Automatically refresh your browser when a file has changed (using WebSockets)
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spec Sweet Jan 18, 2011



AutoRefresh is inspired by XRefresh, a tool to automatically refresh your browser when a file has changed, allowing web designers working with multiple monitors to preview changes without leaving your editor.

XRefresh requires that you install a Firefox extension and run a local server to watch for changes in your files, and only works on Mac/Windows.

AutoRefresh approaches the problem in a different way, using watchr.


gem install autorefresh


Add the AutoRefresh gem to your project

require 'autorefresh'

Insert a JavaScript snippet in your page template using the AutoRefresh helper. Remember only to include this snippet in your development environment, so users don't end up getting their page refreshed. You should give your channel a unique name that won't conflict with other developers using AutoRefresh.

    <%='myproject') %>

Now create a refresh.watchr file (or use an existing file, if you are already using Watchr to run your tests), and add some rules for the files you want to watch using regular expressions.


watch( 'public/stylesheets/.*\.css' ) { |m| system('autorefresh myproject') }

Now run Watchr to begin observing changes in your files.

$ watchr refresh.watchr

And enjoy your new workflow!

Usage without ERB

Simply use this snippet instead of the automatic helper.

<script src="" type="text/javascript"></script>
<script type="text/javascript">
  var pusher = new Pusher('a2024b659f492cab86cc');
  pusher.bind('refresh', function(data) {

Usage without Watchr

The autorefresh system command sends a refresh signal to your channel.

$ autorefresh myproject

You could bind this to a key in your editor, or whatever other method you prefer.

Contributing to AutoRefresh

  • Check out the latest master to make sure the feature hasn't been implemented or the bug hasn't been fixed yet

  • Check out the issue tracker to make sure someone already hasn't requested it and/or contributed it

  • Fork the project

  • Start a feature/bugfix branch

  • Commit and push until you are happy with your contribution

  • Make sure to add tests for it. This is important so I don't break it in a future version unintentionally.

  • Please try not to mess with the Rakefile, version, or history. If you want to have your own version, or is otherwise necessary, that is fine, but please isolate to its own commit so I can cherry-pick around it.


Copyright © 2011 Logan Koester. See LICENSE.txt for further details.