Ramaze is a simple, light and modular open-source web application framework written in Ruby.
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      Copyright (c) 2009 Michael Fellinger m.fellinger@gmail.com

All files in this distribution are subject to the terms of the Ruby license.

About Ramaze

Ramaze is a very simple and straight-forward web-framework. The philosophy of it could be expressed in a mix of KISS and POLS, trying to make simple things simple and complex things possible.

This of course is nothing new to anyone who knows some ruby, but is often forgotten in a chase for new functionality and features. Ramaze only tries to give you the ultimate tools, but you have to use them yourself to achieve perfect custom-tailored results.

Another one of the goals during development of Ramaze was to make every part as modular and therefor reusable as possible, not only to provide a basic understanding after the first glance, but also to make it as simple as possible to reuse parts of the code.

The original purpose of Ramaze was to act as a kind of framework to build web-frameworks, this was made obsolete by the introduction of rack, which provides this feature at a better level without trying to enforce any structural layout of the resulting framework.

Quick Example

While Ramaze applications are usually spread across multiple directories for controllers, models and views one can quite easily create a very basic application in just a single file:

require 'ramaze'

class MyController < Ramaze::Controller
  map '/'

  def index
    "Hello, Ramaze!"


Once this is saved in a file (you can also run this from IRB) simply execute it using the Ruby binary:

$ ruby hello_ramaze.rb

This starts a WEBRick server listening on localhost:7000.

Features Overview

Ramaze offers following features at the moment:


Ramaze takes advantage of the Rack library to provide a common way of handling different ways to serve its content. A few of the supported Rack adapters are:

  • Mongrel
  • WEBrick
  • FCGI
  • LiteSpeed
  • Thin


Ramaze can in theory support any template engine as long as there's an adapter for it. To make your life easier Ramaze ships with adapters for the following template engines:


  • Hash
  • YAML::Store
  • LocalMemCache
  • MemCache
  • Sequel


Helpers are modules that can be included in your controllers or other classes to make it easier to work with certain classes or systems without having to write the same boilerplate code over and over again. Ramaze has a lot of helpers, the following helpers are loaded by default:

  • CGI: Shortcuts for escape/unescape of the CGI module.
  • File: Helps you serving files from your Controller.
  • Flash: Store a couple of values for one request associated with a session.
  • Link: Easier linking to the various parts of your applications Controllers and Actions.
  • Redirect: Easy redirection.

Other helpers worth mentioning are:

  • CSRF helper: protect your forms from CSRF attacks using a single method.
  • BlueForm: makes working with forms fun again.
  • User: easy authentication using a database model.
  • Identity: makes it easy to work with OpenID systems.

In total Ramaze itself has 29 helpers!

Basic Principles

There are some basic principles that Ramaze tries to follow:

  • KISS (Keep It Super Simple)

    Ramaze doesn't introduce any major change of paradigm for everyone familiar with Ruby and the basics of Web-development.

  • POLS (Principle Of Least Surprise)

    Ramaze tries to be intuitive and easy to learn. Most functionality is built in a way to help, not to obfuscate or confuse.

  • Modular design

    Use what you want and how you want it.

    Through Ruby Ramaze provides one of the most powerful programming-languages available, giving you full control over your system.

    Even the most essential parts of Ramaze can easily be replaced and/or modified without losing the advantage of the whole framework.

  • Minimal dependencies

    Nothing besides Ruby is required for the basic features.

    Of course you can take advantage of several wonderful libraries, but Ramaze is built in a way to be run on any basic setup.

  • Documentation

    Document everything, classes, modules, methods, configuration...

    Through 100% documentation Ramaze gives the developer easy and solid understanding of the underlying concepts and functionality.

  • Open development

    Everyone is welcome to contribute to Ramaze in the easiest way possible. The repository is open for patches passing the Test-suite.

  • Examples

    Everyone learns different, some only read the source, others browse documentation, but everyone loves examples for a quick and painless start.

    Ramaze addresses this need and offers a wide variety of examples of usage, basic functionality, project-layout and more advanced applications.

  • Fully BDD (Behaviour Driven Design)

    Ramaze has a very complete set of so-called specifications built by RSpec. These specs define the way Ramaze has to behave.

    The specs are checked every time a new patch is pushed into the repository, deciding whether the changes the patch applies are valid and don't break the framework.



The simplest way of installing Ramaze is via the gem.

Rubygems is the package manager for ruby apps and libraries and provides you with the last tagged version of Ramaze.

$ gem install ramaze

Versions are made as we see fit and get an announcement out (usually that's the major obstacle as there is a lot to announce).


To get the latest and sweetest, you can just pull from the repository and run Ramaze that way.

$ git clone git://github.com/ramaze/ramaze.git

Please read the man git or git help for more information about updating and creating your own patches. This is at the moment the premier way to use Ramaze, since it is the way I use it.

Some hints for the usage of Git.

  • Use require 'ramaze' from everywhere

    Simply add the path to your repository to the RUBYLIB environment variable. If you are using bash you can simply put following line into your .bashrc:

    $ export RUBYLIB="$HOME/path/to/repo/lib/"

    Of course you should put the real path instead, you can also add multiple paths, or create your personal site_ruby:

    $ export RUBYLIB="$HOME/ruby/ramaze/lib:$HOME/.site_ruby:$HOME/ruby/bacon/lib"
  • Use require 'ramaze' system wide from everywhere

    add a file to your site_ruby directory named 'ramaze.rb' the content should be: require '/path/to/git/repo/ramaze/lib/ramaze'

  • Pull the latest version

    $ git pull

  • Reset the repo to original state (if you screw up something)

    $ git reset --hard # resets the whole repo

  • Revert changes to (for example) lib/ramaze.rb only

    $ git checkout master lib/ramaze.rb

  • Add and commit all changes.

    $ git commit -a

  • Adding only specific changes.

    # Add hunks you want to commit to the staging area (index) $ git add -p

  • Commit the changes into the history of your repository

    # Create a commit from the hunks added $ git commit

  • output your patches into a bundle ready to be mailed (compress it before sending to make sure it arrives in the way you sent it)

    At the end of this process you will have a tar.bz2 for all your changes that you can mail to ramaze@googlegroups.com

    # make sure you are on latest revision to avoid conflicts
    $ git pull
    # create 00xx-blah.patch files against the remote repo
    $ git format-patch origin/HEAD
    # From here on you can use either git-send-email or go the manual route
    $ tar -cjf ramaze_bundle.tar.bz2 *.patch

Direct Download

You can alternatively download the latest source code in a tarball from here.

Getting Started

Now that you have a vague idea of what you're about to get into you might just want to get a way to get up and running ASAP. Please read below for more information about installation.

Depending on what you are planning to do you can either just go and start reading the source or directly get some hands-on experience by trying some of the examples. Most things will require dependencies though. The basic functionality is provided by the WEBrick adapter and the Template::Ramaze, which just run out of the box. For more features you will have to install some templating-engines and mongrel (very recommended). Ramaze will inform you when it needs further dependencies, so just go and try some things.

Some places to get started are:

  • Read the documentation.
  • Run and read the test cases.
  • Look at the examples and run/modify them.

A couple of Examples

There are some examples for your instant pleasure inside the examples-directory in the Ramaze-distribution. You can start up an example just as you usually would any other ruby program:

$ ruby examples/basic/hello.rb


$ cd examples/app/blog
$ ruby start.rb

For more information about the usage of ramaze try:

$ ramaze --help

Examples include:

  • examples/basic/hello.rb Hello, World!

  • examples/basic/simple.rb A bit more advanced than the hello-example, but still very basic.

  • examples/app/blog Not yet fully functional, but coming along.

  • examples/app/whywiki A basic examples of a minimalistic application, based on the Wiki of _why in his camping-framework.

  • examples/templates examples of real usage of the templating-engines. Tries to implement the same functionality in each template_*.rb file using a different engine.

  • Many more fully functional examples can be found in the examples folder.

How to find Help

For help you can:

And thanks to...

There are a large number of people who made Ramaze possible by their ongoing efforts in the world of open source and by encouraging and helping me.

This list is by no means a full listing of all these people, but I try to get a good coverage despite that.

I would like to thank:

  • Yukihiro Matsumoto a.k.a matz

    For giving the world Ruby and bringing fun back into programming.

  • Zed Shaw a.k.a. zedas

    For developing Mongrel, Ramaze started out as a simple Hello World based on that awesome server.

  • Christian Neukirchen a.k.a chris2

    For building rack, which is just what the numerous web-developers had anticipated and which will, with no doubt, change the world.

  • Pistos

    For continious encouragment and building the first real webpage on Ramaze. His bugreports were invaluable.

  • Jim Weirich

    For Rake, which lifts off a lot of tasks from the shoulders of every developer who uses it.

  • Thomas Sawyer a.k.a Trans

    Dragging me deep into the rabbit-hole and showing me how awesome Ruby truely is through his work on facets, ratchets and tons of other projects.

  • George Moschovitis a.k.a gmosx

    For his tremendous efforts in the Nitro/Og framework, which is a source of steady inspiration for Ramaze and brought me to Ruby in the first place.

  • Rob Levin a.k.a. lilo

    He founded the most excellent Freenode IRC-network, where the most important channels for rubyists are located (as is #ramaze). May he rest in peace.

  • The guys (and gals) in the various channels on Freenode

    As the people are way too many to be listed, here the channels that i call my online home. All the people in there deserve special thanks for getting me hooked to Ruby and providing their help in a friendly and patient manner.

    • #nitro
    • #ruby-de
    • #ruby-lang
    • #rubyforce