Envelopes

All Your Mailer Views in One Place

One of the greatest things that Rails provides to developers is a sensible set of defaults for where stuff goes in the file hierarchy. The standard approach to app/models, app/mailers, app/views, config, etc., allows us to arrive at a Rails project and quickly understand where existing code is and where to place our new code.

I’m therefore loathe to deviate from the defaults, but I do make one exception: email view templates. They live in the same part of the folder hierarchy as the web views tied to Controllers, e.g. the views for whatever_mailer are found in app/views/whatever_mailer, even though your application’s Mailers are in a different location to your Controllers.

I don’t know about you but, after a decade of Rails I still struggle to find mailer views.

Instead of…

…storing your mailer templates in their default location:

e.g. for UserMailer, the mailer is in app/mailers/user_mailer.rb and the view templates are in app/views/user_mailer.

Use

…a folder/subdirectory within app/views or a new “top-level” directory within app.

class ApplicationMailer < ActionMailer::Base
  prepend_view_path "app/views/mailers"
end

…or preferably…

class ApplicationMailer < ActionMailer::Base
  prepend_view_path "app/mailer_views"
end

Then move the files from app/views/user_mailer to app/views/mailers/user_mailer or app/mailer_views/user_mailer.

Why?

Mailers and Controllers in Rails share similar kinds of functionality: reading variables from passed parameters, loading data, and rendering output. The Rails codebase reflects this as both Mailers and Controllers inherit parts of their behaviour from AbstractController (documentation).

The separation of the mailer views, even if only to a subdirectory within app/views, feels more in line with the separation of the mailers (app/mailers) from controllers (app/controllers) in the default file hierarchy.

Making this small change will make it much easier to find email templates in your application.

Why not?

This is a pernickety organisational opinion. The default is ok.

Modern IDEs allow fuzzy-file lookup so the location of files isn’t that important.

You are changing your codebase from reasonable Rails defaults, which is normally not ideal. However the change is small, well-defined, and improves upon the separation and organisation implied by the standard locations—I’d argue this should be the Rails default.


last updated on 16 Feb 2020 by @andycroll

photo by
Joanna Kosinska

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