Virtual data-oriented environments for Rails
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Sandboxy allows you to use virtual data-oriented environments inside a Rails application while being able to switch between them at runtime. It achieves that by using a combination of Rack Middleware and ActiveRecord.

Table of Contents


Sandboxy works with Rails 5 onwards. You can add it to your Gemfile with:

gem 'sandboxy'

And then execute:

$ bundle

Or install it yourself as:

$ gem install sandboxy

If you always want to be up to date fetch the latest from GitHub in your Gemfile:

gem 'sandboxy', github: 'jonhue/sandboxy'

Now run the generator:

$ rails g sandboxy

To wrap things up, migrate the changes into your database:

$ rails db:migrate



Add Sandboxy to the models where you want to separate records depending on their environments:

class Foo < ApplicationRecord

In most use cases you would want to add sandboxy to a lot of ActiveRecord models if not all. To simplify that you could create a new class and let all your models inherit from it:

class SharedSandbox < ApplicationRecord
  self.abstract_class = true

class Foo < SharedSandbox

sandboxy methods

By default you can only access records belonging to the current environment (defined by Sandboxy.environment):

Sandboxy.environment = 'test'
Foo.all # => returns all test foo's
Sandboxy.environment = 'sandbox'
Foo.all # => returns all sandbox foo's

Now to access the records belonging to a certain environment regardless of your current environment, you can use:

Foo.live_environment # => returns all live foo's
Foo.sandbox_environment # => returns all sandbox foo's
Foo.desandbox # => returns all foo's

Let's check to which environment this Foo belongs:

foo = Foo.create!
foo.live_environment? # => false
foo.sandbox_environment? # => true

You should keep in mind that when you create a new record, it will automatically belong to your app's current environment.

Don't worry, you can move records between environments:

foo.live_environment? # => true
foo.sandbox_environment? # => true

Switching environments

At runtime you can always switch environments anywhere in your application by setting Sandboxy.environment. You can set it to any string you like. That makes Sandboxy super flexible.

Sandboxy.environment = 'live'
Sandboxy.live_environment? # => true
Sandboxy.sandbox_environment? # => false

Sandbox & APIs

It's flexibility allows Sandboxy to work really well with APIs.

Typically an API provides two sets of authentication credentials for a consumer - one for live access and one for sandbox/testing.

Whenever you authenticate your API's consumer, just make sure to set Sandboxy.environment accordingly to the credential the consumer used. From thereon, Sandboxy will make sure that your consumer only reads & updates data from the environment he is in.


You can configure Sandboxy by passing a block to configure. This can be done in config/initializers/sandboxy.rb:

Sandboxy.configure do |config|
  config.default = 'sandbox'

default Set your environment default. This is the environment that your app boots with. By default it gets refreshed with every new request to your server. Takes a string. Defaults to 'live'.

retain Retain your current app environment on new requests. If set to false, your app will return to your default environment on every new request. Takes a boolean. Defaults to false.


Tests are written with Shoulda on top of Test::Unit with Factory Girl being used instead of fixtures. Tests are run using rake.

  1. Fork this repository
  2. Clone your forked git locally
  3. Install dependencies

$ bundle install

  1. Run tests

$ rake test

Test Coverage

Test coverage can be calculated using SimpleCov. Make sure you have the simplecov gem installed.

  1. Add SimpleCov to the Gemfile
  2. Uncomment the relevant section in test/test_helper.rb
  3. Run tests

$ rake test

To do

We use GitHub projects to coordinate the work on this project.

To propose your ideas, initiate the discussion by adding a new issue.


We hope that you will consider contributing to Sandboxy. Please read this short overview for some information about how to get started:

Learn more about contributing to this repository, Code of Conduct

Semantic Versioning

Sandboxy follows Semantic Versioning 2.0 as defined at