Headliner is a Rails plugin that makes it easier to assign and format page titles from your views.


Normally, if your Rails application has lots of actions and a shared layout, you might find yourself setting custom page title names in your controllers.

Here's an example:

class PagesController < ApplicationController
  def about
    @title = "About us"

Then, in your main layout, you might have something like this:

<title>My website<% if @title %>: <%= @title %><% end %></title>

This works okay... but page titles don't really belong in controllers, do they?

So, by moving these titles into your views, we can DRY things up a bit and reinforce the MVC design pattern that's so fundamental to Ruby on Rails.


To install, just add Headliner to your vendor/plugins directory:

script/plugin install git://


First, add this code to your main layout:

<%= title :site => "My website" %>

Then, to set the page title, add this to each of your views:

<h1><%= title "My page title" %></h1>

When views are rendered, the page title will be included in the right spots:

<title>My website | My page title</title>
<h1>My page title</h1>


Use these options to customize the title format:

:prefix (text between site name and separator)
:separator (text used to separate website name from page title)
:suffix (text between separator and page title)
:lowercase (when true, the page name will be lowercase)
:reverse (when true, the page and site names will be reversed)
:default (default title to use when title is blank)

And here are a few examples to give you ideas.

<%= title :separator => "&mdash;" %>
<%= title :prefix => false, :separator => ":" %>
<%= title :lowercase => true %>
<%= title :reverse => true, :prefix => false %>
<%= title :default => "The ultimate site for Rails" %>

Dealing with special pages

How do you set the page title without showing it in the view?

<% title "My page title" %>

What if your view headline is different from your page title?

<%= title "My page title", "My headline" %>

Mr. T says, ‘Use my method, fool!’

Just like ERB's HTML safe method, you can invoke Headliner with a single letter alias.

<h1><%=t "My page title" %></h1>

Note: this alias conflicts with the Rails Internationalization (I18n) API translation method (since it provides the same alias). If you're app requires I18n support, you should use one of these forks on Github.

How does it work?

Ruby on Rails renders actions before inserting them into layouts. So, if you set a variable in your view, it will be accessible in your layout. But, at first glance, it looks like you're using a variable (in the head) before it's been assigned a value (in the body). Cool, huh?


Special thanks to James Chan, Nick Zadrozny, and Jordan Fowler.


Comments and patches welcome at