Bootstrap Forms

Build Status

Bootstrap Forms is a nice Rails generator that makes working with Bootstrap (by Twitter) even easier on Rails.

Forms with Bootstrap are crowded with additional layout markup. While it's necessary, you shouldn't have to type it every time you create a form! That's why I created Bootstrap Forms.

Bootstrap 2.0 Compliant!

A super special thanks to vincenzor for updating bootstrap_forms to comply with the new methods and features in Twitter Bootstrap 2.0.

To get these new features, ensure you are using bootstrap_forms ~> 2.0.0.


There were major changes in the release of version 0.1.0:

  1. The gem name has officially changed from bootstrap-forms to bootstrap_forms to match gem naming conventions. The old gem still exists on rubygems for legacy applications, however, you should update to the new gem as quickly as possible. It's faster and more stable. The old gem is no longer maintained.
  2. form_for is no longer overridden by default. There were multiple users who were concerned that this behavior was ill advised. Instead, a new form helper, bootstrap_form_for has been created. This is in line with other form building libraries.
  3. The gem is now a Rails 3 Engine. As such, Bootstrap Forms will not work in < Rails 3.0. The engine is automatically mounted when including the gem in your Gemfile.


Add it to your Gemfile:

gem 'bootstrap_forms'

Don't forget to run the bundle command. The gem will add the method bootstrap_form_for for use in your project. This is different from bootstrap_forms < 0.1.0. In previous versions, the default form builders were overridden by default. With backlash from various community members, this is no longer the default.

Be sure to restart your Rails server after installing the gem.


With Bootstrap, you would need the following code for a form:

/ using HAML
= form_for @model do |f|
    %label MyLabel
      = f.text_area :field, :opts => {...}

Using Bootstrap Forms, this is much simpler:

/ using HAML
= bootstrap_form_for @model do |f|
  = f.text_area :field, :opts => {...}

The custom form builder will automatically wrap everything for you. This helps clean up your view layer significantly!

Additional Form Methods

Just when you thought you were done... Bootstrap Forms includes additional form helpers that make life a lot easier! For example, the markup required for a list of checkboxes is quite cumbersome... well, it used to be.


collection_check_boxes behaves very similarly to collection_select:

= f.collection_check_boxes :category_ids, Category.all, :id, :name

You can set the inline option to build inline checkboxes:

= f.collection_check_boxes :category_ids, Category.all, :id, :name, :inline => true


See description above...

= f.collection_radio_buttons :primary_category_id, Category.all, :id, :name

You can set the inline option to build inline radios:

= f.collection_radio_buttons :primary_category_id, Category.all, :id, :name, :inline => true


Also supports inline option:

= f.check_box :enabled, :inline => true


= f.radio_buttons :published, { "Published" => true, "Unpublished" => false }

You can set the :inline option to build inline radios.

= f.radio_buttons :published, { "Published" => true, "Unpublished" => false }, { :inline => true }

You can set radio options by passing a hash instead of a value:

= f.radio_buttons :published, { "Published" => true, "Unpublished" => {:value => false, :disabled => true} }

Ruby 1.8 doesn't guarantee hashes are ordered. If you care, pass in nested arrays or ActiveSupport::OrderedHash.

Uneditable Input

Bootstrap Forms adds another helper method that generates the necessary markup for uneditable inputs:

= f.uneditable_input :name


<div class="clearfix">
  <label for="organization_name">Organization Name</label>
  <div class="input">
    <span class="uneditable-input">The Variety Hour</span>

Submit Tag

Bootstrap Forms also adds a default actions panel when you call f.actions:

= f.actions


<div class="actions">
  <input type="submit" value="..." class="btn primary" />
  <a href="..." class="btn">Cancel</a>

You can skip the cancel button by passing the :include_cancel button a false value.

Pretty swell if you ask me.

Adding More Options

You can add as many options to any form helper tag. If they are interpreted by Bootstrap Forms, they are interpreted and rendered in the output. If not, they are passed along as values to the final HTML form object.

Form Options

Name Description Usage Default
summary_errors Show summary errors at the top = bootstrap_form_for @thing, summary_errors: false true

Field Options

Name Description Usage
help_inline Add inline help text = f.text_field :name, :help_inline => 'help me!'
help_block Add block help text (below) = f.text_field :name, :help_block => 'help me!'
error Styles the field as error (red) = f.text_field :name, :error => 'This is an error!'
success Styles the field as success (green) = f.text_field :name, :success => 'This checked out OK'
warning Styles the field as warning (yellow) = f.text_field :name, :warning => 'Take a look at this...'
prepend Adds special text to the front of the input = f.text_field :name, :prepend => '@'
append Adds special text at the end of the input = f.text_field :name, :append => '@'
append_button Adds the given button to the end of the input. The value is a hash.
:label is the button label
:icon adds an icon before the label
:class has a default value of 'btn'
:type has a default value of 'button'
Any other entries are passed directly to Rails's tag helper.
= f.text_field :name, :append_button => { :label => 'Button label', :icon => 'icon-plus', :type => 'button' }
label Customize the field's label. Pass false to have no label. = f.text_field :name, :label => 'Other name'
control_group Pass false to remove the control group and controls HTML, leaving only the label and input. = f.text_field :name, :control_group => false
:required => false Pass false to ignore presence validation checks that add a required attribute on the generated element. = f.text_field :name, :required => false

Internationalization/Custom Errors

As of 1.0.2, bootstrap_forms supports I18n! More support is being added, but you can change the error header and cancel button like this:

# config/locales/en.yml
      header: 'Your %{model} is wrong!'
      cancel: 'Forget it!'

Obviously you can also change to a different lang.yml file and use the same syntax.

Nested Forms

Bootstrap Forms works with Ryan Bates' nested_form out of the box. Just add nested_form to you Gemfile and bootstrap_forms will automatically add a builder for you:

= bootstrap_nested_form_for @model do |f|


I'm pretty dam active on github. Fork and submit a pull request. Most of my pull requests are merged the same day. Make sure you:

  • Squash into a single commit (unless it makes sense to have multiple commits)
  • Test/Spec the changes
  • Document your changes

License & Authors

Copyright 2012-2013 Seth Vargo <[email protected]>

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License");
you may not use this file except in compliance with the License.
You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software
distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS,
See the License for the specific language governing permissions and
limitations under the License.