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Configure Generators

Published: November 3, 2020

This is part of The Annotated Guide to a New Rails App, a list of recommendations to make developing your Rails app more productive and joyful.

In this article, we are talking about configuring the Rails generators.


When or if to configure the Rails generators depends on how much you like the default generators and how much you use or want to use the generators.

If you like the how the generators work (or you never use them), there is no point to configuring them. If you don’t like what the generators do, and you use them often or want to use them often, it is a good idea to configure them.


By default, Rails generators create helpers. Helpers are generally a bad idea; most helper functions should be part of a model or view object instead.

By default, Rails generators create a stylesheet for every controller. Stylesheets should not be tied to a controller.

By default, Rails generators create specs for views. Views should not be complicated enough to need specs.

By default, the Rails generators create request specs to test controllers. Request specs are probably a good idea for APIs, but for more traditional web apps, it makes more sense to test the controller directly by looking at the resource assigned and any side effects.


Add the following to the config/application.rb file.

config.generators.helper = false
config.generators.stylesheets = false
config.generators.view_specs = false
config.generators.request_specs = false
config.generators.controller_specs = true

After making a commit, test that this works by running rails generate resource foo.

You should get a migration, a model, a controller, a route, a model spec, and a controller spec. You should not get a helper, stylesheet, view spec, or request spec.

Remove the files created by the generator.