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Hydrogen is a framework for building extendable Ruby programs. It enables other ruby programs to tie into another for configuration purposes. You should use hydrogen if your program needs to be customized by external code. Hydrogen allows your main application and external applications to:

  1. Customize sets of file paths
  2. Load generators
  3. Load rake tests
  4. Load code for CLI access
  5. Enable 3rd party code to extend the main application
  6. Enable callbacks to 3rd party code

Writing Commands

Commands are individual Thor classes that implement small bits of functionality. Components can load commands. Loaded commands will be accessible via a Hydrogen::CLI class.

Here's an example:

# First: write your command
class GreetCommand < Hydrogen::Command
  # This is a general description used by thor
  # when the main help command is run
  description "Says hello"

  desc "hello MSG", "print the hello message"
  def hello(msg)
    puts msg

# Second: connect it with a component
# greeter_component.rb
class GreeterComponent < Hydrogen::Component
  # classes ending in Command will use the snake case 
  # version of the first part for the command name.
  command GreetCommand

# Third: setup the CLI
# cli.rb
require 'hydrogen'
require 'greeter' # loads the greeter component

class MyCLI < Hydrogen::CLI


# Finally in the shell
$ ruby ./cli greet hello Adam

Now any number of external or internal libraries can augment your main CLI. All CLI classes inherit from Thor so everything is available.

Adding Paths

Components may also specify paths for use in other components. These paths don't mean anything initially. The API is abstract. You should use it as a low layer to build upon.

class AutoLoader < Hydrogen::Component
  # The key presents the purpose
  paths[:images].add "lib/images" # add a directory
  paths[:images].add "icons", :glob => "*.png" # add files

Writing Generators

Third party code and include generators. Generators are invoked through a Hydrogen::CLI. Generators are subclasses of Hydrogen::Generator. Each generator defines a full_name method. This method is used to lookup generators via the CLI. The full_name is the namespace and the name by default. Override these methods if you like. Here's an example.

# Create a generator
class FooGenerator < Hydrogen::Generator
  def self.full_name

# Now assume you have a simple CLI Ready
# cli.rb
class CLI < Hydrogen::CLI ; end


At this point you can run your generator:

$ cli generate foo:bar:baz

It is awkward to define the full_name method all the time. You can avoid this by following naming conventions. Here are some example:

Foo::Bar::BazGenerator => foo:baz
Foo::Bar::Baz => foo:baz

You can also set a custom namespace if you like:

# This class can be invoked with "ember:foo"

class FooGenerator < Hydrogen::Generator
  namespace :ember

You may also redfine the name if you like. This is the class name without "Generator" by default.

# This class can be invoked with "ember:adam"

class FooGenerator < Hydrogen::Generator
  namespace :ember


If you don't care about any of this stuff then you can simply leave things as and they will work more or less as you expect.

Generators may also be invoked via a default namespace. This is used when you want your bundled generators to be invokable without a namespace but namespaced in code. A real life is example is: rails g model vs rails g rspec:setup. The default namespace is hydrogen. Here's an example:

module Hydrogen
  class FooGenerator < Generator

You can invoke this generator by cli g foo or cli g hydrogen:foo. You can redfine the default namespace by defining Hydrogen::Generators.default_namespace.

Structuring Generators

Generators are required at invokation time so their file names need to follow a convention. Assume / in the following example is on $LOAD_PATH.


Generator Templates

The source_root for generators is also prefined for you. Its also based on the class name. Say you have this generator:

# /ember/model_generator.rb
class Ember::ModelGenerator < Hydrogen::Generator


Your templates directory would be /ember/model/templates


  1. Fork it
  2. Create your feature 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 new Pull Request