Ruby on Rails: Working with Partials and Helpers

One of the key advantages of using Ruby on Rails for web development is its ability to easily reuse code through partials and helpers. Partials allow us to break down the complex views into smaller, more manageable components, while helpers help us abstract common logic and make it available across different views.


Partials are reusable view components that can be rendered within other views. They promote code reusability and organization by extracting repeated code into separate files. To create a partial in Rails, we simply prefix the file name with an underscore (_) and place it in the app/views directory.

Let's say we have a partial called _header.html.erb containing the HTML markup for the header section of our website. To include this partial within another view, we can use the render method:

<%= render 'header' %>

Rails will automatically locate the _header.html.erb file and embed its content in place of the render statement.

Partials can also accept local variables, allowing us to pass dynamic data from the parent view. For example, we can pass a variable named title to the _header.html.erb partial:

<%= render 'header', title: 'Welcome to my website!' %>

Inside the partial, we can access this variable like any other local variable:

<h1><%= title %></h1>


Helpers in Ruby on Rails provide a way to abstract common logic and make it available across different views. They are defined in the app/helpers directory and can be utilized within views, controllers, and other helpers.

Rails ships with a set of built-in view helpers, but we can also create our own custom helpers. These helpers can encapsulate complex logic, perform data formatting, generate URLs, etc., thus enhancing the readability and maintainability of our code.

To create a helper, we define a module within a helper file. For instance, we can create a custom helper called ApplicationHelper in app/helpers/application_helper.rb:

module ApplicationHelper
  def display_date(date)
    date.strftime("%B %d, %Y")

Inside our views or other helpers, we can now call display_date and pass a Date object to format it accordingly:

<p>Article posted on <%= display_date(article.created_at) %></p>

By separating repetitive or complex code into helpers, we not only make our views cleaner but also enable code reusability throughout the application.


Partials and helpers are powerful tools in Ruby on Rails that help us write cleaner, more maintainable code. Partials allow us to break down complex views into reusable components, while helpers enable us to abstract common logic and make it available across different views. By utilizing these features effectively, we can greatly enhance our productivity as Rails developers.

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