Spring is a Rails application preloader. It speeds up development by keeping your application running in the background so you don't need to boot it every time you run a test, rake task or migration.
- Totally automatic; no need to explicitly start and stop the background process
- Reloads your application code on each run
- Restarts your application when configs / initializers / gem dependencies are changed
- Ruby versions: MRI 1.9.3, MRI 2.0, MRI 2.1
- Rails versions: 3.2, 4.0
Spring makes extensive use of
Process.fork, so won't be able to
provide a speed up on platforms which don't support forking (Windows, JRuby).
Add spring to your Gemfile:
gem "spring", group: :development
It's recommended to 'springify' the executables in your
$ bundle install $ bundle exec spring binstub --all
This generates a
bin/spring executable, and inserts a small snippet of
code into relevant existing executables. The snippet looks like this:
begin load File.expand_path("../spring", __FILE__) rescue LoadError end
On platforms where spring is installed and supported, this snippet hooks spring into the execution of commands. In other cases, the snippet will just be silently ignored and the lines after it will be executed as normal.
If you don't want to prefix every command you type with
can use direnv to automatically add
./bin to your
PATH when you
cd into your application.
For this walkthrough I've generated a new Rails application, and run
rails generate scaffold posts name:string.
Let's run a test:
$ time bin/rake test test/functional/posts_controller_test.rb Run options: # Running tests: ....... Finished tests in 0.127245s, 55.0121 tests/s, 78.5887 assertions/s. 7 tests, 10 assertions, 0 failures, 0 errors, 0 skips real 0m2.165s user 0m0.281s sys 0m0.066s
That wasn't particularly fast because it was the first run, so spring had to boot the application. It's now running:
$ bin/spring status Spring is running: 26150 spring server | spring-demo-app | started 3 secs ago 26155 spring app | spring-demo-app | started 3 secs ago | test mode
The next run is faster:
$ time bin/rake test test/functional/posts_controller_test.rb Run options: # Running tests: ....... Finished tests in 0.176896s, 39.5714 tests/s, 56.5305 assertions/s. 7 tests, 10 assertions, 0 failures, 0 errors, 0 skips real 0m0.610s user 0m0.276s sys 0m0.059s
If we edit any of the application files, or test files, the changes will be picked up on the next run without the background process having to restart. This works in exactly the same way as the code reloading which allows you to refresh your browser and instantly see changes during development.
But if we edit any of the files which were used to start the application (configs, initializers, your gemfile), the application needs to be fully restarted. This happens automatically.
$ touch config/application.rb $ bin/spring status Spring is running: 26150 spring server | spring-demo-app | started 36 secs ago 26556 spring app | spring-demo-app | started 1 sec ago | test mode
The application detected that
config/application.rb changed and
automatically restarted itself.
If we run a command that uses a different environment, then that environment gets booted up:
$ bin/rake routes posts GET /posts(.:format) posts#index POST /posts(.:format) posts#create new_post GET /posts/new(.:format) posts#new edit_post GET /posts/:id/edit(.:format) posts#edit post GET /posts/:id(.:format) posts#show PUT /posts/:id(.:format) posts#update DELETE /posts/:id(.:format) posts#destroy $ bin/spring status Spring is running: 26150 spring server | spring-demo-app | started 1 min ago 26556 spring app | spring-demo-app | started 42 secs ago | test mode 26707 spring app | spring-demo-app | started 2 secs ago | development mode
There's no need to "shut down" spring. This will happen automatically
when you close your terminal. However if you do want to do a manual shut
down, use the
$ bin/spring stop Spring stopped.
To remove spring:
- 'Unspring' your bin/ executables:
bin/spring binstub --remove --all
- Remove spring from your Gemfile
Runs a rake task. Rake tasks run in the
development environment by
default. You can change this on the fly by using the
environment variable. The environment is also configurable with the
Spring::Commands::Rake.environment_matchers hash. This has sensible
defaults, but if you need to match a specific task to a specific
environment, you'd do it like this:
Spring::Commands::Rake.environment_matchers["perf_test"] = "test" Spring::Commands::Rake.environment_matchers[/^perf/] = "test" # To change the environment when you run `rake` with no arguments Spring::Commands::Rake.environment_matchers[:default] = "development"
These execute the rails command you already know and love. If you run
a different sub command (e.g.
rails server) then spring will automatically
pass it through to the underlying
rails executable (without the
You can add these to your Gemfile for additional commands (run
spring stop afterwards
to pick up the changes):
- spring-commands-testunit - useful for
Test::Unittests on Rails 3, since only Rails 4 allows you to use
rake test path/to/testto run a particular test/directory.
Use without adding to bundle
If you don't want spring-related code checked into your source repository, it's possible to use spring without adding to your Gemfile. However, using spring binstubs without adding spring to the Gemfile is not supported.
To use spring like this, do a
gem install spring and then prefix
spring. For example, rather than running
spring rake -T.
Spring will read
config/spring.rb for custom
settings. Note that
~/.spring.rb is loaded before bundler, but
config/spring.rb is loaded after bundler. So if you have any
spring-commands-* gems installed that you want to be available in all
projects without having to be added to the project's Gemfile, require
them in your
Spring must know how to find your Rails application. If you have a normal app everything works out of the box. If you are working on a project with a special setup (an engine for example), you must tell Spring where your app is located:
Spring.application_root = './test/dummy'
Running code before forking
There is no
Spring.before_fork callback. To run something before the
fork, you can place it in
config/spring.rb or in any of the files
which get run when your application initializers, such as
For example, if loading your test helper is slow, you might like to
preload it to speed up your test runs. To do this you could add the
following to your
config.after_initialize do require Rails.root.join("test/helper") end
Running code after forking
You might want to run code after Spring forked off the process but
before the actual command is run. You might want to use an
after_fork callback if you have to connect to an external service,
do some general cleanup or set up dynamic configuration.
Spring.after_fork do # run arbitrary code end
If you want to register multiple callbacks you can simply call
Spring.after_fork multiple times with different blocks.
Watching files and directories
Spring will automatically detect file changes to any file loaded when the server boots. Changes will cause the affected environments to be restarted.
If there are additional files or directories which should trigger an
application restart, you can specify them with
By default Spring polls the filesystem for changes once every 0.2 seconds. This method requires zero configuration, but if you find that it's using too much CPU, then you can turn on event-based file system listening:
Spring.watch_method = :listen
You may need to add the
listen gem to your
If you want to get more information about what spring is doing, you can
specify a log file with the
SPRING_LOG environment variable:
spring stop # if spring is already running export SPRING_LOG=/tmp/spring.log spring rake -T