Rails library for generating flexible width HTML tables
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A Rails library for generating flexible width HTML tables.

Cheveret: (noun) a small English table of the 18th century, having an oblong top, one or two rows of drawers, and slender legs joined near the bottom by a shelf.


Cheveret was developed for Rails 2.3.8 and might work with more recent versions. There are no other dependencies aside from Rails itself.

To install using Bundler simply add the following to your Gemfile and run a bundle install:

gem 'cheveret', :git => 'git@github.com:ratecity/cheveret.git'


Generating HTML tables of data in the views of your Rails application is not very DRY even for the simpler of cases. Cheveret allows you to more clearly separate logic and templating and reduce the amount of code in your views.

There are several ways to define the structure of a table using Cheveret, the simplest being via the tabulatable method in your ActiveRecord models:

class Book < ActiveRecord::Base
  tabulatable do |t|
    t.flexible :title
    t.column   :author       :width => 200, :flexible => true
    t.column   :release_date :width => 100, :label=> false
    t.sortable :amount,
    t.fixed    :add_to_cart, :width => 120, :display => false



An instance of Cheveret::Table will then be configured on your model, accessible via .cheveret.


You can now render a table in your view by using the cheveret_table helper:

= cheveret_table_for @books

If your view should only display a subset of the defined columns in the table (e.g. not display the add to cart button for non-authenticated users), supply either :only or :exclude:

= cheveret_table_for @books, :exclude => :add_to_cart


By default, Cheveret will attempt to use i18n to look up a sensible label for your column headers using the cheveret.#{object.human_name}.#{column_name}.label scope, where object is the object in which your columns are defined. If a translation is found at .desc in the same scope, it will be used as the HTML title attribute of the label element.

The default behaviour can be overridden by way of the :label option when defining your columns. Prevent the label from being rendered altogether by specifying :label => false.

Lastly, you can completely override the markup for each header cell by using the cheveret_headers_for helper and supplying a block:

= cheveret_headers_for @books do |name, column|
  - case name
  - when :add_to_cart
    = image_tag("add_to_cart.png")

In the above example, the block will be called once for each column in the table and render the results. There are two exceptions to this behaviour:

  1. if the return value is nil, Cheveret will render standard markup using the columns :label setting

  2. otherwise, if the return value is false, no markup will be rendered


When rendering the table body, Cheveret assumes it's dealing with ActiveRecord model objects (or similar) and that you have named your columns to match your data. To get a value for each table cell it will call object.send(column_name) to each of your objects.

This is sufficient for a list of simple ActiveRecord instances, but what if you need to format values, or you want to list something else? Enter the cheveret_body_for helper:

= cheveret_body_for @books do |name, column, book|
  - case name
  - when :amount
    = number_to_currency(book.amount)

This behaves in the same way as cheveret_header, except for the additional 3rd argument passed to the block, which gives access to the data object being rendered.

You could, for example, create a column that is an aggregate of more than one attribute:

= cheveret_body_for @books do |name, column, book|
   - case name
   - when :title
     = "#{book.title} (#{book.edition})"

Or, if you're using Sunspot, list stored search results without hitting the database to get model objects:

= cheveret_body_for @books do |name, column, book|
  = book.stored(name)


  • Make the documentation tell fewer lies
  • Support i18n translations for table headers
  • Handle exceeding table width, drop columns
  • Better support for ActiveRecord model objects
  • Write some tests

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.

Maintainers & Contributors


Copyright (c) 2010 RateCity. See LICENSE for details.