Creating Hobo Plugins

All of Hobo’s tags are provided via plugins. It’s quite easy to create plugins so that others can reuse any tags that you’ve created.


The Plugin Generator

You can create the skeleton for your plugin by typing

hobo plugin my_plugin

This creates a skeleton Rails plugin and then modifies it into a Hobo plugin.

Adding to an Application

Once you’ve Add the local version of your plugin to an application by typing

rails generate hobo:install_plugin my_plugin /path/to/my_plugin

If your plugin is designed to be a theme, type this instead:

rails generate hobo:install_plugin my_plugin /path/to/my_plugin --subsite==front --css-top

Plugin Files

The first thing I do when creating a plugin is to remove files that I don’t need. It’s easy to regenerate them by creating a new plugin skeleton, so they’re just taking up space. I recommend removing

test         # a bare Rails application
Gemfile      # used by test app
Gemfile.lock # used by test app
Rakefile     # rake tasks
lib/tasks    # rake tasks
app          # contains app/helpers/my_plugin_helper.rb


The first section of this file will become the “summary” of your plugin in the cookbook, and the entire file will be included as the full description of the plugin.


Place any tag definitions for your plugin in this file. If you have more than a couple of tag definitions, I recommend simply using separate files for each tag definition and use taglibs/my_plugin.dryml to include those other files.

Remember that the comment before each tag definition will become documentation for the tag in the cookbook.

If your plugin is very large, you can use subdirectories. See hobo_rapid as an example of this maps to the cookbook.


This directory will contain the javascripts, stylesheets and images required by your plugin.


This file can contain any view helpers you create for your plugin.


Rich type definitions can be placed in this directory

app/controllers and app/models

Controllers and models can also be added to Hobo plugins here, although this is rare.


Please ensure that you modify this file to include the plugin description and your name.


There’s a variable in here EDIT_LINK_BASE that is used by the cookbook to generate the “Edit this file” links. Please update it to point to your github for the plugin.


This file is required but should not need modifications.


You can bump the version number of your plugin by editing this file

Creating a Hobo Plugin From a jQuery Plugin

It isn’t difficult to use a jQuery widget from within a Hobo application using standard HTML and Javascript techniques. For our example, we’ll use

Here’s an example using just HTML-style DRYML and Javascript:

    <javascript name="jquery.simple-color"/>
    <script type="text/javascript">
      jQuery(document).ready(function($) {

        <input class='simple_color'/>

That’s fine, and if you’re only using it once and in one place, it’s OK to stop there. However, we can make it better and turn this into a Hobo plugin so that the color picker is used automatically without any intervention required. Even better, other users can take advantage, too.

Generate a new plugin

hobo plugin simple_color

And then copy jquery.simple-color.js into vendor/assets/javascripts

Let’s start with the bare minimum hobo plugin. It consists of two parts. Here’s the tag definition:

<def tag="simple-color">
  <input data-rapid="#{data_rapid('simple-color')}" merge/>

And here’s the javascript:

$.fn.hjq_simple_color = function(annotations) {

There’s code in hjq.js that notices the data-rapid attribute, and then tries to call a jQuery plugin with the same name with hjq_ prepended.

That javascript is actually a full jQuery plugin that calls out to the Simple Color plugin. There are lots of resources on the web documenting how to create jQuery plugins if you need something more extensive, and there are lots of examples in the hobo_jquery gem. Many of them are almost as simple as the above snippet of javascript.

The next step is to allow users to customize the color picker. Let’s add support for the displayColorCode option:

<def tag="simple-color" attrs="displayColorCode" >
  <input data-rapid="#{data_rapid('simple-color', :displayColorCode => displayColorCode)}" merge/>

However, simple-color has 14 available options, so it could get cumbersome to support them all that way. There’s an easier way:

<def tag="simple-color">
  <% options, attrs = attributes.partition_hash(['defaultColor', 'border', 'cellWidth', 'cellHeight', 'cellMargin', 'boxWidth', 'boxHeight', 'columns', 'insert', 'buttonClass', 'colors', 'displayColorCode', 'colorCodeAlign', 'colorCodeColor']) %>
  <input data-rapid="#{data_rapid('simple-color', options)}" merge-attrs="&attrs"/>

That’s good enough for simple-color, because all of its options are data types. However, many jQuery plugins support passing javascript functions for option values. Obviously that’s a little bit more work, but not much. Here’s an example of that:

<def tag="my-plugin">
  <% options, attrs = attributes.partition_hash(['foo', 'bar'])
     events, html_attrs = attrs.partition_hash(['myMethod']) %>
  <div data-rapid="#{data_rapid('my-plugin', :options => options, :events => events)}" merge-attrs="&html_attrs"/>

$.fn.hjq_my_plugin = function(annotations) {
  this.myPlugin(this.hjq('getOptions', annotations)));

We now have a working simple-color tag. However, it still has to be called explicitly every time we need it. We can make it even more awesome by taking advantage of Hobo’s rich types.

Create app/rich_types/color.rb:

 class Color < String
   COLUMN_TYPE = :string
   HoboFields.register_type(:color, self)

Now in your fields definition, use your new rich type rather than :string:

fields do
  color Color, :default => "#000000"

Now we can define an input for our new type:

<def tag="input" for="Color">
  <simple-color merge/>

But that blows up into an infinite loop. The input tag references the simple-color tag which references the input tag which references the simple-color tag which…

The solution here is to bypass the input tag by using Rails’ text_field_tag:

<def tag="simple-color" attrs="name"><%=
  options, attrs = attributes.partition_hash(['defaultColor', 'border', 'cellWidth', 'cellHeight', 'cellMargin', 'boxWidth', 'boxHeight', 'columns', 'insert', 'buttonClass', 'colors', 'displayColorCode', 'colorCodeAlign', 'colorCodeColor'])
  add_data_rapid!(attrs, 'simple-color', options)
  text_field_tag(name, this, deunderscore_attributes(attrs))

For completion, let’s define a view for our new rich type:

<def tag="view" for="Color">
  <span style="background-color: #{html_escape(this)};"><%= this %></span>

And we’re done! The full source for this plugin can be found on github


A hobo theme is simply a Hobo plugin that defines the page, simple-page, navigation and nav-item tags. It should also include the CSS to properly format everything in the hobo_rapid plugin.

The page tag must support the title and full-title attributes, as well as the following parameters:



The parameters should be nested in the manner described above, although minor variations may be acceptable. For example, hobo_clean_sidemenu moves the main-nav out of page-header, and hobo_bootstrap moves the aside outside of content.

Submitting Your Plugin

Push your plugin to github, and then email the hobo-users mailing list announcing your plugin. If it’s properly documented, I will add it to the Hobo Cookbook. Proper documentation consists of a README.markdown formatted as described above, as well as documentation in a comment before relevant tags in your DRYML.

You can also push your gem to First create an account on and then run

 curl -u my_user_name_on_rubygems > ~/.gem/credentials

Then you can build and push your gem:

 gem build my_plugin.gemspec
 gem push my_plugin-0.0.1.gem

After you push your gem be sure and increment your version number in version.rb.

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