ActiveRecord Sitemapper

Low-level sitemap-building

The standard approach to generate XML sitemaps for a Ruby on Rails application seems to be creating a special SitemapsController with xml views and a bit of routes.rb magic.

I used to generate sitemaps created thus via a nightly rake task to have them cached and delivered statically by Apache. That felt wrong, I wanted a more “low-level” approach. Actually, as low-level as possible and I ended up at ActiveRecord::Base: this plugin enhances your ActiveRecord model to export its data to a sitemap in an intuitive way.

Also yes, I know there are probably a gazillion projects covering this already.


To add ar_sitemapper to your Rails 3 project, add it to your Gemfile:

gem 'ar_sitemapper', '~> 1.0.0'


ActiveRecord drop-in

You can use build_sitemap directly on any ActiveRecord model. The following example will create a sitemap of all your Content objects as Rails.root/public/sitemap_contents.xml.gz:

Content.build_sitemap :all do |content, xml|
  xml.loc content_url(content)
  xml.changefreq 'weekly'
  xml.lastmod content.updated_at.strftime("%Y-%m-%d")
  xml.priority 0.5

You can pass ActiveRecord::Base.find options as arguments to build_sitemap to fine-tune the selection of objects you want to extract:

Post.build_sitemap :all, :conditions => ["published IS TRUE"], :order => :name do |post, xml|
  # do stuff here

Note: if you want to use your named route helpers in the block, be sure to have ActionController::UrlWriter included. Setting default_url_options is helpful, too.


ar_sitemapper will derive its sitemap filename from the model's name and will default to Gzip compressed output. If can write to stdout as well if file is explicitely set to nil or false.

It will automatically compress your XML sitemap with Gzip if the filename parameter suggests it (ie. ends with “.gz”). Alternatively, you can enforce or disable Gzip compression by passing true or false to the gzip option.

Both of the following examples will create a gzip'ed file named “test.xml.gz”:

Content.build_sitemap :all, :file => "test.xml.gz" { |content, xml| ... }
Content.build_sitemap :all, :file => "test.xml", :gzip => true { |content, xml| ... }

Sitemaps for static data

Sitemap creation is done via a block, so you can do whatever you want in it. For added flexibility, you can use ar_sitemapper with arbitrary data collections (ie. generating sitemaps for static content). Future versions will support YAML configuration of such static content.

sites = [
  { :url => "", :freq => "always",  :prio => "1.0" },
  { :url => "", :freq => "monthly", :prio => "0.3" },

AegisNet::Sitemapper::Generator.create(sites) do |site, xml|
  xml.loc site[:url]
  xml.changefreq site[:freq]
  xml.priority site[:prio]

YAML configuration

Sitemapper supports configuration via a YAML file which is expected to reside in Rails.root/config/sitemaps.yml.

Supported top level configuration options

  • default_host: base hostname used for url generation (mandatory).

  • local_path: where to store the generated sitemaps on the local system (mandatory).

  • ping: boolean whether or not to ping search engines on successful sitemap generation.

  • index: options for the main sitemap index file, ie. the file that references all others.

  • static: options for the sitemap that lists URLs to static content (ie. URLs not necessarily related to AR models)

  • models: options for model-related URLset sitemaps

  • ping: a list of search engines' ping services.

The index option

  • sitemapfile: the name of the the generated sitemap.

  • includes: an array of sitemaps that should be included in the sitemap index but are not generated directly through AR:Sitemapper (eg. a KML-sitemap).

The static option

  • sitemapfile: the name of the the generated sitemap.

  • urlset: a list of static pages to include into the sitemap. Every item must have a loc element. A changefreq and priority element is optional and defaults to weekly and 0.5, respectively.

The model option

A list of models to create sitemaps for. The key must be the downcased und underscored name of the model. Supported / required options for every model-based sitemap are:

  • sitemapfile: the name of the the generated sitemap (mandatory).

  • loc: a Proc definition to generate the URLs for each object with (mandatory).

  • changefreq: optional, defaults to 'weekly'

  • priority: optional, defaults to '0.5'

  • lastmod: you can use ERB to insert the date you desire.

  • conditions: conditions to be merged into the finder of build_sitemap (optional).

  • scope: a named scope to find objects with

Sample YAML file

default_host: ""
local_path: <%= File.join Rails.root, "public", "sitemaps" %>
ping: true
  sitemapfile: "sitemap_index.xml"
      loc: some_other_sitemap.xml
  sitemapfile: "sitemap_static.xml.gz"
      loc: ""
      changefreq: weekly
      priority: 1.0
      loc: ""
      changefreq: weekly
      priority: 1.0
    sitemapfile: sitemap_foo_bars.xml.gz
    lastmod: <%= 2.days.ago %>
    loc: {|object| foo_bar_path(object) }
    changefreq: weekly
    priority: 0.7
    conditions: "foo > 1"
    sitemapfile: sitemap_proctests.xml.gz
    scope: liquid
    lastmod: <%= Acme.find(:last, :order => :updated_at).updated_at %>
    loc: {|object| acme_path(object) }
    changefreq: weekly
    priority: 0.8

Rake task

The gem provides a rake task to rebuild all sitemaps from its config file:

rake sitemapper:rebuild


  • support KML files

  • allow for a custom iterator supplied as Proc for Generator::create (ie. to make use of ARs batch finding)

  • cleanup

  • more flexible syntax for conditions in yml file

  • guess RESTful object path and make Proc object for loc in models optional

  • Install a sample sitemap.yml file

Copyright © 2010-2013 Carsten Zimmermann, released under a BSD-type license