The Road to Rails 3

Chad Pytel


Being at RailsConf 5 has given us the opportunity to finalize a lot of the work we’ve done to prepare our plugins and gems for Rails 3. Thankfully, for many of the most popular gems, we’ve been able to maintain both Rails 3 and Rails 2.3.x compatibility in one gem. However, we’re taking this opportunity to say goodbye to some of our less widely used plugins, and some we plan on dropping Rails 2 support for altogether.

Obviously, Rails 3 isn’t actually out yet, so what we’re talking about here is Rails 3 beta 4. We’ll continue to keep things up to date and tested as we all move toward the release of Rails 3. Your help and patches are more than welcome.

So here is a comprehensive overview of the current status of the projects for both Rails 3 beta 4 and Rails 2.


We released Paperclip 2.3.3 a few days ago. This new version of Paperclip will work with Rails 3. Thanks to the investigation of nragaz and help from isaac and joeljunstrom on github, we worked out the kinks and it should be working with the Rails 2.3.x line, and Rails 3-beta 4. For the latest version of Paperclip, we’re no longer officially supporting Rails 2.0.x. The earliest version that will work is Rails 2.1.0. If you need support for an older version of Rails than that, you can use Paperclip


A few days ago we released hoptoad_notifier 2.2.6 with includes support for Rails 3-beta 4 as well as all versions of Rails 2.x and Rails 1.2.6.


We just released shoulda 2.11. Along with Rails 3 support, we’re maintaining support for Rails 2.3.x in this latest release. However, the latest version of shoulda will not support versions of Rails less than 2.3. If you need support for a version of Rails older than that, you can use a previously released version.

In addition to the Rails 3 support, shoulda 2.11 introduces some dramatic changes to shoulda, including a new way of interacting with all shoulda macros. The previous way has been deprecated and will be removed in shoulda 3.0. We’ll make a separate blog post detailing many of the very cool changes to shoulda and more details about the future of shoulda soon, but for now, take a look at the README for the latest information on setting up and using shoulda.

Factory Bot1

We just pushed factory_bot 1.3 and factorybotrails 1.0. This new version adds Rails 3 support. Because of the way that Rails 3 loading has changed, we’ve decided to make a separate factory_bot_rails gem that will be used for when you want to use factory_bot with Rails. The existing factory_bot gem is used by factory_bot_rails and would be used if you’re using factory_bot outside of Rails. If you want to use factory_bot with Rails 2 you can continue to use the base factory_bot gem.


We just released Clearance 0.9.0.rc1. This is a release candidate for Clearance 0.9.0. This new version adds support for Rails 3 but drops support for Rails 2. Don’t fret, if you won’t be upgrading to Rails 3, you can use a previously released version of the gem (0.8.8). We’re doing this one as a release candidate because of the dropping of backwards compatibility and the fact that we haven’t had a chance to test the new version in a variety of Rails 3 apps using clearance.

Please flex this release candidate with your Rails 3 apps and let us know how it goes.


Suspenders is currently at 2.3.5 (we haven’t been able to upgrade to 2.3.8 because of bugs we’ve seen with mongrel, webrat, and rack). We anticipate that Suspenders will be upgraded to Rails 3 a little after Rails 3 final comes out. But to be honest, we’re actually not sure yet what the upgrade path will look like for applications that are currently tracking Suspenders. It may be impossible to do without so many conflicts that its not worthwhile. We’re going to have to work on this more and keep you posted. Additionally, we’re in the process of making some fairly dramatic changes to Suspenders. Watch it on github and stay tuned here for more.

High Voltage

Fire in the Disco! We’ve also released High Voltage 0.9.0 which supports Rails 3 and is now a gem (it was previously just a plugin). The new version also drops support for Rails 2. If you need the previous, Rails 2 plugin there is a rails2 branch you can retrieve it from.


We also just released Pacecar 1.3 which supports Rails 3 and drops support for Rails 2. As in the other cases where we’ve done this, you can use the previous version of the gem, version 1.2.0 with Rails 2, or track the rails2 branch.


Squirrel was born out of a desire to make a new query syntax that was dynamic while being clean and simple. With Rails 3’s introduction of the New Active Record chainable query language, that goal has now been achieved in Rails. As a result, we’ll no longer be maintaining Squirrel. It was a fun ride.

Mile Marker

Over time, our workflow slightly changed for how we built applications and we haven’t used Mile Marker ourselves for some time now. As a result, we’re taking this opportunity to cease maintenance of this plugin and bid it farewell.

Moving on down the road

We’ve gotten more and more familiar with Rails 3 during moving all these gems to it. Many of the new features it offers are great, and existing features have been improved and cleaned up. We’re looking forward to Rails 3 finally being released in the coming weeks. Now that our plugins are up and running it should help us all to transition smoothly and quickly.

Thanks to the core team and various other railsconf attendees for spending time with us this week working on some of this - we’re looking forward to the final version of rails3!

Project name history can be found here.

  1. FactoryGirl was renamed to FactoryBot in 2017.