thoughtbot’s Clearance gem. It’s a highly opinionated starting point for many of our projects at Envy Labs.

In addition to the basic email and password authentication provided by Clearance, a default Blue Light Special installation includes:

  • optional support for authenticating with Facebook Connect, using mini_fb

  • a simple role system with built-in support for admin users

  • the ability for an admin to impersonate any other user

  • use of MadMimi for sending notification emails

  • delayed_job for sending emails in the background

  • a basic application layout and stylesheet


After installing the Blue Light Special gem, require it in your Rails app and run the blue_light_special generator.

In your config/environment.rb:

config.gem 'blue_light_special'

Run the generators and migrate your database:

script/generate blue_light_special
script/generate delayed_job
rake db:migrate

You’ll also want to take a look at Blue Light Special’s configuration options in config/blue_light_special.yml.


Blue Light Special can optionally generate integration tests that cover all of its basic features. These tests require shoulda, factory_girl, webrat, and fakeweb. To install the tests:

script/generate blue_light_special_tests

After the generator runs, you’ll see instructions for updating test/test_helper.rb to include some helper methods that the tests require. You can also use these helper methods in your own integration tests whenever you need to sign a user in or out.

Administration Interface

The final Blue Light Special generator builds a very simple administration interface for your app. This allows admins to manage and impersonate users, and it can be used as a starting point for building a more elaborate admin interface. If you’d like to generate the admin interface, run:

script/generate blue_light_special_admin

This will generate your user admin controller and its integration test.

Mad Mimi

If you’d like an overview of Mad Mimi, check out the third part of this screencast. In order to get Blue Light Special working with Mad Mimi, you’ll need to sign up for an account at

Your Mad Mimi account needs API access, so be sure to enable that during the signup process. The support people at Mad Mimi will manually authorize your account for API access. This usually happens within a few hours after you’ve signed up. Until your account is authorized, you’ll see HTTP errors when your Rails app attempts to send email.

After you’ve signed up and your API access has been approved, all you’ll need to do is put your Mad Mimi username and API key in config/blue_light_special.yml.

Facebook Connect

To set up Facebook Connect, go to the Facebook developer page and create a new Facebook app. Since you’re only using this app for Facebook Connect, you can leave most of the fields blank. Be sure to give your app a name, and then head over to the Connect settings and set the Connect URL to point at your Rails app. In the Advanced section, you’ll need to set Email Domain to the domain from which you’ll be sending email messages.

After you’ve finished setting up your Facebook app, grab its API key and secret key and put them in config/blue_light_special.yml.

Copyright © 2010 Envy Labs LLC. See LICENSE for details.


A gem providing Rails with authentication, Facebook Connect, MadMimi, and DelayedJob support







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