Gem Version

Handle breadcrumb trails... like a boss :)

(TL;DR) Gretel is a Ruby on Rails plugin that makes it easy yet flexible to create breadcrumbs. It is based around the idea that breadcrumbs are a concern of the view, so you define a set of breadcrumbs in config/breadcrumbs.rb (or multiple files; see below) and specify in the view which breadcrumb to use. Gretel also supports semantic breadcrumbs (those used in Google results).

Have fun!


In your Gemfile:

gem "gretel"

And run:

$ bundle install


Start by generating breadcrumbs configuration file:

$ rails generate gretel:install

Then, in config/breadcrumbs.rb:

# Root crumb
crumb :root do
  link "Home", root_path

# Issue list
crumb :issues do
  link "All issues", issues_path

# Issue
crumb :issue do |issue|
  link issue.title, issue
  parent :issues

At the top of app/views/issues/show.html.erb, set the current breadcrumb (assuming you have loaded @issue with an issue):

<% breadcrumb :issue, @issue %>

Then, in app/views/layouts/application.html.erb:

<%= breadcrumbs pretext: "You are here: ",
                separator: " &rsaquo; " %>

This will generate the following HTML (indented for readability):

<div class="breadcrumbs">
  <span class="pretext">You are here:</span>
  <a href="/">Home</a> &rsaquo;
  <a href="/issues">All issues</a> &rsaquo;
  <span class="current">My Issue</span>


You can pass options to <%= breadcrumbs %>, e.g. <%= breadcrumbs pretext: "You are here: " %>:

Option Description Default
:style How to render the breadcrumbs. Can be :inline, :ol, :ul, or :bootstrap. See below for more info. :inline
:pretext Text to be rendered before breadcrumb, e.g. "You are here: ". None
:posttext Text to be appended after breadcrumb, e.g. "Text after breacrumb", None
:separator Separator between links, e.g. " &rsaquo; ". " &rsaquo; "
:autoroot Whether it should automatically link to the :root crumb if no parent is given. True
:display_single_fragment Whether it should display the breadcrumb if it includes only one link. False
:link_current Whether the current crumb should be linked to. False
:link_current_to_request_path Whether the current crumb should always link to the current request path. Note: This option will have no effect unless :link_current is set to true. True
:semantic Whether it should generate semantic breadcrumbs. False
:id ID for the breadcrumbs container. None
:class CSS class for the breadcrumbs container. Can be set to nil for no class. "breadcrumbs"
:fragment_class CSS class for the fragment link or span. Can be set to nil for no class. None
:current_class CSS class for the current link or span. Can be set to nil for no class. "current"
:pretext_class CSS class for the pretext, if given. Can be set to nil for no class. "pretext"
:posttext_class CSS class for the posttext, if given. Can be set to nil for no class. "posttext"
:link_class CSS class for the link, if given. Can be set to nil for no class. None
:container_tag Tag type that contains the breadcrumbs. :div
:fragment_tag Tag type to contain each breadcrumb fragment/link. None
:aria_current Value of aria-current attribute. None
:link_data Adds data attributes to breadcrumb nil


These are the styles you can use with breadcrumbs style: :xx.

Style Description
:inline Default. Renders each link by itself with &rsaquo; as the seperator.
:ol Renders the links in <li> elements contained in an outer <ol>.
:ul Renders the links in <li> elements contained in an outer <ul>.
:bootstrap Renders the links for use in Bootstrap v3.
:bootstrap4 Renders the links for use in Bootstrap v4.
:bootstrap5 Renders the links for use in Bootstrap v5.
:foundation5 Renders the links for use in Foundation 5.

Or you can build the breadcrumbs manually for full customization; see below.

If you add other widely used styles, please submit a Pull Request so others can use them too.

More examples

In config/breadcrumbs.rb:

# Root crumb
crumb :root do
  link "Home", root_path

# Regular crumb
crumb :projects do
  link "Projects", projects_path

# Parent crumbs
crumb :project_issues do |project|
  link "Issues", project_issues_path(project)
  parent project # inferred to :project

# Child
crumb :issue do |issue|
  link, issue_path(issue)
  parent :project_issues, issue.project

# Recursive parent categories
crumb :category do |category|
  link, category
  if category.parent
    parent category.parent # inferred to :category
    parent :categories

# Product crumb with recursive parent categories (as defined above)
crumb :product do |product|
  link, product
  parent product.category # inferred to :category

# Crumb with multiple links
crumb :test do
  link "One", one_path
  link "Two", two_path
  parent :about

# Example of using params to alter the parent, e.g. to
# match the user's actual navigation path
# URL: /products/123?q=my+search
crumb :search do |keyword|
  link "Search for #{keyword}", search_path(q: keyword)

crumb :product do |product|
  if keyword = params[:q].presence
    parent :search, keyword
  else # default
    parent product.category # inferred to :category

# Multiple arguments
crumb :multiple_test do |a, b, c|
  link "Test #{a}, #{b}, #{c}", test_path
  parent :other_test, 3, 4, 5

# Breadcrumb without link URL; will not generate a link
crumb :without_link do
  link "Breadcrumb without link"

# Breadcrumb using view helper
module UsersHelper
  def user_name_for(user)

crumb :user do |user|
  link user_name_for(user), user

# I18n
crumb :home do
  link t("breadcrumbs.home"), root_path

Building the breadcrumbs manually

You can use the breadcrumbs method directly as an array. It will return an array with the breadcrumb links so you can build the breadcrumbs HTML manually:

<% breadcrumbs.tap do |links| %>
  <% if links.any? %>
    You are here:
    <% links.each do |link| %>
      <%= link_to link.text, link.url, class: (link.current? ? "current" : nil) %> (<%= link.key %>)
    <% end %>
  <% end %>
<% end %>

If you use this approach, you lose the built-in semantic breadcrumb functionality. One way to add them back is to use JSON-LD structured data:

<script type="application/ld+json">
  <%= breadcrumbs.structured_data(url_base: "") %>

Or, you can infer url_base from request:

<script type="application/ld+json">
  <%= breadcrumbs.structured_data(url_base: "#{request.protocol}#{request.host_with_port}") %>

Getting the parent breadcrumb

If you want to add a link to the parent breadcrumb, you can use the parent_breadcrumb view helper. By default it returns a link instance that has the properties #key, #text, and #url. You can supply options like autoroot: false etc.

If you supply a block, it will yield the link if it is present:

<% parent_breadcrumb do |link| %>
  <%= link_to "Back to #{link.text}", link.url %>
<% end %>

Nice to know

Access to view methods

When configuring breadcrumbs inside a crumb :xx do ... end block, you have access to all methods that are normally accessible in the view where the breadcrumbs are inserted. This includes your view helpers, params, request, etc.

Using multiple breadcrumb configuration files

If you have a large site and you want to split your breadcrumbs configuration over multiple files, you can create a folder named config/breadcrumbs and put your configuration files (e.g. products.rb or frontend.rb) in there. The format is the same as config/breadcrumbs.rb which is also loaded.

Loading breadcrumbs from engines

Breadcrumbs are automatically loaded from any engines' config/breadcrumbs.rb and config/breadcrumbs/**/*.rb. Breadcrumbs defined in your main app will override breadcrumbs from engines.

Inferring breadcrumbs

Breadcrumbs can be automatically inferred if you pass an instance of an object that responds to model_name (like an ActiveRecord model instance).

For example:

<% breadcrumb @product %>

is short for

<% breadcrumb :product, @product %>

You can pass options to links to be used when you render breadcrumbs manually.

In config/breadcrumbs.rb:

crumb :something do
  link "My Link", my_path, title: "My Title", other: "My Other Option"

Example methods you can then use in the view:

breadcrumbs do |links|
  links.each do |link|
    link.title?              # => true
    link.title               # => "My Title"
    link.other?              # => true
    link.other               # => "My Other Option"
    link.nonexisting_option? # => false
    link.nonexisting_option  # => nil

ARIA support

You can improve the accessibility of your page with the markup that specified in ARIA. Gretel supports generating aria-current attribute:

<% breadcrumb :issue, @issue %>
<%= breadcrumbs aria_current: "page" %>

This will generate the following HTML (indented for readability):

<div class="breadcrumbs">
  <a href="/">Home</a> &rsaquo;
  <a href="/issues">All issues</a> &rsaquo;
  <span class="current" aria-current="page">My Issue</span>



Follows semantic versioning.


You are very welcome to help improve Gretel if you have suggestions for features that other people can use.

To contribute:

  1. Fork the project
  2. Create your feature branch (git checkout -b my-new-feature)
  3. Make your changes
  4. Add/Fix tests
  5. Prepare database for testing: cd spec/dummy; rake db:migrate; rake db:test:prepare; cd ../..
  6. Run rake to make sure all tests pass
  7. Be sure to check in the changes to coverage/coverage.txt
  8. Commit your changes (git commit -am 'Add new feature')
  9. Push to the branch (git push origin my-new-feature)
  10. Create new pull request



Gretel was created by @lassebunk and was maintained by @WilHall. And it is maintained by @kzkn.

See the list of contributors

And then

After using Gretel, you'll be like this

Have fun!

Copyright (c) 2010-2020 Lasse Bunk, released under the MIT license