The routing module provides URL rewriting in native Ruby. It’s a way to redirect incoming requests to controllers and actions. This replaces mod_rewrite rules. Best of all, Rails' Routing works with any web server. Routes are defined in config/routes.rb.

Consider the following route, which you will find commented out at the bottom of your generated config/routes.rb:

  match ':controller(/:action(/:id(.:format)))'

This route states that it expects requests to consist of a :controller followed optionally by an :action that in turn is followed optionally by an :id, which in turn is followed optionally by a :format

Suppose you get an incoming request for /blog/edit/22, you’ll end up with:

  params = { :controller => 'blog',
             :action     => 'edit',
             :id         => '22'

Think of creating routes as drawing a map for your requests. The map tells them where to go based on some predefined pattern:

  AppName::Application.routes.draw do
    Pattern 1 tells some request to go to one place
    Pattern 2 tell them to go to another

The following symbols are special:

  :controller maps to your controller name
  :action     maps to an action with your controllers

Other names simply map to a parameter as in the case of :id.

Named routes

Routes can be named by passing an :as option, allowing for easy reference within your source as name_of_route_url for the full URL and name_of_route_path for the URI path.


  # In routes.rb
  match '/login' => 'accounts#login', :as => 'login'

  # With render, redirect_to, tests, etc.
  redirect_to login_url

Arguments can be passed as well.

  redirect_to show_item_path(:id => 25)

Use root as a shorthand to name a route for the root path "/".

  # In routes.rb
  root :to => 'blogs#index'

  # would recognize as
  params = { :controller => 'blogs', :action => 'index' }

  # and provide these named routes
  root_url   # => ''
  root_path  # => '/'

Note: when using controller, the route is simply named after the method you call on the block parameter rather than map.

  # In routes.rb
  controller :blog do
    match 'blog/show'     => :list
    match 'blog/delete'   => :delete
    match 'blog/edit/:id' => :edit

  # provides named routes for show, delete, and edit
  link_to @article.title, show_path(:id =>

Pretty URLs

Routes can generate pretty URLs. For example:

  match '/articles/:year/:month/:day' => 'articles#find_by_id', :constraints => {
    :year       => /\d{4}/,
    :month      => /\d{1,2}/,
    :day        => /\d{1,2}/

Using the route above, the URL "http://localhost:3000/articles/2005/11/06"; maps to

  params = {:year => '2005', :month => '11', :day => '06'}

Regular Expressions and parameters

You can specify a regular expression to define a format for a parameter.

  controller 'geocode' do
    match 'geocode/:postalcode' => :show, :constraints => {
      :postalcode => /\d{5}(-\d{4})?/

Constraints can include the ‘ignorecase’ and ‘extended syntax’ regular expression modifiers:

  controller 'geocode' do
    match 'geocode/:postalcode' => :show, :constraints => {
      :postalcode => /hx\d\d\s\d[a-z]{2}/i

  controller 'geocode' do
    match 'geocode/:postalcode' => :show, :constraints => {
      :postalcode => /# Postcode format
         \d{5} #Prefix
         (-\d{4})? #Suffix

Using the multiline match modifier will raise an ArgumentError. Encoding regular expression modifiers are silently ignored. The match will always use the default encoding or ASCII.

HTTP Methods

Using the :via option when specifying a route allows you to restrict it to a specific HTTP method. Possible values are :post, :get, :put, :delete and :any. If your route needs to respond to more than one method you can use an array, e.g. [ :get, :post ]. The default value is :any which means that the route will respond to any of the HTTP methods.


  match 'post/:id' => 'posts#show', :via => :get
  match 'post/:id' => "posts#create_comment', :via => :post

Now, if you POST to /posts/:id, it will route to the create_comment action. A GET on the same URL will route to the show action.

HTTP helper methods

An alternative method of specifying which HTTP method a route should respond to is to use the helper methods get, post, put and delete.


  get 'post/:id' => 'posts#show'
  post 'post/:id' => "posts#create_comment'

This syntax is less verbose and the intention is more apparent to someone else reading your code, however if your route needs to respond to more than one HTTP method (or all methods) then using the :via option on match is preferable.

Reloading routes

You can reload routes if you feel you must:


This will clear all named routes and reload routes.rb if the file has been modified from last load. To absolutely force reloading, use reload!.

Testing Routes

The two main methods for testing your routes:


  def test_movie_route_properly_splits
   opts = {:controller => "plugin", :action => "checkout", :id => "2"}
   assert_routing "plugin/checkout/2", opts

assert_routing lets you test whether or not the route properly resolves into options.


  def test_route_has_options
   opts = {:controller => "plugin", :action => "show", :id => "12"}
   assert_recognizes opts, "/plugins/show/12"

Note the subtle difference between the two: assert_routing tests that a URL fits options while assert_recognizes tests that a URL breaks into parameters properly.

In tests you can simply pass the URL or named route to get or post.

  def send_to_jail
    get '/jail'
    assert_response :success
    assert_template "jail/front"

  def goes_to_login
    get login_url

View a list of all your routes

Run rake routes.


SEPARATORS = %w( / . ? )

HTTP_METHODS = [:get, :head, :post, :put, :delete, :options]


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