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twitter bootstrap rails gem that allows easy customization of bootstrap's less and javascript components
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TWBS Bootstrap 3.3+ Rails gem

Build Status

  • Integrates Bootstrap 3.3+ into the Rails Asset Pipeline
  • Easy optimization and control over which javascript and less modules are loaded
    • Not every app needs a carousel
    • easily optimize to just what your template needs
  • Simple default less files for custom application themes
    • [theme_name]/variables.less
    • [theme_name]/bootswatch.css.less
  • Apply different custom themes or bootswatches from a site like
  • Create several themed swatches for your project with theme_names
    • e.g. an admin (backend) theme and a storefront (frontend) theme
  • Quickly build custom Bootstrap templates using live refresh to see your changes

Includes Bootstrap for Rails Asset Pipeline

Bootstrap is a toolkit designed to kickstart development of webapps and sites. It includes base CSS and HTML for typography, forms, buttons, tables, grids, navigation, and more.

Including Font Awesome for Rails Asset Pipeline

Font Awesome is a toolkit with iconic fonts designed for use with Twitter Bootstrap.

To add Font Awesome to your bootswatch:

Include the gem twitter-bootswatch-rails-fontawesome


The demo will show you how this gem can be used with the rails asset pipeline.

Demo Screen Shot

View Helpers

The gem twitter-bootswatch-rails-helpers provides rails view helpers for twitter bootstrap's breadcrumbs and alerts components.


Include the Bootswatch Rails gem in Gemfile to install it from

# twitter bootstrap css & javascript toolkit
gem 'twitter-bootswatch-rails', '~> 3.3.2'

# twitter bootstrap helpers gem, e.g., alerts etc...
gem 'twitter-bootswatch-rails-helpers'

or you can install from latest build;

gem 'twitter-bootswatch-rails', :github => 'scottvrosenthal/twitter-bootswatch-rails'

Run bundle from command line


Installing to App (using Generators)

You can run the following generators to get started with Bootstrap.

If you don't provide a [theme_name] the value defaults to bootswatch and adds directives to your application.css and application.js files.


rails g bootswatch:install [theme_name]


rails g bootswatch:install flatly
rails g bootswatch:install cosmo

Layout (generates a basic Bootstrap compatible layout)


rails g bootswatch:layout [theme_name]


rails g bootswatch:layout admin
rails g bootswatch:layout storefront

Themed (generates Bootstrap compatible scaffold views.)

Usage (model and table must already exist):

rails g bootswatch:themed [RESOURCE_NAME]


rails g scaffold Post title:string description:text
rake db:migrate
rails g bootswatch:themed Posts

Import a free theme

Just follow these three steps in the following order :)

rails g bootswatch:install cyborg
rails g bootswatch:import cyborg
rails g bootswatch:layout cyborg

The above creates a namespaced theme under assets/javascript/cyborg assets/stylesheets/cyborg and a new layout file.

The import generator pulls directly from the git repo cyborg directory.

  • bootswatch.less
  • variables.less

In your rails controllers just tell it to use the cyborg layout.

class ApplicationController < ActionController::Base
  # ...
  layout 'cyborg'

You can also create an admin namespaced theme and import the cyborg bootswatch.less and variable.less files:

rails g bootswatch:install admin
rails g bootswatch:import admin/cyborg
rails g bootswatch:layout admin

bootswatch.less is renamed to bootswatch.css.less by the import generator

Need more examples? Check out the demo

Using stylesheets with the less-rails gem

You have to require [theme_name]/loader.css.less in your application.css

 *= require_self
 *= require [theme_name]/loader
 *= require [theme_name]/bootswatch

[theme_name]/loader.css.less allows you to easily comment out less modules you don't need in your application.

[theme_name]/variables.less customize Bootstrap variables.less defaults in this file.

[theme_name]/bootswatch.css.less customize the style of Bootstrap base css and component style here.

Check out some of the swatches at

Read up on the less-rails gem.


When importing a custom [theme_name]/bootswatch.css.less file manually you'll need to include the following import directive at the top of the file:

@import "[theme_name]/base";

The above less directive allows the current less file to access and override inherited less variables.


@import "cyborg/base";
// Cyborg
// bootswatch.css.less

Using Javascripts

You have to require the javascript script file [theme_name]/loader.js & [theme_name]/bootswatch.js in your application.js:

//= require jquery
//= require jquery_ujs
//= require [theme_name]/loader
//= require [theme_name]/bootswatch

[theme_name]/loader.js allows you to easily comment out modules you don't need in your application:

// [theme_name]/loader.js

//= require twitter/bootstrap/transition
//= require twitter/bootstrap/alert
//= require twitter/bootstrap/button
//= require twitter/bootstrap/carousel
//= require twitter/bootstrap/collapse
//= require twitter/bootstrap/dropdown
//= require twitter/bootstrap/modal
//= require twitter/bootstrap/tooltip
//= require twitter/bootstrap/popover
//= require twitter/bootstrap/scrollspy
//= require twitter/bootstrap/tab
//= require twitter/bootstrap/affix

[theme_name]/bootswatch.js allows you to add more customization & overrides to bootstrap javascript components.


Local rails development assets not updating?

RAILS_ENV=development rake assets:clean

Tooltips not enabled?

Here's how you enable them:

For performance reasons, the Tooltip data-apis are opt-in, meaning you must initialize them yourself.

One way to initialize all tooltips on a page would be to select them by their data-toggle attribute:

$(function () {

Popovers not enabled?

For performance reasons, the Popover data-apis are opt-in, meaning you must initialize them yourself.

One way to initialize all popovers on a page would be to select them by their data-toggle attribute:

$(function () {

Less files are not found or loading errors for new rails application

(Remove the default require_tree directive line from both the application.js & application.css files)

// remove the following line from application.js
//= require_tree .
* remove the following line from application.css
*= require_tree .

Adding custom assets to the asset pipeline when deploying

In config/application.rb add the [theme_name] files, e.g., admin.js & admin.css to config.assets.precompile:

# Precompile additional assets
config.assets.precompile += %w(admin.js admin.css cyborg.js cyborg.css)

Default generators to use less-rails gem

In config/application.rb add the following line:

# less-rails gem (default all generators)
config.app_generators.stylesheet_engine :less

List of Bootstrap plugins

Upgrading Bootstrap from 2.1 to 3+


Bootstrap claims to use SemVer, although this is for values of public API that don't seem to include selectively requiring all components (see breaking change 3.0.0 -> 3.1.0). Since many people using twitter-bootswatch-rails do selectively require CSS components and I consider it part of the public API we can't really follow SemVer without becoming wildly out of sync with the Bootstrap version number, which is confusing for everyone involved. Further releases to twitter-bootswatch-rails will therefore have version numbers of the form 3.x.x.y, where 3.x.x is the release of Bootstrap we should be compatible with, and y is the patch version.


  • v3.3.2.0
    • Upgrade to bootstrap 3.3.2
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