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A wonderfully simple way to load your code.

Tired of futzing around with require statements everywhere, littering your code with require File.dirname(__FILE__) crap? What if you could just point something at a big directory full of code and have everything just automagically load regardless of the dependency structure?

Wouldn't that be nice? Well, now you can!


Add this line to your application's Gemfile:

gem 'require_all'

And then execute:

$ bundle

Or install it yourself as:

$ gem install require_all


require 'require_all'

# load all ruby files in the directory "lib" and its subdirectories
require_all 'lib'

# or load all files by using glob
require_all 'lib/**/*.rb'

# or load files in an Array
require_all Dir.glob("blah/**/*.rb").reject { |f| stupid_file? f }

# or load manually specified files
require_all 'lib/a.rb', 'lib/b.rb', 'lib/c.rb', 'lib/d.rb'

You can also load files relative to the current file by using require_rel:

# Instead of
require File.dirname(__FILE__) + '/foobar'

# you can do simply like this
require_rel 'foobar'

You can give all the same argument types to the require_rel as for require_all.

It is recommended to use require_rel instead of require_all since it will require files relatively to the current file (__FILE__) as opposed to loading files relative from the working directory.

load_all and load_rel methods also exist to use Kernel#load instead of Kernel#require!

The proper order to in which to load files is determined automatically for you.

It's just that easy! Code loading shouldn't be hard.


This library also includes methods for performing autoload - what a bargain!

Similar syntax is used as for require_(all|rel) and load_(all|rel) methods with some caveats:

  • Directory and file names have to reflect namespaces and/or constant names:
# lib/dir1/dir2/my_file.rb
module Dir1
  module Dir2
    class MyFile

# lib/loader.rb
autoload_all File.dirname(__FILE__) + "/dir1"
  • A base_dir option has to be specified if loading directories or files from some other location than top-level directory:
# lib/dir1/other_file.rb
autoload_all File.dirname(__FILE__) + "/dir2/my_file.rb",
             :base_dir => File.dirname(__FILE__) + "/../dir1"
  • All namespaces will be created dynamically by autoload_all - this means that defined?(Dir1) will return "constant" even if my_file.rb is not yet loaded!

Of course there's also an autoload_rel method:

autoload_rel "dir2/my_file.rb", :base_dir => File.dirname(__FILE__) + "/../dir1"

If having some problems with autoload_all or autoload_rel then set $DEBUG=true to see how files are mapped to their respective modules and classes.

Methodology (except for autoload_all|rel)

  • Enumerate the files to be loaded
  • Try to load all of the files. If we encounter a NameError loading a particular file, store that file in a "try to load it later" list.
  • If all the files loaded, great, we're done! If not, go through the "try to load it later" list again rescuing NameError the same way.
  • If we walk the whole "try to load it later" list and it doesn't shrink at all, we've encountered an unresolvable dependency. In this case, require_all will rethrow the first NameError it encountered.

Questions? Comments? Concerns?

You can reach the author on github or by email [email protected]


Jarmo Pertman

MIT (see the LICENSE file for details)