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This is a plugin version of Stuart Rackham's most excellent SortHelper helper. The link_to_remote ajax calls have been removed in favor of unobtrusive javascript using lowpro.js.


  • Consecutive clicks toggle the column's sort order.
  • Sort state is maintained by a session hash entry.
  • Icon image identifies sort column and state.
  • Typically used in conjunction with will_paginate plugin


In Rails 3, you just install the plugin and run the generator

$ rails plugin install git://
$ rails generate ujs_sort_helper:install



def list
  sort_init 'last_name'
  @items = Contact.find_all nil, sort_clause

Controller (using will_paginate)

def list
  sort_init 'last_name'

  options = {:page => params[:page], :include => :addresses, :order => sort_clause

  @contacts = Contact.paginate(options)

Layout (app/views/layouts/application.html.erb):

<%= stylesheet_link_tag "ujs_sort_helper"%> 

styles for nifty sort arrow images

<%= javascript_include_tag :defaults%> 

as long as prototype.js is included before lowpro and ujs_sort_helper

If you're not using jQuery, reference Dan Webb's lowpro and the Prototype version of the ujs_sort_helper:

<%= javascript_include_tag "lowpro"%> 

you SHOULD already have this ;-)

<%= javascript_include_tag "ujs_sort_helper", :plugin => "ujs_sort_helper"%> 

If you're using jQuery, simply include the jQuery version (assuming you already have jQuery and livequery installed)

<%= javascript_include_tag "ujs_sort_helper.jquery.js", :plugin => "ujs_sort_helper"%> 

View (table header in index.rhtml):

    <%= sort_header_tag('id', :title => 'Sort by contact ID') %>
    <%= sort_header_tag('last_name', :caption => 'Name') %>
    <%= sort_header_tag('phone') %>
    <%= sort_header_tag('address', :width => 200) %>
  • The ascending and descending sort icon images are sort_asc.png and sort_desc.png and reside in the application's images directory.
  • Introduces instance variables: @sort_name, @sort_default.
  • Introduces params :sort_key and :sort_order.

Copyright (c) 2005 Stuart Rackham, (c) 2008 Wynn Netherland released under the MIT license

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