Official GroundworkCSS Rails Gem
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GroundworkCSS 2 Rails Gem

Add GroundworkCSS to your rails project.

Inside your Gemfile add the following lines:

gem 'autoprefixer-rails'
gem 'compass-rails'
gem 'groundworkcss'

Note, you will need to have therubyracer enabled in order to support Coffeescript. Ensure that this line is uncommented in your Gemfile:

gem 'therubyracer', :platforms => :ruby

Then run bundle install to install the gem.

Note from @sepastian For Rails 4.1, just use the 'compass-rails' gem, which now officially supports Rails 4.1. (Previously, groundworkcss/compass-rails must be used.) This is probably true for Rails 4.x, too - can anyone verify this?

Include GroundworkCSS in your manifest file(s):

If you want to include Groundwork on all of your pages then run the following generator to include it in your application sprockets files:

$ bundle exec rails generate groundworkcss:install

Note: This will automatically rename application.css to application.scss, if necessary, to enable Sass compilation.

Alternately, you can manually include groundwork on individual pages/layouts:

<link rel="stylesheet" href="<%= asset_path('groundworkcss/groundwork.css') %>" />
<script type="text/javascript" src="<%= asset_path('groundworkcss/libs/modernizr-2.6.2.min.js') %>"></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="<%= asset_path('groundworkcss/libs/jquery-1.10.2.min.js') %>"></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="<%= asset_path('groundworkcss/all.js') %>"></script>

Or you can include groundwork manually in javascript and stylesheet manifest files:

in application.js

//= require jquery
//= require "groundworkcss/libs/modernizr-2.6.2.min"
//= require "groundworkcss/all"

in application.scss

@import 'groundworkcss/settings-rails4'; // or 'settings-rails3'
@import "groundworkcss/groundwork";

Include the GroundworkCSS docs pages:

If you want to include the GroundworkCSS docs pages in the rails development environment (comes in handy for quick reference and testing installation) then run the following generator (after running the install generator):

$ bundle exec rails generate groundworkcss:docs


Alternatively, you may selectively choose which Groundwork modules to be included in your stylesheet and javascript manifest files:

in application.scss

@import "groundworkcss/core/all-core";             // required
@import "groundworkcss/base/all-base";             // required
@import "groundworkcss/icons/all-icons";           // required
@import "groundworkcss/type/all-type";             // recommended
@import "groundworkcss/ui/all-ui";                 // optional
@import "groundworkcss/anim/all-animations";       // optional
@import "groundworkcss/responsive/all-responsive"; // recommended

Expert users may be even more selective, however, it is best to control this level of optimization with the configurations in _groundwork_settings.scss as there are several complex dependancy chains that must be understood. Two modules that this can be easily done, however, are ui and anim.

@import "groundworkcss/core/all-core";             // required
@import "groundworkcss/base/all-base";             // required
@import "groundworkcss/icons/all-icons";           // required
@import "groundworkcss/type/all-type";             // recommended

// UI Components
@import "groundworkcss/ui/boxes";                  // optional
@import "groundworkcss/ui/buttons";                // optional
@import "groundworkcss/ui/forms";                  // optional
@import "groundworkcss/ui/messages";               // optional
@import "groundworkcss/ui/nav";                    // optional
@import "groundworkcss/ui/tables";                 // optional
@import "groundworkcss/ui/tabs";                   // optional

// Animations
@import "groundworkcss/anim/bounce";               // optional
@import "groundworkcss/anim/fade";                 // optional
@import "groundworkcss/anim/flash";                // optional
@import "groundworkcss/anim/flip";                 // optional
@import "groundworkcss/anim/hinge";                // optional
@import "groundworkcss/anim/lightspeed";           // optional
@import "groundworkcss/anim/pulse";                // optional
@import "groundworkcss/anim/roll";                 // optional
@import "groundworkcss/anim/rotate";               // optional
@import "groundworkcss/anim/shake";                // optional
@import "groundworkcss/anim/spin";                 // optional
@import "groundworkcss/anim/swing";                // optional
@import "groundworkcss/anim/tada";                 // optional
@import "groundworkcss/anim/wiggle";               // optional
@import "groundworkcss/anim/wobble";               // optional

@import "groundworkcss/responsive/all-responsive"; // recommended

in application.js

//= require "groundworkcss/jquery-placeholderText"
//= require "groundworkcss/jquery-responsiveTables"
//= require "groundworkcss/jquery-responsiveText"
//= require "groundworkcss/jquery-truncateLines"
//= require "groundworkcss/checklists"
//= require "groundworkcss/dismissible"
//= require "groundworkcss/equalizeColumns"
//= require "groundworkcss/forms"
//= require "groundworkcss/menus"
//= require "groundworkcss/navigation"
//= require "groundworkcss/tabs"

Setup your layout with the GroundworkCSS boilerplate

Add the following to the <head> section in your layout file (i.e. app/views/layouts/application.html.erb)

  <meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="IE=edge,chrome=1" />
  <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1, minimum-scale=1, maximum-scale=1" />
  <%= stylesheet_link_tag("application", :media => "screen") %>
  <!--[if IE]>
  <link type="text/css" rel="stylesheet" href="/assets/groundworkcss/groundwork-ie.css">
  <%= javascript_include_tag("application") %>

Using GroundworkCSS in production

Before pushing your application to production, you'll need to determine how you want your assets served. You can either compile them on-the-fly or precompile them (recommended). Before continuing you'll want to check your Rails application Gemfile and ensure that gem 'groundworkcss' is included in the assets group.

To compile on-the-fly

In your Rails application edit config/application.rb and change:

Bundler.require(*Rails.groups(:assets => %w(development test)))


Bundler.require(:default, :assets, Rails.env)

Then in config/environments/production.rb make sure the following setting exists:

config.assets.compile = true

Assets will be compiled on the first visits to your site, which can cause a delay.

To precompile assets using Capistrano

In your Rails application edit Capfile and add the following line after load 'deploy':

load 'deploy/assets'

Now when you run cap deploy the deploy:assets:precompile task will be run which takes care of running bundle exec rake assets:precompile for you.

By default assets that are precompiled will be located in the public/assets/ folder of your application.


  • compass-rails (~> 1)
  • rails (~> 3.1)
  • jquery-rails (~> 3)
  • autoprefixer-rails (~> 0.7)