Yet another meta data manager for Rails 3 & friends
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ManageMeta - Version: 0.0.14

ManageMeta is yet another meta tag manager for Rails 3.x. Its features are: recognizes tags should render as HTTP-EQUIV; supports the Google 'canonical' link; is extensible; is non-intrusive

NOTE: ManageMeta works by includeing itself into ActionController::Base via an initializer which is enclosed in ManageMeta::Railtie. This works for Rails 3.0.x and 3.1.x. Don't know if it works in Rails 2.x

What's New in Release 0.0.14?

Support for Facebook Open Graph.

It's a bit clunky, but it will work and can be used to use ManageMeta as a prerequisite for an Open Graph metadata handling module. I may do that 'one of these days', but until then, see sketch below.

How to use it

Include the gem by adding this to your Gemfile file

gem "manage_meta", ">=0.0.13"


gem "manage_meta", :git => "git://"

Then, in your controller actions, call add_meta() for each meta tag you want to define.

add_meta :author, 'Fred Fink'

If there are meta tags you don't want to define, you can use del_meta() to remove them. At present there are only two automatically defined: 'robots' and 'generator'. You may also redefine them by using add_meta() to give them new values.

If there is a meta tag which requires a currently unsupported format, you may add the format using add_meta_format(), and then add the tag using add_meta().

Finally, edit app/views/layouts/application.html.erb - or equivalent - to insert

<%= render_meta %>

into the head section of your HTML output. This will render and return all of the defined meta tags.

NOTE: manage_meta now creates charset meta tags for HTML5 and (if desired) HTML4.01 and XHTML output. These tags should be placed early in the section of your page.

manage_meta does this by inserting the appropriate meta tag at the head of the rendered metadata. Consequently, you should put the <%= render_meta %> statement IMMEDIATELY after the tag if (1) your document is an HTML5 OR (2) it is HTML 4 or XHTML and you add_meta(:content_type, ...).

What it Adds

ManageMeta defines seven (9) methods and three (6) instance variables into all classes derived from ApplicationController

The public methods are:

  • add_meta() - adds a meta tag
  • del_meta() - which deletes a meta tag
  • add_meta_format() - which adds a meta tag format
  • render_meta() - which returns a string rendering all currently
  • defined meta tags.
  • manage_meta_set_emit_encoding(bool) - sets @@manage_meta_emit_encoding. (set to false if you want to include your encoding by hand) [default is true]
  • manage_meta_set_encoding() - allows setting character encoding
  • manage_meta_set_html_version() - allows setting html version to html5, html4, or xhtml

private methods:

  • _manage_meta_init - initializes required instance variables. _manage_meta_init is called automatically from the public methods
  • _manage_meta_sym_to_name - returns Content-Length when given :content_length, etc. It works with either symbols or strings and strips extra underscores and hyphens
  • _manage_meta_name_to_sym - returns symbol :foo_bar_baz when given a name of the form 'Foo-Bar-Baz'. It also works when given a symbol and strips extra underscores and hyphens.

The instance variables are three hashes. None have readers or writers:

  • @manage_meta_meta_hash - a Hash containing mapping defined meta tag names to content values
  • @manage_meta_format_hash - a Hash mapping known meta tag format symbols to actual format strings. Contains entries such as :content_type => :named and :content_length => :http_equiv
  • @manage_meta_name_to_format - a Hash mapping meta tag name strings to known formats. Formats are initialized to the three symbols: :named, :http_equiv, and :canonical (see below). add_meta_format() is used to add formats to this hash.

The Details

Here are the ugly details

charset meta tags

charset meta tags are ONLY emitted if the class variable @@manage_meta_set_encoding is true. Inasmuch as ManageMeta is included in ApplicationController::Base, this effects all controllers.

You control the value of this variable using manage_meta_set_emit_encoding(). The default is true, so the charset meta tags are emitted - subject to . . .

NOTE: If @@manage_meta_emit_encoding is true, character encoding strings are

  • always emitted for HTML 5 pages
  • Only emitted for HTML 4.01 and XHTML pages IF a :content_type meta tag is added via add_meta()

Methods in Detail


add_meta() accepts values in any of three formats:

  • add_meta(name, value[, :format => :format_name] [, :no_capitalize => true/false])
  • add_meta(name, value[, :format => :format_name][, :no_capitalize => true/false]) do ... end
  • add_meta(name[, :format => :format_name][, :no_capitalize => true/false]) do ... end


  • name must be something which responds to 'to_s'. It will be used for the name (or http-equiv) attribute of the meta tag.
  • value must be something which responds to 'to_s' and is not a Hash. Normally it will simply be a string. If given, it supplies the leading part of the content attribute of the meta tag
  • The option :format must supply an existing key in @manage_meta_format_hash. It is used to associate a meta tag format with name. If not given and not currently defined in @manage_meta_format_hash, it will be set to :named. (see below for details)
  • The option :no_capitalize controls capitalization of each word in the name attribute when translated to a String. This was added to deal with Facebook Open Graph property tags which are of the form 'og:title' and 'fb:admins', etc. :no_capitalize should be a boolean.
  • The optional block is evaluated and the return value is used as the second [or only] part of the content attribute of the meta tag.

Three meta tag formats are defined automatically:

  • :named => '<meta name="#{name}" content="#{content}" charset="utf-8" />'
  • :http_equiv => '<meta http-equiv="#{name}" content="#{content}" charset="utf-8" />'
  • :canonical => '<link rel="canonical" href="#{content}" />'

The @manage_meta_name_to_format is populated with entries mapping known HTTP-EQUIV tags and the CANONICAL Google link tag to the correct format.


del_meta() is almost useless. It's there in case you want to get ride of a default tag.


If the meta tag is defined in @manage_meta_meta_hash, then it will be deleted. Nothing bad happens if it isn't.


add_meta_format(format_name, format_string) adds the format_string to @manage_meta_format_hash under the key format_name

format_name will be converted to a symbol using _manage_meta_sym_to_name().

It's your responsibility to format the string properly: render_meta() will replace #{name} and #{content} with the string values given for the meta tag - if present. It is not an error to omit either or both #{name} and/or #{content}. The value used for #{name} result of calling _manage_meta_sym_to_name() on the meta element key.



simply goes through all the defined key, value pairs in @manage_meta_meta_hash and returns their associated format strings after replacing the #{name} and #{content} symbols with their values.

#{name} is replaced with the meta tag key [as in :content_type] passed through _manage_meta_sym_to_name().

#{value} is replaced by the value assigned in @manage_meta_meta_hash.

manage_meta_set_encoding( encoding )

Sets the instance variable @manage_meta_encoding to encoding. The default value is utf-8, so don't bother unless you're using something else.

manage_meta_set_html_version( version )

sets the instance variable @manage_meta_html_version to the symbol associated with string version. Version is decoded using regular expressions which match strings like html5, html 5, HTML 5, html 4, etc.

The actual value is one of the symbols: :html5, :html4, or :xhtml.

An ArgumentError is raised if version does not match a known string.

The value of @manage_meta_html_version is used in prepending a charset meta tag to string emitted by render_meta.

Instance Variables in Detail

All three hashes use symbols for keys.


maps format keys to format strings. See add_meta_format() above for details

keys are symbols,

values are strings which are used to render meta tags


Maps meta tag name keys to values to insert into the content field of the meta tag element.

keys are symbols which are used for the names of meta tags

values are strings


Maps meta tag name symbols to meta tag format string symbols. Contains entries such as :content_length => :http_equiv

both keys and values are symbols


Boolean which is true or false. Controls whether or not an encoding meta tag is emitted


String which is used in the charset meta tag which is emitted


Symbol which represents the html version used in the page. Possible values are html4, html4, and xhtml. Currently only used to control what type of charset encoding meta tag to emit.

A Facebook Open Graph Sketch

First define an appropriate format:

`add_meta_format :property, '<meta property="#{name}" content="#{content}" charset="utf-8">'`

Then, add each Open Graph meta tag you need, specifying both :format and :no_capitalize options:

`add_meta 'og:title', 'This is a Title', :format => :property, :no_capitalize => true`

You can specify the Open Graph property name as a string (above) or as a symbol :'og:title', but - inasmuch as they contain colons (:) - you need to enclose them in quotes.