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What is Scaffolding in Ruby on Rails?

When learning a new programming framework, one of the challenges is understanding how to structure your application and where to put different pieces of code. Ruby on Rails, a popular web application framework, has a solution to this problem: scaffolding. In this blog post, we will explore what scaffolding is, its benefits, and how to use it in your Rails applications.

What is Scaffolding?

Imagine you are building a house. Before you start, you need a solid foundation and a structure to guide your construction. In the world of Ruby on Rails, scaffolding is like a temporary structure that helps you build your application more quickly.

Scaffolding in Rails is a way to generate a basic structure for your application, including the necessary files and code to perform CRUD (Create, Read, Update, and Delete) operations. It's like a blueprint for your application, providing a starting point and a guide for how to organize your code.

Scaffolding is not meant to be a final solution, but rather a starting point that can be customized and refined as needed. It helps you quickly set up the essential components of your application, allowing you to focus on the unique aspects of your project.

Benefits of Scaffolding

Using scaffolding in your Rails application has several benefits:

  1. Speeds up development: Scaffolding provides a quick way to generate the basic structure for your application, saving you time and effort.
  2. Provides a consistent structure: Scaffolding generates a consistent structure for your application, making it easier to navigate and understand.
  3. Encourages best practices: Rails scaffolding follows best practices for organizing code, making it easier to maintain and scale your application over time.

Generating a Scaffold

To generate a scaffold in Rails, you'll need to use the rails generate scaffold command, followed by the name of the resource you want to create. A resource in Rails is typically a single model, along with its associated views, controllers, and routes.

For example, let's say we want to create a simple blog application with posts. We can generate a scaffold for our Post resource like this:

rails generate scaffold Post title:string body:text

This command tells Rails to generate a scaffold for a Post resource, with two attributes: a title of type string and a body of type text.

After running this command, Rails will generate several files for us:

  • A migration file for creating the posts table in the database
  • A Post model file
  • A PostsController file, complete with CRUD actions
  • View files for each CRUD action
  • A config/routes.rb file with routes for the generated CRUD actions

Let's take a closer look at each of these components.


Migrations are a way to manage changes to your database schema. Rails generates a migration file for our Post resource, which will create the posts table with the specified attributes.

The generated migration file will look something like this:

class CreatePosts < ActiveRecord::Migration[6.1]
  def change
    create_table :posts do |t|
      t.string :title
      t.text :body


To apply this migration and create the posts table, we need to run the following command:

rails db:migrate


A model in Rails represents a single entity in your application, such as a blog post or a user. Rails generates a Post model file for us, which includes the necessary code for interacting with the database.

The generated Post model file will look like this:

class Post < ApplicationRecord

In this case, our model is very simple, but as your application grows, you may want to add validations, associations, or custom methods to your models.


Controllers in Rails are responsible for handling web requests and performing the necessary actions to respond to those requests. Rails generates a PostsController file for us, complete with the necessary CRUD actions (index, show, new, edit, create, update, and destroy).

The generated PostsController will look like this:

class PostsController < ApplicationController
  before_action :set_post, only: %i[show edit update destroy]

  def index
    @posts = Post.all

  def show

  def new
    @post =

  def edit

  def create
    @post =

      redirect_to @post, notice: 'Post was successfully created.'
      render :new

  def update
    if @post.update(post_params)
      redirect_to @post, notice: 'Post was successfully updated.'
      render :edit

  def destroy
    redirect_to posts_url, notice: 'Post was successfully destroyed.'


  def set_post
    @post = Post.find(params[:id])

  def post_params
    params.require(:post).permit(:title, :body)

This controller handles all the necessary actions for our Post resource. It also includes some helpful error messages and redirects for when a user creates, updates, or deletes a post.


Views in Rails are responsible for displaying the data from your application to the user. Rails generates a view file for each CRUD action (index, show, new, edit, create, update, and destroy).

These views are written using Embedded Ruby (ERB), which allows you to mix HTML and Ruby code.

Here's an example of a generated view file, index.html.erb:


      <th colspan="3"></th>

    <% @posts.each do |post| %>
        <td><%= post.title %></td>
        <td><%= post.body %></td>
        <td><%= link_to 'Show', post %></td>
        <td><%= link_to 'Edit', edit_post_path(post) %></td>
        <td><%= link_to 'Destroy', post, method: :delete, data: { confirm: 'Are you sure?' } %></td>
    <% end %>


<%= link_to 'New Post', new_post_path %>

This view file will display a list of all the posts in our application, along with links to show, edit, and delete each post. It also includes a link to create a new post.


Routes in Rails define the URLs for your application and map them to specific controller actions. Rails generates a config/routes.rb file with routes for the generated CRUD actions.

The generated routes will look like this:

Rails.application.routes.draw do
  resources :posts

This single line of code creates all the necessary routes for our Post resource, including the routes for creating, reading, updating, and deleting posts.

Customizing the Scaffold

As mentioned earlier, scaffolding is just a starting point for your application. You can customize the generated files as needed to fit the specific requirements of your project.

For example, you might want to add validations to your Post model, customize the design of your views, or add additional actions to your controller.

As you become more familiar with Rails, you'll find that scaffolding is a powerful tool that helps you quickly create and organize your application code, allowing you to focus on the unique aspects of your project.


Scaffolding in Ruby on Rails is a helpful feature that generates a basic structure for your application, including models, views, controllers, and routes. It provides a consistent structure, encourages best practices, and speeds up development.

By using scaffolding, you can quickly create the foundation for your application and then customize it as needed. This allows you to focus on the unique aspects of your project, while still benefiting from the organization and best practices provided by Rails.