Redis::Attrs - Add attributes to Ruby classes backed by Redis

Code Climate

This gem is an amalgamation of the ideas found within the redis_props and redis-objects gems, plus a few new ideas here and there. It provides a way to define, on any Ruby class, some attributes that are backed by Redis behind the curtain.

Here are some of the characteristics that define this library:

  • Easy to integrate directly with existing ORMs - ActiveRecord, DataMapper, etc.
  • Not confined to ORMs. Use it in whatever Ruby classes you want.
  • It does work better with ORMs because it requires each object to provide a unique id identifying it, something already provided by most ORMs out of the box.
  • Supports scalar value types, as well as more complex value types such as collection types, counters and locks.
  • Integers are returned as integers, rather than '17'. The same holds for dates, times, floats, etc.
  • Collection types can be assigned a Ruby-style collection to set their whole content at once, resetting whatever content there was in the Redis key.
  • The user can add support for more scalar data types with no built-in support.


Add this line to your application's Gemfile:

gem 'redis-attrs'

And then execute:

$ bundle

Or install it yourself as:

$ gem install redis-attrs

Setting up the connection

You can include some of the following code snippets at the beginning of your app or script. In case you're using Rails, you can use an initializer.

# Standard connection
Redis::Attrs.redis =

# Connection with specific parameters
Redis::Attrs.redis = 'hostname', port: 8888, password: 'secret')

# You can even use a redis namespace
Redis::Attrs.redis ="blah", redis:


Start by defining some attributes on your class:

class Film
  include Redis::Attrs
  redis_attrs :title => :string, :length => :integer
  redis_attrs :released_on => :date, :cast => :list

  # Remember that the objects need an id for this to work
  attr_reader :id
  def initialize(id)
    @id = id

  def presentation_title
    "#{title} (#{released_on.year})"

Then you can use those attributes as you would regularly, but internally they are reading from and writing to Redis.

>> film =
>> film.title = "Argo"
>> film.released_on = "2012-10-12"
>> puts film.presentation_title
Argo (2012)
>> puts film.cast.size
>> film.cast = ["Ben Affleck", "Alan Arkin", "Brian Cranston"]
>> puts film.cast.size
>> puts film.cast[-3]
Ben Affleck

Redis::Attrs will work on any class that provides an id method that returns a unique value. Redis::Attrs will automatically create keys that are unique to each object, in the format class_name:id:attr_name.

Supported types

Redis::Attrs supports the following scalar types: string, integer, float, boolean, date and time. These are automatically serialized and deserialized when written to and read from Redis.

In addition, the library also supports some collection types and a couple other non-scalar types: list, hash, set, sorted_set, counter and lock. These are all implemented using the redis-objects gem, each type handled by a class that encapsulate all Redis logic around them.

Defining new scalar types

In addition to the predefined scalar types listed above, the user can define its own scalar types, by subclassing Redis::Attrs::Scalar and defining how to serialize and deserialize its values.

The following example defines a data-type that stores its values serialized as JSON. The serialize and deserialize methods define how this process is done. After registering the type with Redis::Attrs, a new attribute is added to the class Film defined above.

class JSONScalar < Redis::Attrs::Scalar
  def serialize(value)

  def deserialize(value)

Redis::Attrs.register_type(:json, JSONScalar)

class Film
  redis_attrs :director => :json

After the definitions above, more complex data structures could be stored as a single scalar value, by being serialized as JSON.

>> film =
>> film.director = { "first_name" => "Ben", "last_name" => "Affleck" }
>> puts Redis::Attrs.redis.get("film:1:director")

Attribute configuration options

The complex attribute types support some configuration options, mostly specific to each type. When an attribute needs to be configured with some of these options, then it must be declared with the singular version of the method redis_attrs, like below:

redis_attr :crawl, :lock, :expiration => 15.minutes
redis_attr :cast, :list, :marshal => true

For more details about the supported configuration options for each of the complex data types, please refer to the redis-objects gem.

Filtering collection values

There's an attribute configuration option for lists and sets, the :filter option, that allows the user to define a function that will modify the items upon insertion into the collection.

class Film
  redis_attr :genres, :set, :filter => lambda { |v| v.strip.downcase.gsub(/\s+/, ' ') }

After the above declaration we could do:

>> film =
>> film.genres = ["Action ", "  drama", "film   Noir", "Drama", "Film noir "]
>> puts film.genres.members.sort
["action", "drama", "film noir"]


  1. Fork it
  2. Create your feature branch (git checkout -b my-new-feature)
  3. Commit your changes (git commit -am 'Add some feature')
  4. Push to the branch (git push origin my-new-feature)
  5. Create new Pull Request