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.

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.


Resource routing allows you to quickly declare all of the common routes for a given resourceful controller. Instead of declaring separate routes for your index, show, new, edit, create, update and destroy actions, a resourceful route declares them in a single line of code:

resources :photos

Sometimes, you have a resource that clients always look up without referencing an ID. A common example, /profile always shows the profile of the currently logged in user. In this case, you can use a singular resource to map /profile (rather than /profile/:id) to the show action.

resource :profile

It’s common to have resources that are logically children of other resources:

resources :magazines do
  resources :ads

You may wish to organize groups of controllers under a namespace. Most commonly, you might group a number of administrative controllers under an admin namespace. You would place these controllers under the app/controllers/admin directory, and you can group them together in your router:

namespace "admin" do
  resources :posts, :comments

Alternately, you can add prefixes to your path without using a separate directory by using scope. scope takes additional options which apply to all enclosed routes.

scope :path => "/cpanel", :as => 'admin' do
  resources :posts, :comments

For more, see Routing::Mapper::Resources#resources, Routing::Mapper::Scoping#namespace, and Routing::Mapper::Scoping#scope.

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.

Default route

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'

By not relying on default routes, you improve the security of your application since not all controller actions, which includes actions you might add at a later time, are exposed by default.

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.

External redirects

You can redirect any path to another path using the redirect helper in your router:

match "/stories" => redirect("/posts")

Routing to Rack Applications

Instead of a String, like posts#index, which corresponds to the index action in the PostsController, you can specify any Rack application as the endpoint for a matcher:

match "/application.js" => Sprockets

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

rake routes

Target specific controllers by prefixing the command with CONTROLLER=x.


  • Routing


SEPARATORS = %w( / . ? )

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


Show files where this module is defined (7 files)
Register or log in to add new notes.