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This document assumes you are a beginning Rails user; if you are familiar with Rails you might want to check out our quick start.

Add the gem to your Gemfile

This is found at Gemfile in the root of your Rails project.

gem 'admin_assistant'

Install the gem locally

$ bundle install

Install jQuery if you need to

admin_assistant uses jQuery. You may already have jQuery installed for your project (it's the standard starting with Rails 3.1), but if not, you can get it like so:

$ curl > \

Create a separate admin layout (without Sprockets)

If you don't have any admin controllers in your Rails project yet, you probably need to create a separate admin layout. Create a file called app/views/layouts/admin.html.erb like this:

    <%= javascript_include_tag("jquery-1.6.2.min") %>
    <%= admin_assistant_includes %>
    <%= yield %>

If you've already created an admin layout, you should add the javascript references, and the call to admin_assistant_includes. This includes the standard CSS and Javascript that are packed with admin_assistant.

Create a separate admin layout (with Sprockets)

Rails 3.1 recommends Sprockets as the default asset packager. If you're using Sprockets, you'll probably want to create separate admin.js and admin.css manifest files. app/views/layouts/admin.html.erb will look like this:

    <%= javascript_include_tag "admin" %>
    <%= stylesheet_link_tag "admin" %>
    <%= yield %>

And you will add admin_assistant's assets to the manifest files, which you will most likely put at app/assets/javascripts/admin.js and app/assets/stylesheets/admin.css.


//= require admin_assistant
//= require jquery.tokeninput.js


//= require admin_assistant
//= require token-input

Create an admin controller

Create your new admin controller for a pre-existing model. We'll be using a BlogPost as an example but you should be able to use any model in your Rails app.

./script/generate controller admin/blog_posts

Edit your admin controller

Open app/controllers/admin/blog_posts_controller.rb and set it up to use the admin layout and to use admin_assistant for the BlogPost model:

class Admin::BlogPostsController < ApplicationController
  layout 'admin'

  admin_assistant_for BlogPost

Restart your Rails app

If you were already running your Rails app with ./script/server etc, you should restart it.

Check out the controller

Visit /admin/blog_posts in your browser and you'll see something like this:


You can now search, paginate, create, and edit blog posts.

Depending on the model you're using, you might notice a few things:

  • Boolean values can be toggled on and off in the index view.
  • Any belongs-to associations are handled in the form by either a drop-down, or an Ajax autocompleter, depending on how many choices there are for the association.
  • There is no destroy action out of the box. This is intended as a safe default, but you can add it if you like.
  • If you have more than 10 pages of a given model, the pagination at the bottom includes a jump form to let you automatically jump to a page you enter.

For more, check out the API reference.