Ruby gem to track popular streams with a redis backend.
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Popular Stream

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Simple popular content tracker with a Redis backend.

Mostly taken from the "Popular Stream" code found in the Surfacing Interesting Content post but bundled up as a gem.

PopularStream tracks an "event" on a group of "fields" and returns the ones that are currently popular.

For example, if you want to track the most popular tags right now you, the event would be "tagging" and the field would be the tag name ("rubygems" for example).

The way this works is that "old" votes will count less than newer votes, that way a tag that was used 20 times today will be more popular than a tag used 30 times last week.

Here are more details about how this gem works.

This gem was extracted from the We Heart It codebase.

Once again, thanks to Micah Fivecoate for his post.


Add this line to your application's Gemfile:

gem 'popular_stream'

And then execute:

$ bundle

Or install it yourself as:

$ gem install popular_stream

This gems requires Ruby 2.1.


There are two main methods vote and get. vote adds an event to the list and get gets the most popular fields on the distribution.

stream ="popular_tags") 'rubygems')

# You can also add an optional `weight` param. 'ruby', weight: 2)

# And you can even specify when the event happened.
# Notice that time is a number, meaning seconds since Epoc.
time = Date.yesterday.to_time 'rubygems', time: time.to_i)

stream.get # => ['rubygems', 'ruby']

# You can pass `limit` and `offset`
stream.get(limit: 1, offset: 1) # => ['ruby']
stream.get(offset: 10) # => []

# You can ask to get the scores as well
stream.get(with_scores: true) # => [['ruby', 0.00001]]

Seting up & Configuring Redis

Popular Stream uses Redis as the storage database. By default it will connect to the redis client on ENV['REDIS_URL']. You can also specify what redis client to use with PopularStream.redis = '').

Notice that this is for all streams. This is because we don't want to create new connections for every new stream instance we create, so the same client is used.


  • Sinatra application. I want to bundle an optional Sinatra application that makes this gem super simple to setup as a service.

  • Multiple storage databases. Right now everything's stored on Redis but it should be simple to use more stuff. People should be able to create "adapters" and use them as needed.


  1. Fork it ( )
  2. Create your a new branch (git checkout -b my-new-feature)
  3. Commit your changes (git commit -am 'Add some feature')
  4. Push to the branch (git push origin my-new-feature)
  5. Create a new Pull Request

If you're gonna open a Pull Request, please install EditorConfig, it will keep most of the basic code styling consistent.