[deprecated] Easily manage CSS sprites in Ruby apps
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We love spriter and used it for many years, however we no longer use it here at Reevoo in production so couldn't really recomend for anyone to use it in anger. If you need to generate sprites in a Ruby app take a look at compass.


CSS sprites are a simple way of combining lots of small images into a single large image and reducing the number of HTTP requests a web page has to make. Spriter makes it easy to create and maintain CSS sprites in Ruby apps.

You just write some modified CSS rules in a .spriter file:

span.icon {
  color: red;
  -spriter-background: 'example.png';

And then run all your .spriter files through Spriter to get some .css files and a shared sprite image:

span.icon {
  color: red;
  background: url(/images/sprites.png) no-repeat 0 -98px; /* example.png */

The conversion can take place dynamically whenever the CSS files are requested using a handy Rack middleware (useful for development) or static files can be generated using a few lines of Ruby (as part of your deploy scripts, for example).


You must have Image Magick installed, and the convert command must be in the path of the user or app that is using Spriter.



Just add the Rack::Spriter middleware to your rack stack. For example, in a Rails app you would add this line to your environment.rb:

config.middleware.use 'Rack::Spriter'

You can pass a hash of options to the middleware, using these keys:

  • :sprite_image_path - the path to write the sprite image to (Rails default: 'RAILS_ROOT/public/images/sprites.png')
  • :sprite_image_url - the URL of the sprite image that will be used in the generated CSS files (default: '/images/sprites.png')
  • :stylesheets_url_pattern - URLs matching this pattern will trigger the middleware (default: /stylesheets\/(.+)\.css$/)
  • :stylesheets_path - the directory to look for .spriter files in (Rails default: 'RAILS_ROOT/pubic/stylesheets')
  • :assets_path - the directory to look for source images in (Rails default: 'RAILS_ROOT/public/images/sprite_assets')

Generating static CSS files

To generate static CSS files, you can pass an array of paths to .spriter files into the transform_files method. A .css equivalent for each .spriter file and a shared sprites image will be created.

The CSS files will be created in the same directories as the .spriter source files. The paths for the source images and generated sprite image should be set using the following options before calling transform_files:

  • Spriter.assets_path - the directory to look for source images in
  • Spriter.sprite_image_path - the path to write the sprite image to
  • Spriter.sprite_image_url - the URL of the sprite image that will be used in the generated CSS files

For example:

Spriter.assets_path = '/example_app/public/images/sprite_assets'
Spriter.sprite_image_path = '/example_app/public/images/sprites.png'
Spriter.sprite_image_url = '/images/sprites.png'

paths = Dir.glob('/my/example/app/public/stylesheets/*.spriter').sort


Copyright Revieworld Ltd. 2010

You may use, copy and redistribute this library under the same terms as Ruby itself or under the MIT license.