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Steve Alex
Steve Alex

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Rails 7 with Tailwindcss and custom Slim Template

I'll start of with I Hate HTML!. I've hated it since the early 1990's when we put up one of the first websites in Alabama using WebSTAR. The original version was just a simple Who we are and What do we do site. It has evolved!

I've hated it since making a poor decision in adopting a framework (my opinion!) 4D - 4th Dimension, or Silver Surfer to manage AIDT's process. At first it was just used as a local DB server. We then adopted Active4D, which was a PHP like plugin for 4D. That application was on a subdomain.

I've long ago retired but before I did, we experimented with Rails, Version 0.9 for some internal projects. It never went anywhere, but it did get me hooked on Rails. After I retired I became a hobby developer. I developed a Rails version of the Active4D subdomain with all the things it should of had. I tried to give it to AIDT, but...

My hobby projects include:

  • rBooks which is a web-based double entry accounting system I build for myself. I joined the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) and became the Quartermaster (accountant!). I was not going to use paper ledgers. The github page gives a little more background on me and the different phases of rBooks.
  • Another VFW site I used to manage a few other things at my post (members, reports etc.) It had some blog like pages, but then came Facebook!
  • - a golf group dogfight point management system (Groups/Players/Games/Rounds). It actually started as a backdoor page on one of the servers at AIDT.


Somewhere about 10 year ago I put away my hate HTML when I discovered haml, and then slim. I can manage indented tabs a lot better than I could HTML tags. My three project started about Rails 3 and went through 4, 5 and 6. I've spent the last 6 month moving them to Rails 7. Not an easy task! I added Tailwindcss and I'm slowly moving from W3.css. I've also gone through CSS hell trying different stuff. Zurb Foundation which was always broke! That forced me to plain old W3.css.

As I moved to Rails 7 and added Tailwind, Rails would muckup the application layout page and add:

  <main class="container mx-auto mt-16 px-5 flex">
    <%= yield %>
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That worked fine for erb scaffolds, providing workable ( prettier ) CRUD scaffold views. Not so good with Slim. My 3 projects views have long ago moved to different layouts so I just deleted or modified the tailwind stuff in the layout. I'll point out that the majority of the view are table based and that was eliminated in the Rails 7 scaffolds.

Running out of things to do, I though about rewriting rBooks and removing the VFW flavor and refactoring a bunch of junk code. Instead of removing the Tailwind stuff in the layout I tried to work with it and create Slim template that kinda matched the erb layout.

I remember doing that years ago, probably using erb, then running the erb through some html2slim processor. But I gave it another try, modifying slim-rails layout templates to include some tailwind.

There were a few links how to add lib/templates/slim/scaffold Working with Custom Rails Scaffolding Templates in Slim. It's several year old and seems to have lost some gists, but it was enough to start.

One of the things I don't like about Tailwind is a basic class for some things like buttons - something that I feel you should be consistent with. I understand the tailwind concept of just using their classes to style a button, but adding:

= link_to 'something',some_path,class="ml-2 rounded-md py-1 px-3 bg-gray-200 inline-block font-medium "
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That gets old and you have to remember what classes used for that button. I wrote a post a while back Mimic Tailwind components in Rails using Helpers
. I think I only used it on one model/views that I was refactoring. The above like would become:

= link_to 'something',some_path,class="#{btn-sm-blue} "
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which would call a method in:

module ButtonHelper
  def btn_lg
    "ml-2 rounded-xl py-5 px-7 bg-gray-200 inline-block font-medium "
  def btn_md
    "ml-2 rounded-lg py-3 px-5 bg-gray-200 inline-block font-medium "
  def btn_sm
    "ml-2 rounded-md py-1 px-3 bg-gray-200 inline-block font-medium "
  def btn_submit
    "mt-2 rounded-md py-4 px-6 bg-blue-700 text-white hover:bg-blue-600 inline-block font-medium"
  def btn_sm_blue
    btn_sm + "bg-blue-200 hover:bg-blue-300 "
  def btn_sm_red
    btn_sm + "bg-red-700 hover:bg-red-800 text-white "
  def btn_sm_green
    btn_sm + "bg-green-200 hover:bg-green-300 "

  def icon(klass, text = nil)
    icon_tag = tag.i(class: klass)
    text_tag = tag.span text
    text ? tag.span(icon_tag + text_tag) : icon_tag


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My slim templates are going to require this helper. I've also added fontawsome icons, if you don't use fontawsome, they'll just be ignored.

After writing the tailwind css helper my process was:

Copy the scaffold templates from the slim_rails gem to your lib/templates/slim/scaffold directory.

Also, from the post I mentioned: You need to tell rails explicitly to use slim when scaffolding views. Open up application.rb and in your Class Application < Rails::Application add:

config.generators do |g|
   g.template_engine :slim
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Go through a laborious process and making the slim template produce something like the erb templates. That may include many 'bin/rail g scaffold thing date title content
' followed by bin/rails destroy scaffold thing, deleting the table etc.

An example of a template looks like:

  p style="color: green" = notice
  h1.font-bold.text-2xl Showing <%= human_name.capitalize %>
    => link_to icon('fas fa-edit',"Edit <%= human_name.capitalize %>"), <%= edit_helper(type: :path) %>, class:"#{btn_sm_green}"
    =< link_to icon('fas fa-list',"List <%= human_name.pluralize.capitalize %>"), <%= index_helper(type: :path) %>, class:"#{btn_sm_green}"
    = button_to icon('fas fa-trash',"Destroy <%= human_name.capitalize %>"), <%= model_resource_name(prefix: "@") %>, method: :delete, form:{data: { turbo_confirm: 'Are you sure?', turbo_method:'delete' }}, class:"#{btn_sm} bg-red-700 text-white"
  == render @<%= singular_table_name %>

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All 6 file are in a gist

I've also created a rails7_playgroun repository on github

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