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This simple plugin will make it easy to search your ActiveRecord models. Searching is performed using a query string, which should be passed to the named_scope search_for that uses SQL %LIKE% conditions for searching. You can specify what fields should be used for searching.


You can enable scoped_search as a Ruby gem. You must enable the gem in your environment.rb configuration: do |config|
  config.gem 'wvanbergen-scoped_search', :lib => 'scoped_search', :source => ''

Make sure the gem is installed by running rake gems:install in you project root. You can also install the gem by running sudo gem install wvanbergen-scoped_search -s

You can use scoped_search as a Rails plugin as well, but this is deprecated. Simply download or clone scoped_search into your vendor/plugins directory of your project.


First, you have to specify in what columns should be searched:

class Project < ActiveRecord::Base
  searchable_on :name, :description

Now, the search_for scope is available for queries. You should pass a query string to the scope. This can be empty or nil, in which case all no search conditions are set (and all records will be returned).

Project.search_for(params[:q]).each { |project| ... }

The search query language is simple. It supports these constructs:

  • words: some search keywords

  • phrases: “a single search phrase”

  • negation: “look for this” -“but do not look for this phrase and this” -word

This functionality is build on named_scope. The searchable_on statement creates a named_scope “search_for”. Because of this, you can actually chain the call with other scopes. For example, this can be very useful if you only want to search in projects that are accessible by a given user.

class Project < ActiveRecord::Base
  searchable_on :name, :description
  named_scope :accessible_by, lambda { |user| ... }

# using chained named_scopes and will_paginate
Project.accessible_by(current_user).search_for(params[:q]).paginate(:page => params[:page], :include => :tasks)


This Rails plugin is written by Willem van Bergen for the website. It is released under the MIT license. Please contact me (willem AT vanbergen DOT org if you have any suggestions or remarks.

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