An easy way to use ActiveRecord "off the rails." Works with Grape, Sinatra, plain old Rack, or even in a boring little script! The defaults are all very Railsy (config/database.yml, db/seeds.rb, db/migrate, etc.), but you can easily change them. (Formerly known as grape-activerecord.) Supports:

  • ActiveRecord 7.0 (new AR features, like encryption, not tested)
  • ActiveRecord 6.x
  • ActiveRecord 5.x
  • ActiveRecord 4.2

How to use

1. Add it to your Gemfile

gem "otr-activerecord"

2. Configure your database connection

After loading your gems, tell OTR::ActiveRecord about your database config using one of the following examples:

OTR::ActiveRecord.configure_from_file! "config/database.yml"
OTR::ActiveRecord.configure_from_url! ENV['DATABASE_URL'] # e.g. postgres://user:pass@host/db
OTR::ActiveRecord.configure_from_hash!(adapter: "postgresql", host: "localhost", database: "db", username: "user", password: "pass", encoding: "utf8", pool: 10, timeout: 5000)

Important note: configure_from_file! won't work as expected if you have already DATABASE_URL set as part of your environment variables. This is because in ActiveRecord when that env variable is set it will merge its properties into the current connection configuration.

3. Connect to your database(s)

If you have a single database (most apps), use this helper:


If you're using multiple databases, call your base class(es) instead:

MyBase.establish_connection :primary
MyBase.establish_connection :primary_replica

4. Enable middleware for Rack apps

Add these middlewares in config.ru:

# Clean up database connections after every request (required)
use OTR::ActiveRecord::ConnectionManagement

# Enable ActiveRecord's QueryCache for every request (optional)
use OTR::ActiveRecord::QueryCache

5. Import ActiveRecord tasks into your Rakefile

This will give you most of the standard db: tasks you get in Rails. Add it to your Rakefile.

require "bundler/setup"
load "tasks/otr-activerecord.rake"

namespace :db do
  # Some db tasks require your app code to be loaded; they'll expect to find it here
  task :environment do
    require_relative "app"

Unlike in Rails, creating a new migration is also a rake task. Run bundle exec rake -T to get a full list of tasks.

bundle exec rake db:create_migration[create_widgets]


Look under /examples for some example apps.

Advanced options

The defaults for db-related files like migrations, seeds, and fixtures are the same as Rails. If you want to override them, use the following options in your Rakefile:

OTR::ActiveRecord.db_dir = 'db'
OTR::ActiveRecord.migrations_paths = ['db/migrate']
OTR::ActiveRecord.fixtures_path = 'test/fixtures'
OTR::ActiveRecord.seed_file = 'seeds.rb'


Licensed under the MIT License

Copyright 2016 Jordan Hollinger