translation support for your models with an I18n active-record backend
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Armot is a minimal rails 3 library for handle your model translations. It's heavily based on puret, by Johannes Jörg Schmidt, as it does basically the same but relying on the i18n ActiveRecord backend to store and fetch translations instead of custom tables.

Choosing between puret or armot is as always a decision based on your custom requirements:

  1. If your application is multilingual and it's translated with default yaml files with i18n Simple backend, you should definitely go with Puret. In this scenario your application contents are multilingual but doesn't dynamically change, they're always the same.

  2. If your application is multilingual and also you want to give access to change it's contents, you might have chosen another i18n backend like activerecord to be able to edit the translations in live. In this case armot gives you some advantages:

    • Your translations are centralized. If you're giving your users (maybe the admins of the site) the ability to change it's multilingual contents, it means that you already have an interface to edit I18n translations. Use it to edit your model translations too.
    • Use all i18n advantages for free, like fallbacks or being able to speed up model translations with Flatten and Memoize.
    • Don't worry about eager loading translations every time you load translated models.
    • Easy to set up, no external tables.

Installing armot

First add the following line to your Gemfile:

gem 'armot'

Using armot is pretty straightforward. Just add the following line to any model with attributes you want to translate:

class Product < ActiveRecord::Base
  armotize :name, :description

This will make attributes 'name' and 'description' multilingual for the product model.

If your application is already in production and with real contents, making an attribute armotized won't do any difference. You can expect your models to return their old values until you make some translations.


Your translated model will have different contents for each locale transparently.

I18n.locale = :en

car = Product.create :name => "A car" #=> A car

I18n.locale = :es = "Un coche" #=> Un coche

I18n.locale = :en #=> A car

Armot also provides an implementation for the _changed? method, so you can normally operate as if it was a standard active_record attribute.

car = Car.create :name => "Ford" = "Honda"

car.name_chaned? #=> true!
car.name_changed? #=> false

Reloading caches

Be aware that armot doesn't take care of any cache expiration. If you're using Memoize with I18n ActiveRecord backend you must remember to reload the backend.

Armot provides the reload_armot! callback which is called on the instance after performing the changes. For example:

class Post < ActiveRecord::Base
  # ...

  def reload_armot!

Find_by dynamic methods

Armot also writes the dynamic find_by and find_by! methods in order to fetch a record from database given a specific content for an armotized attribute. It will only look for translations in the current language, and it will not perform any kind of fallback mechanism. For example:

I18n.locale = :en
post = Post.create :title => "Title in english"

Post.find_by_title "Title in english" #=> <post>
Post.find_by_title "Not found"  #=> nil
Post.find_by_title! "Not found" #=> ActiveRecord::RecordNotFound raised

I18n.locale = :es
Post.find_by_title "Title in english" #=> nil


When reading the contents from an instance (not find_by methods) Armot works with your current I18n setup for fallbacks, just as if you were performing a I18n.t lookup.

Modularized implementation

All the methods Armot provides are implemented in modules injected in your class (ArmotInstanceMethods and ArmotClassMethods). This means that you can override them in order to include custom logic. For instance if you are translating the slug_url attribute on your Post model, maybe you have a setter like this:

class Post
  def slug_url=(value)
    self[:slug_url] = ConvertToSafeUrl(value)

  def to_param

Now if you want to armotize this slug_url attribute and still perform this logic, you could do that:

class Post
  def slug_url=(value)


You can get a list of all the currently armotized attributes on a class by calling:

Post.armotized_attributes #=> [:title, :text]

Defining localized accessors

There are situations in which it's useful for you to have localized accessors for your armotized attributes, so you don't need to change the current language in order to get the value for an attribute in that language, for instance:

I18n.locale = :en
post = Post.create :title => "ENG title"
I18n.locale = :es
post.title = "SP title"!

I18n.locale = :en
post.title_en #=> "ENG title"
post.title_es #=> "SP title"

Armot provides now an automatic way to define these methods:

class Post
  define_localized_accessors_for :title

This will make available the title_en and title_en= methods (also in every other languages that may be available, as returned from I18n.available_locales). You can also set up these methods for all your armotized attributes using the :all keyword:

class Post
  define_localized_accessors_for :all

You can also explicitly set the locales in which the accessors should be defined, using this syntax:

class Post
  define_localized_accessors_for :all, :locales => [:klingon, :pt]

Presence validators

If you use the standard presence validator from Rails, as in

validates_presence_of :some_attribute

Only the value for the current locale will be checked. However, you might want to check the presence of the value for a specific set of locales. If this is your purpose, you can use:

validates_armotized_presence_of :some_attribute, %w{ en ca es }

where the first parameter is the attribute you want to check presence of, and the second is the set of locales for which you want to check the presence of the attribute. Note that the locales can either be a string or symbol array (as in the example above), or a single string or symbol in case you only want to do the check for one locale.

Development with armot

Since armot stores model translations in an I18n ActiveRecord backend, in development you also need to use that backend in order to see model translations.

If you're using Simple backend in development I recomend you to chain it with the ActiveRecord backend, this way you can see both of them.

I18n.backend =, I18n.backend)

Migrating from puret

If you want to migrate your current model translations from puret to armot, simply run this rake task:

rake armot:migrate_puret