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Blueprinter is a JSON Object Presenter for Ruby that takes business objects and breaks them down into simple hashes and serializes them to JSON. It can be used in Rails in place of other serializers (like JBuilder or ActiveModelSerializers). It is designed to be simple, direct, and performant.
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Blueprinter

Blueprinter is a JSON Object Presenter for Ruby that takes business objects and breaks them down into simple hashes and serializes them to JSON. It can be used in Rails in place of other serializers (like JBuilder or ActiveModelSerializers). It is designed to be simple, direct, and performant.

It heavily relies on the idea of views which, similar to Rails views, are ways of predefining output for data in different contexts.

Documentation

Docs can be found here.

Usage

Basic

If you have an object you would like serialized, simply create a blueprint. Say, for example, you have a User record with the following attributes [:uuid, :email, :first_name, :last_name, :password, :address].

You may define a simple blueprint like so:

class UserBlueprint < Blueprinter::Base
  identifier :uuid

  fields :first_name, :last_name, :email
end

and then, in your code:

puts UserBlueprint.render(user) # Output is a JSON string

And the output would look like:

{
  "uuid": "733f0758-8f21-4719-875f-262c3ec743af",
  "email": "john.doe@some.fake.email.domain",
  "first_name": "John",
  "last_name": "Doe"
}

Collections

You can also pass a collection object or an array to the render method.

puts UserBlueprint.render(User.all)

This will result in JSON that looks something like this:

[
  {
    "uuid": "733f0758-8f21-4719-875f-262c3ec743af",
    "email": "john.doe@some.fake.email.domain",
    "first_name": "John",
    "last_name": "Doe"
  },
  {
    "uuid": "733f0758-8f21-4719-875f-743af262c3ec",
    "email": "john.doe.2@some.fake.email.domain",
    "first_name": "John",
    "last_name": "Doe 2"
  }
]

Renaming

You can rename the resulting JSON keys in both fields and associations by using the name option.

class UserBlueprint < Blueprinter::Base
  identifier :uuid

  field :email, name: :login

  association :user_projects, name: :projects
end

This will result in JSON that looks something like this:

{
  "uuid": "92a5c732-2874-41e4-98fc-4123cd6cfa86",
  "login": "my@email.com",
  "projects": []
}

Views

You may define different outputs by utilizing views:

class UserBlueprint < Blueprinter::Base
  identifier :uuid
  field :email, name: :login

  view :normal do
    fields :first_name, :last_name
  end

  view :extended do
    include_view :normal
    field :address
    association :projects
  end
end

A view can include fields from another view by utilizing include_view and include_views.

Usage:

puts UserBlueprint.render(user, view: :extended)

Output:

{
  "uuid": "733f0758-8f21-4719-875f-262c3ec743af",
  "address": "123 Fake St.",
  "first_name": "John",
  "last_name": "Doe",
  "login": "john.doe@some.fake.email.domain"
}

Root

You can also optionally pass in a root key to wrap your resulting json in:

class UserBlueprint < Blueprinter::Base
  identifier :uuid
  field :email, name: :login

  view :normal do
    fields :first_name, :last_name
  end
end

Usage:

puts UserBlueprint.render(user, view: :normal, root: :user)

Output:

{
  "user": {
    "uuid": "733f0758-8f21-4719-875f-262c3ec743af",
    "first_name": "John",
    "last_name": "Doe",
    "login": "john.doe@some.fake.email.domain"
  }
}

Meta Attributes

You can additionally add meta-data to the json as well:

class UserBlueprint < Blueprinter::Base
  identifier :uuid
  field :email, name: :login

  view :normal do
    fields :first_name, :last_name
  end
end

Usage:

json = UserBlueprint.render(user, view: :normal, root: :user, meta: {links: [
  'https://app.mydomain.com',
  'https://alternate.mydomain.com'
]})
puts json

Output:

{
  "user": {
    "uuid": "733f0758-8f21-4719-875f-262c3ec743af",
    "first_name": "John",
    "last_name": "Doe",
    "login": "john.doe@some.fake.email.domain"
  },
  "meta": {
    "links": [
      "https://app.mydomain.com",
      "https://alternate.mydomain.com"
    ]
  }
}

NOTE: For meta attributes, a root is mandatory.


Exclude Fields

You can specifically choose to exclude certain fields for specific views

class UserBlueprint < Blueprinter::Base
  identifier :uuid
  field :email, name: :login

  view :normal do
    fields :first_name, :last_name
  end

  view :extended do
    include_view :normal
    field :address
    exclude :last_name
  end
end

Usage:

puts UserBlueprint.render(user, view: :extended)

Output:

{
  "uuid": "733f0758-8f21-4719-875f-262c3ec743af",
  "address": "123 Fake St.",
  "first_name": "John",
  "login": "john.doe@some.fake.email.domain"
}

Use excludes to exclude multiple fields at once inline.

class UserBlueprint < Blueprinter::Base
  identifier :uuid
  field :email, name: :login

  view :normal do
    fields :age, :first_name, :last_name,
  end

  view :extended do
    include_view :normal
    field :address
    excludes :age, :last_name
  end
end

Associations

You may include associated objects. Say for example, a user has projects:

class ProjectBlueprint < Blueprinter::Base
  identifier :uuid
  field :name
end

class UserBlueprint < Blueprinter::Base
  identifier :uuid
  field :email, name: :login

  view :normal do
    fields :first_name, :last_name
    association :projects, blueprint: ProjectBlueprint
  end
end

Usage:

puts UserBlueprint.render(user, view: :normal)

Output:

{
  "uuid": "733f0758-8f21-4719-875f-262c3ec743af",
  "first_name": "John",
  "last_name": "Doe",
  "login": "john.doe@some.fake.email.domain",
  "projects": [
    {
      "uuid": "dca94051-4195-42bc-a9aa-eb99f7723c82",
      "name": "Beach Cleanup"
    },
    {
      "uuid": "eb881bb5-9a51-4d27-8a29-b264c30e6160",
      "name": "Storefront Revamp"
    }
  ]
}

It is also possible to pass options from one Blueprint to another via an association. For example:

class VehicleBlueprint < Blueprinter::Base
  identifier :uuid
  field :full_name do |vehicle, options|
    "#{vehicle.model} #{options[:trim]}"
  end
end

class DriverBlueprint < Blueprinter::Base
  identifier :uuid

  view :normal do
    fields :first_name, :last_name
    association :vehicles, blueprint: VehicleBlueprint, options: { trim: 'LX' }
  end
end

Default Association/Field Option

By default, an association or field that evaluates to nil is serialized as nil. A default serialized value can be specified as an option on the association or field for cases when the association/field could potentially evaluate to nil. You can also specify a global field_default or association_default in the Blueprinter config which will be used for all fields/associations that evaluate to nil.

Global Config Setting

Blueprinter.configure do |config|
  config.field_default = "N/A"
  config.association_default = {}
end

Field-level/Association-level Setting

class UserBlueprint < Blueprinter::Base
  identifier :uuid

  view :normal do
    field :first_name, default: "N/A"
    association :company, blueprint: CompanyBlueprint, default: {}
  end
end

default_if

Sometimes, you may want certain "empty" values to pass through to the default value. Blueprinter provides the ability to treat the following empty types as the default value (or nil if no default provided).

Blueprinter::EMPTY_COLLECTION

An empty array or empty active record collection.

Blueprinter::EMPTY_HASH

An empty hash.

Blueprinter::EMPTY_STRING

An empty string or symbol.

Field-level/Association-level Setting

class UserBlueprint < Blueprinter::Base
  identifier :uuid

  view :normal do
    # If first_name is an empty string, it will become "N/A"
    field :first_name, default_if: Blueprinter::EmptyString, default: "N/A"
    # If the projects association collection is empty, it will become nil
    association :projects, blueprint: ProjectBlueprint, default_if: Blueprinter::EmptyCollection
  end
end

Supporting Dynamic Blueprints For Associations

When defining an association, we can dynamically evaluate the blueprint. This comes in handy when adding polymorphic associations, by allowing reuse of existing blueprints.

class Task < ActiveRecord::Base
  belongs_to :taskable, polymorphic: true
end

class Project < ActiveRecord::Base
  has_many :tasks, as: :taskable

  def blueprint
    ProjectBlueprint
  end
end

class TaskBlueprint < Blueprinter::Base
  identifier :uuid

  view :normal do
    field :title, default: "N/A"
    association :taskable, blueprint: ->(taskable) {taskable.blueprint}, default: {}
  end
end

NOTE: taskable.blueprint should return a valid Blueprint class. Currently, has_many is not supported because of the very nature of polymorphic associations.


Defining A Field Directly In The Blueprint

You can define a field directly in the Blueprint by passing it a block. This is especially useful if the object does not already have such an attribute or method defined, and you want to define it specifically for use with the Blueprint. This is done by passing field a block. The block also yields the object and any options that were passed from render. For example:

class UserBlueprint < Blueprinter::Base
  identifier :uuid
  field :full_name do |user, options|
    "#{options[:title_prefix]} #{user.first_name} #{user.last_name}"
  end
end

Usage:

puts UserBlueprint.render(user, title_prefix: "Mr")

Output:

{
  "uuid": "733f0758-8f21-4719-875f-262c3ec743af",
  "full_name": "Mr John Doe"
}

Defining An Identifier Directly In The Blueprint

You can also pass a block to an identifier:

class UserBlueprint < Blueprinter::Base
  identifier :uuid do |user, options|
    options[:current_user].anonymize(user.uuid)
  end
end

Usage:

puts UserBlueprint.render(user, current_user: current_user)

Output:

{
  "uuid": "733f0758-8f21-4719-875f-262c3ec743af",
}

Defining An Association Directly In The Blueprint

You can also pass a block to an association:

class ProjectBlueprint < Blueprinter::Base
  identifier :uuid
  field :name
end

class UserBlueprint < Blueprinter::Base
  identifier :uuid

  association :projects, blueprint: ProjectBlueprint do |user, options|
    user.projects + options[:draft_projects]
  end
end

Usage:

puts UserBlueprint.render(user, draft_projects: Project.where(draft: true))

Output:

{
  "uuid": "733f0758-8f21-4719-875f-262c3ec743af",
  "projects": [
    {"uuid": "b426a1e6-ac41-45ab-bfef-970b9a0b4289", "name": "query-console"},
    {"uuid": "5bd84d6c-4fd2-4e36-ae31-c137e39be542", "name": "blueprinter"},
    {"uuid": "785f5cd4-7d8d-4779-a6dd-ec5eab440eff", "name": "uncontrollable"}
  ]
}

Passing Additional Properties To #render

render takes an options hash which you can pass additional properties, allowing you to utilize those additional properties in the field block. For example:

class UserBlueprint < Blueprinter::Base
  identifier :uuid
  field(:company_name) do |_user, options|
    options[:company].name
  end
end

Usage:

puts UserBlueprint.render(user, company: company)

Output:

{
  "uuid": "733f0758-8f21-4719-875f-262c3ec743af",
  "company_name": "My Company LLC"
}

Conditional Fields

Both the field and the global Blueprinter Configuration supports :if and :unless options that can be used to serialize fields conditionally.

Global Config Setting

Blueprinter.configure do |config|
  config.if = ->(field_name, obj, _options) { !obj[field_name].nil? }
  config.unless = ->(field_name, obj, _options) { obj[field_name].nil? }
end

Field-level Setting

class UserBlueprint < Blueprinter::Base
  identifier :uuid
  field :last_name, if: ->(_field_name, user, options) { user.first_name != options[:first_name] }
  field :age, unless: ->(_field_name, user, _options) { user.age < 18 }
end

NOTE: The field-level setting overrides the global config setting (for the field) if both are set.


Custom Formatting for Dates and Times

To define a custom format for a Date or DateTime field, include the option datetime_format. This global or field-level option can be either a string representing the associated strftime format, or a Proc which receives the original Date/DateTime object and returns the formatted value. When using a Proc, it is the Proc's responsibility to handle any errors in formatting.

Global Config Setting

If a global datetime_format is set (either as a string format or a Proc), this option will be invoked and used to format all fields that respond to strftime.

Blueprinter.configure do |config|
  config.datetime_format = ->(datetime) { datetime.nil? ? datetime : datetime.strftime("%s").to_i }
end

Field-level Setting

Usage (String Option):

class UserBlueprint < Blueprinter::Base
  identifier :name
  field :birthday, datetime_format: "%m/%d/%Y"
end

Output:

{
  "name": "John Doe",
  "birthday": "03/04/1994"
}

Usage (Proc Option):

class UserBlueprint < Blueprinter::Base
  identifier :name
  field :birthday, datetime_format: ->(datetime) { datetime.nil? ? datetime : datetime.strftime("%s").to_i }
end

Output:

{
  "name": "John Doe",
  "birthday": 762739200
}

NOTE: The field-level setting overrides the global config setting (for the field) if both are set.


Transform Classes

Blueprinter provides the ability to specify transforms on views, which enable further processing and transforming of resulting view field hashes prior to serialization.

Use transform to specify one transformer to be included for serialization. A transformer is a class, extending Blueprinter::Transformer and implementing the transform method. Whatever is returned from this transform method will end up being the resulting hash passed to serialization.

Example

Create a Transform class extending from Blueprinter::Transformer

class DynamicFieldTransformer < Blueprinter::Transformer
  def transform(hash, object, options)
    hash.merge!(object.dynamic_fields)
  end
end
class User
  def custom_columns
    self.dynamic_fields #which is an array of some columns
  end

  def custom_fields
    custom_columns.each_with_object({}){|col,result|  result[col] = self.send(col)}
  end
end

Then specify the transform to use for the view.

class UserBlueprint < Blueprinter::Base
  fields :first_name, :last_name
  transform DynamicTransformer
end

Global Transforms

You can also specify global default transformers. Create one or more transformer classes extending from Blueprinter::Transformer and set the default_transformers configuration

class LowerCamelTransformer < Blueprinter::Transformer
  def transform(hash, _object, _options)
    hash.transform_keys! { |key| key.to_s.camelize(:lower).to_sym }
  end
end
Blueprinter.configure do |config|
  config.default_transformers = [LowerCamelTransformer]
end

Note: Any transforms specified on a per-blueprint or per-view level will override the default_transformers in the configuration.


Configurable Extractors

Blueprinter gets a given objects' values from the fields definitions using extractor classes. You can substitute your own extractor class globally or per-field.

Examples

For a specific kind of field, create an extractor class extending from Blueprinter::Extractor

class MyFieldExtractor < Blueprinter::Extractor
  def extract(_field_name, _object, _local_options, _options={})
    # process your obscure_object
    _object.clarified
  end
end
class MysteryBlueprint < Blueprinter::Base
  field :obscure_object, extractor: MyFieldExtractor
end

For a global default, create an extractor class extending from Blueprinter::AutoExtractor and set the extractor_default configuration

class MyAutoExtractor < Blueprinter::AutoExtractor
  def initialize
    super
    @my_field_extractor = MyFieldExtractor.new
  end
  def extractor(object, options)
    # dispatch to any class AutoExtractor can, plus more
    if detect_obscurity(object)
      @my_field_extractor
    else
      super
    end
  end
end
Blueprinter.configure do |config|
  config.extractor_default = MyAutoExtractor
end

Sorting Fields

By default the response sorts the keys by name. If you want the fields to be sorted in the order of definition, use the below configuration option.

Usage:

Blueprinter.configure do |config|
  config.sort_fields_by = :definition
end
class UserBlueprint < Blueprinter::Base
  identifier :name
  field :email
  field :birthday, datetime_format: "%m/%d/%Y"
end

Output:

{
  "name": "John Doe",
  "email": "john.doe@some.fake.email.domain",
  "birthday": "03/04/1994"
}

Deprecations

When functionality in Blueprinter is invoked, that has been deprecated, the default behavior is to write a deprecation notice to stderror.

However, deprecations can be configured to report at three different levels:

Key Result
:stderr (Default) Deprecations will be written to stderror
:raise Deprecations will be raised as Blueprinter::BlueprinterErrors
:silence Deprecations will be silenced and will not be raised or logged

Example:

Blueprinter.configure do |config|
  config.deprecations = :raise
end

render_as_hash

Same as render, returns a Ruby Hash.

Usage:

puts UserBlueprint.render_as_hash(user, company: company)

Output:

{
  uuid: "733f0758-8f21-4719-875f-262c3ec743af",
  company_name: "My Company LLC"
}

render_as_json

Same as render, returns a Ruby Hash JSONified. This will call JSONify all keys and values.

Usage:

puts UserBlueprint.render_as_json(user, company: company)

Output:

{
  "uuid" => "733f0758-8f21-4719-875f-262c3ec743af",
  "company_name" => "My Company LLC"
}

Installation

Add this line to your application's Gemfile:

gem 'blueprinter'

And then execute:

$ bundle

Or install it yourself as:

$ gem install blueprinter

You should also have require 'json' already in your project if you are not using Rails or if you are not using Oj.

OJ

By default, Blueprinter will be calling JSON.generate(object) internally and it expects that you have require 'json' already in your project's code. You may use Oj to generate in place of JSON like so:

require 'oj' # you can skip this if OJ has already been required.

Blueprinter.configure do |config|
  config.generator = Oj # default is JSON
end

Ensure that you have the Oj gem installed in your Gemfile if you haven't already:

# Gemfile
gem 'oj'

Yajl-ruby

yajl-ruby is a fast and powerful JSON generator/parser. To use yajl-ruby in place of JSON / OJ, use:

require 'yajl' # you can skip this if yajl has already been required.

Blueprinter.configure do |config|
  config.generator = Yajl::Encoder # default is JSON
  config.method = :encode # default is generate
end

NOTE: You should be doing this only if you aren't using yajl-ruby through the JSON API by requiring yajl/json_gem. More details here. In this case, JSON.generate is patched to use Yajl::Encoder.encode internally.

Contributing

Feel free to browse the issues, converse, and make pull requests. If you need help, first please see if there is already an issue for your problem. Otherwise, go ahead and make a new issue.

Tests

You can run tests with bundle exec rake.

Maintain The Docs

We use Yard for documentation. Here are the following documentation rules:

  • Document all public methods we expect to be utilized by the end developers.
  • Methods that are not set to private due to ruby visibility rule limitations should be marked with @api private.

How to Document

We use Yard for documentation. Here are the following documentation rules:

  • Document all public methods we expect to be utilized by the end developers.
  • Methods that are not set to private due to ruby visibility rule limitations should be marked with @api private.

Releasing a New Version

To release a new version, change the version number in version.rb, and update the CHANGELOG.md. Finally, maintainers need to run bundle exec rake release, which will automatically create a git tag for the version, push git commits and tags to Github, and push the .gem file to rubygems.org.

License

The gem is available as open source under the terms of the MIT License.