Introduction to Rango - Jakub Šťastný

Rango is a lightweight web framework, based on Rack. The goal is to provide a solid framework for building sites in Ruby; bigger than Sinatra but smaller than Rails or Merb.

Here's a quick summary. Rango:

  • Requires Ruby 1.9.
  • Provides code generators, but doesn't insist that you use them.
  • Reloads your code in development (via shotgun).
  • supports bundler (through a generator).

It uses one of Django's naming conventions; the Rango equivalent of a Rails view is known as a template, while a Rails controller action is called a view.

There are various routers supported (Usher, rack-mount, URLMap, rack-router, etc.). You also have a Rango::UrlHelper module that provides a url() function for generating URLs.

Jakub talked us through how rendering works, with some example code for a controller:

require "rango/mixins/render"

class Posts < Rango::Controller
  include Rango::RenderMixin

  def show
    post = Post.get(params[:id])
    render "post.html", post: post

You can then render your template like this:

%h1= post.title

Alternatively you can use explicit rendering (the template looks the same as in the previous example):

class Posts < Rango::Controller
  include Rango::ExplicitRendering

  def show
    context[:post] = Post.get(params[:id])
    render "post.html"

Or implicit rendering (this'll be more familiar to Rails developers):

class Posts < Rango::Controller
  include Rango::ImplicitRendering

  def show
    @post = Post.get(params[:id])
    render "post.html"

And the template:

%h1= @post.title

Template inheritance

Rango uses template inheritance (an idea borrowed from Django, though to be fair Django didn't invent it) is arguably a more flexible approach than layout/view approach used by Rails and Merb.

To use the templates you define named blocks that return HTML. The blocks are executed in the templates at the top of the inheritance hierarchy, and optionally overridden in templates further down the hierarchy:

/ base.html.haml
    = js *["app.js", *block(:js)]
    %title= block(:title)
    = block(:head)
    %h1= block(:title)
    = block(:content)

/ index.html.haml
- extends "base.html" unless request.ajax?
- block(:js, "jquery.js", "syntax.js")
- block(:title, "Hello World!")
- block(:content) do
  Lorem ipsum

Rango also supports generic views and deferred routes.

It looks like a rather nice framework; well worth checking out if you like playing around with new web frameworks. I suspect it's also a good way for a Ruby programmer to find out what's so good about Django.

What's coming up for Rango? In January Jakub will be integrating Pancake, allowing a Rango app to be run standalone or to be used as a library.

All the examples that Jakub covered are available in the ruby-manor-rango repository on his github account. He's also put his slides on slideshare.

Jakub is the lead developer at Headshift. You can find him on Twitter at @botanicus. Follow Rango's progress at

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