Intergrate Redis on Rails

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 8.24.43 PM.png

Today, I am going to talk about Redis which is the most popular technology for storing web data especially cache data. In this artcle, I'll show you how to intergrate redis to our Rails app, and how we can use in our app.

But first we need to know what is Redis? Why do we use Redis? How can we set it up?

What\why\how is Redis?

Redis is a NoSQL database which store data in memory. However, according to the redis official web site:

Redis is an open source (BSD licensed), in-memory data structure store, used as database, cache and message broker. It supports data structures such as strings, hashes, lists, sets, sorted sets with range queries, bitmaps, hyperloglogs and geospatial indexes with radius queries.

Redis is fast because it is an in-memory key-value store so that the data retrieval is almost instantaneous & when we're using it to store cached data.

However, you'll need to get it installed in your computer first and you can install it base on your OS.

  • For mac users: $ brew install redis
  • For debian users: $ sudo apt-get install redis

And to start redis server: $ redis-server and you are good to go.

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 8.24.43 PM.png

Set up Redis on rails

Set up redis on rails is easy, and you can add it by this follow step:

  1. Add redis gem gem 'redis'
  2. run $bundle install
  3. add redis in initialization config/initializers/redis.rb and use it globally
    $redis = Redis.new(:host => 'localhost', :port => 6379)
however, you also can init redis on whenever you want to it instead of init it globally.

Demostration of using Redis on Rails

To demo the usage of redis, I am going to use my previous project plantlover source code which it is continue from article Image manipulation with Carrierwave and MiniMagick.

As my previous artcile, we have implemented the place where user able to view list of plants and it details infomation. So in the artcile we'll add one more feature which allow login user be able to create, update, and delete plants infomation. And we use redis to store the token data.

Lets create redis class in lib folder name plant_lover_redis.rb instead of use redis directly in application.

class PlantLoverRedis
  NAMESPACE = 'plants_lover:'

  class << self
    def set(key, value)
      $redis.set("#{NAMESPACE}#{key}", value)

    def get(key)

    def delete(key)
      return false unless exist?(key)

    def exist?(key)

      def expire(key)
        $redis.expire("#{NAMESPACE}#{key}", 1.hour)

let's create user model $rails g model name:string username:string password_digest:string, and add has_secure_password into user model. However, you need to enable gem 'bcrypt' in order to use this feature.

class User < ActiveRecord::Base
    validates :name, :username, presence: true,
                                length: { minimum: 2, maximum: 40 }
    validates :username, uniqueness: true

    # override to_json for
    def to_json(options={})
        options[:except] ||= [:password_digest]

let's seed sample of user in to database:

User.create!    name: "RathanakJame",
                username: "rathanak",
                password: '1234567890',
                password_confirmation: '1234567890',
                sex: 'M'

10.times do |n|
    User.create!    name: "Rathanak-#{n}",
                    username: "rathanak_#{n}",
                    password: '1234567890',
                    password_confirmation: '1234567890',
                    sex: 'M'

here we create sessions_controller for user signin and signout. in this controller we have two action signin which use SecureRandom.base64 to generate token key than PlantLoverRedis.set(token, user.id) save token as key to redis and respond the token key to user when use loggin successfully, and signout will PlantLoverRedis.delete(token) remove token from redis store.

class SessionsController < ApplicationController
    def create
        username = params[:username]
        user_password = params[:password]
        user = User.find_by(username: username)
        if user && user.authenticate(user_password)
            token = SecureRandom.base64
            loop do
                break unless PlantLoverRedis.exist?(token)
                token = SecureRandom.base64
            PlantLoverRedis.set(token, user.id)
            render json: { message: 'login success ', data: token}, status: 200
            render json: { errors: 'Invalid username or password'}, status: 422

    def destroy
        token = request.headers['HTTP_PLANLOVERTOKEN']
        render json: { message: 'sign out successfully'}, status: 200

let's try signin:

$curl -X POST -d '{"username": "rathanak", "password": "1234567890"}' -H 'Content-Type: application/json' http://localhost:3000/signin -w '\n'

and here we got

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 10.36.55 PM.png

let's try signout

$curl localhost:3000/signout -H 'PlanLoverToken: UE1umYo+8KftmKPQ2prU+A==' -w '\n'

and here we got:

Screen Shot 2016-05-23 at 10.41.05 PM.png

Lets' authenticate and authorize user that perform action on our plants_controller.rb.


class PlantsController < ApplicationController
  before_filter :authenticate_with_token, except: [:show, :index]
  before_action :set_plant, only: [:show, :edit, :update, :destroy]
  before_action :authorize_action, only: [:edit, :update, :destroy]

    def set_plant
      @plant = Plant.find(params[:id])

    def authorize_action
      unless @user && @plant
        render json: { errors: 'there not user or plants!'}, status: :unauthorized
      if @plant.user.id != @user.id
        render json: { errors: 'user is not authorized on this action'}, status: :unauthorized

    def authenticate_with_token
      token = request.headers['HTTP_PLANLOVERTOKEN']
      if PlantLoverRedis.exist?(token)
        @user = User.find(PlantLoverRedis.get(token))
        render json: { errors: 'Not authenticated!'}, status: :unauthorized

Access to plants controller without header curl localhost:3330/plants/new

and here we got

Screenshot from 2016-05-24 10:20:35.png

than let's access with invalid and valid token key which we get from signin respond

$curl -X POST -d '{"username": "rathanak", "password": "1234567890"}' -H 'Content-Type: application/json' http://localhost:3330/signin
$curl localhost:3330/plants/new -H 'PlanLoverToken: INVALIA TOKEN'
$curl localhost:3330/plants/new -H 'PlanLoverToken: VALID TOKEN'

and here we got

Screenshot from 2016-05-24 10:23:03.png

Now try with unauthorized user

$curl -X PATCH -d '{"name": "Red flower", "description": "this is the red florwer"}' -H 'PlanLoverToken: KzxuBRlu2aprBa4g10LZHw==' -H 'Content-Type: application/json' http://localhost:3330/plants/3

here what we got

Screenshot from 2016-05-24 10:41:21.png

yaya, It works. 😃


Next Step

In this article, we just introduce you to Redis and how can we intergrate its functionality with our Rails app. However, you can do many more with Redis and the good place which you can explore is on its official web site.

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