compass rails integration
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Compass rails is an adapter for the Compass Stylesheet Authoring Framework for Ruby on Rails.

Since Compass v0.12, this adapter is the only way to install compass into your rails application.

This adapter supports rails versions 2.3 and greater. Rails 2.3 and 3.0 users please read the caviats below.


Add the compass-rails gem line to a group called :assets in your application's Gemfile (Rails 3.1+ users should already have the :assets group):

group :assets do
  gem 'compass-rails'

If you are using any Compass extensions, add them to this group in your Gemfile.

And then execute:

$ bundle

To set up your project with starter stylesheets and a configuration file:

$ bundle exec compass init

If using a compass-based framework (like susy or blueprint) then you can use the --using option to set thi:

$ bundle exec compass init --using blueprint

Note that the compass init step is optional if you have a project running Rails 3.0 or greater.

Upgrading existing rails projects using Compass to CompassRails

First and foremost, follow the installation instructions above.

CompassRails uses the rails convention for stylesheet locations even in older versions of rails that do not use the assets pipeline. If you have your stylesheets already in app/stylesheets, you have two choices:

  1. Move your stylesheets to app/assets/stylesheets.
  2. Configure your project to look in app/assets/stylesheets by setting config.compass.sass_dir = "app/stylesheets" in your rails configuration or by setting sass_dir = "app/stylesheets" in your compass configuration file.


If you have a compass configuration file (recommended) then you can use the Compass configuration reference as is. If you choose to configure compass from your rails configuration files, then you should understand that the compass configuration options explained there will be methods and properties on the config.compass configuration object exposed to rails within any configuration block.


Developing with Rails-based Compilation

By default, your sass files in app/assets/stylesheets will be automatically compiled by the the Sass::Plugin or the Rails asset pipeline depending on the version of rails that you use.

When using this approach you will need to reload your webpage in order to trigger a recompile of your stylesheets.

Developing with the Compass watcher

When using the Compass watcher to update your stylesheets, your stylesheets are recompiled as soon as you save your Sass files. In this mode, compiled stylesheets will be written to your project's public folder and therefore will be served directly by your project's web server -- superceding the normal rails compilation.

In this mode, rails 3.0 or earlier users will experience a slight speed up by disabling the Sass::Plugin like so:

config.after_initialize do
  Sass::Plugin.options[:never_update] = true

To return to using the Rails-based compilation mode, simply delete the compiled stylesheets and remove any configuration changes.

Compiling for Production

If using the Rails asset pipeline run:

$ rake assets:precompile

If not using the asset pipeline run:

$ bundle exec compass compile -e production --force

It is suggested that you compile your stylesheets as part of the deploy or build process. However, some people choose to check in their compiled stylesheets.

Installing Compass extensions

Step 1: If the extension is a rubygem, Add it to your Gemfile in the :assets group and run the bundle command to install it. If the extension is a zip file, unzip it into the vendor/plugins/compass_extensions directory of your project.

Step 2: Install the extension's assets: bundle exec compass install <extension/template>

For example, if you want to use susy.

# Gemfile
group :assets do
  gem 'compass-rails'
  gem 'compass-susy-plugin'

then run:

$ bundle
$ bundle exec compass install susy

Notes On Sprockets Directives

Sprockets, used by the rails asset pipeline, provides directives for doing things like requiring. These must not be used with Sass files. Instead use the sass @import directive. In rails projects, the @import directive is configured to work with sprockets via sass-rails. For more information on importing in rails 3.1 or greater see the Sass-Rails REAME

Rails 3.0 Caviats

If you want rails to compile your stylesheets (instead of using the compass watcher) you need to edit config/application.rb and change:

Bundler.require(:default, Rails.env) if defined?(Bundler)

to this:

Bundler.require(:default, :assets, Rails.env) if defined?(Bundler)

Rails 2.3 Caviats

Compass requires that your rails 2.3 project is using Bundler to manage your rubygems. If you haven't yet set up your rails 2.3 project to use Bundler, please do so prior to upgrading. Bundler installation guide for rails 2.3.

After following the instructions there, if you want rails to compile your stylesheets (instead of using the compass watcher) you need edit config/boot.rb and change this:

Rails::Initializer.class_eval do
  def load_gems
    @bundler_loaded ||= Bundler.require :default, Rails.env

To this:

Rails::Initializer.class_eval do
  def load_gems
    @bundler_loaded ||= Bundler.require :default, :assets, Rails.env


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