Image equivalent to Rails button_to and some more
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Image Button To

Ruby on Rails provides the following helpers:

  • button_to

  • button_to_function

  • button_to_remote

which wrap a form around a submit_tag to easily create buttons pointing to some action.

What Ruby on Rails doesn't provide is a counterpart for image_submit_tag. This gem provides that. It basically contains three helpers:

  • image_button_to

  • image_button_to_remote

  • image_button_to_function


The canonical places for this gem are:


This gem is provided through Gemcutter so you need to have gem configured to pull gems from Gemcutter.

Enabling Gemcutter

A properly configured environment would be like this:

$ gem sources

If you don't have in your sources then you need to add. I know two ways to do. One is installing Gemcutter and running gem tumble:

$ sudo gem install gemcutter
$ gem tumble

Be careful that gem tumble will remove Gemcutter from your repositories if it's already there.

The other way is by hand like this:

$ gem source -a

I'm not sure if there's any difference. I think there isn't one.

Installing image_button_to manually

It's simple a matter of running:

$ gem install image_button_to

and that's it. Let me know if something breaks.

Installing through your Ruby on Rails project

In the environment.rb file of your Ruby on Rails project you'll have some commented out lines like this:

# config.gem "bj"
# config.gem "hpricot", :version => '0.6', :source => ""
# config.gem "sqlite3-ruby", :lib => "sqlite3"
# config.gem "aws-s3", :lib => "aws/s3"

After those you can just add

config.gem "image_button_to"

and then run

$ rake gems:install

and you'll get this and all the gems your Rails project need installed. Configuring your Rails project like that is something you'll need anyway, so this is my recommended way.

Using the helpers

Be sure to have you Rails project properly configured to load this gem like it's explained in the previous section, in “Installing through your Ruby on Rails project”. After that, using each of the methods is equivalent to using the non-image provided by Ruby on Rails, but passing the path to the image instead of the text.

The path to the image is treated in the same way image_submit_tags treat it (appending “images/” and whatnot). Some examples from (where this code was born):

<%= image_button_to "yes-up.png", vote_up_item_url(:id => %>
<%= image_button_to "no-up.png", vote_down_item_url(:id => %>
<%= image_button_to_remote "yes-up-small.png", :update => item.slug, :url => vote_up_item_url(:id => %>
<%= image_button_to_remote "no-up-small.png", :update => item.slug, :url => vote_down_item_url(:id => %>

Check the documentation for image_button_tag and button_to, this is just a merge.


Up to date documentation should be automatically generated on

Note on Patches/Pull Requests

  • Fork the project.

  • Make your feature addition or bug fix.

  • Add tests for it. This is important so I don't break it in a future version unintentionally.

  • Commit, do not mess with rakefile, version, or history. (if you want to have your own version, that is fine but bump version in a commit by itself I can ignore when I pull)

  • Send me a pull request. Bonus points for topic branches.


Copyright © 2009 J. Pablo Fernández. See LICENSE for details.