Seedbank allows you to structure your Rails seed data instead of having it all dumped into one large file. I find my seed data tended to fall into two categories:

  1. Stuff that the entire application requires.
  2. Stuff to populate my development and staging environments.

Seedbank assumes that your common seed data is kept under db/seeds and any directories under db/seeds/ are specific to an environment, so db/seeds/development contains all your development-only seed data.

The reason behind Seedbank is laziness. When I checkout or re-visit a project I don't want to mess around getting my environment setup I just want the code and a database loaded with data in a known state. Since the Rails core team were good enough to give us rake db:setup it would be rude not to use it.

rake db:setup  # Create the database, load the schema, and initialize with the seed data (use db:reset to also drop the db first)

To achieve this slothful aim, Seedbank renames the original db:seed rake task to db:seed:original, makes it a dependency for all the Seedbank seeds and adds a new db:seed task that loads all the common seeds in db/seeds plus all the seeds for the current Rails environment.


Seedbank seeds follow this structure;


This would generate the following Rake tasks

rake db:seed                    # Load the seed data from db/seeds.rb, db/seeds/*.seeds.rb and db/seeds/ENVIRONMENT/*.seeds.rb. ENVIRONMENT is the current environment in Rails.env.
rake db:seed:bar                # Load the seed data from db/seeds/bar.seeds.rb
rake db:seed:common             # Load the seed data from db/seeds.rb and db/seeds/*.seeds.rb.
rake db:seed:development        # Load the seed data from db/seeds.rb, db/seeds/*.seeds.rb and db/seeds/development/*.seeds.rb.
rake db:seed:development:users  # Load the seed data from db/seeds/development/users.seeds.rb
rake db:seed:original           # Load the seed data from db/seeds.rb

Therefore, assuming RAILS_ENV is not set or it is "development":

$ rake db:seed

will load the seeds in db/seeds.rb, db/seeds/bar.seeds.rb, db/seeds/foo.seeds.rb and db/seeds/development/users.seeds.rb. Whereas, setting the RAILS_ENV variable, like so:

$ RAILS_ENV=production rake db:seed

will load the seeds in db/seeds.rb, db/seeds/bar.seeds.rb and db/seeds/foo.seeds.rb.


Rails 5.x

Seedbank has not been updated to work with Rails 5. I've not tested it with 5.x and am working on a new version specifically for 5.x. That said, I believe some people are using it with no problems.

Rails 3.x and 4.x

Add the seedbank gem to your Gemfile. In Gemfile:

gem "seedbank"

That's it!

Rails 2.x

Add to your config/environment.rb

config.gem 'seedbank'

Install the gem:

$ rake gems:install

Or, if you're using Bundler:

$ bundle install

Then in the bottom of your application's Rakefile:

require 'seedbank'
Seedbank.load_tasks if defined?(Seedbank)

If you vendor the gem you'll need to change the require to the specific path.


Seeds files are just plain old Ruby executed in your rails application environment so anything you could type into the rails console will work in your seeds. Seeds files have to be named with the '.seeds.rb' extension.


Company.find_or_create_by_name('Hatch', :url => '' )

The seed files under db/seeds are run first in alphanumeric order followed by the ones in the db/seeds/RAILS_ENV. You can add dependencies to your seed files to enforce the run order. for example;


after :companies do
  company = Company.find_by_name('Hatch')
  company.users.create(:first_name => 'James', :last_name => 'McCarthy')


after :companies do
  company = Company.find_by_name('Hatch')
  company.projects.create(:title => 'Seedbank')


after :projects, :users do
  project = Project.find_by_name('Seedbank')
  user = User.find_by_first_name_and_last_name('James', 'McCarthy')
  project.tasks.create(:owner => user, :title => 'Document seed dependencies in the')

If the dependencies are in one of the environment folders, you need to namespace the parent task:


after "development:companies" do
  company = Company.find_by_name('Hatch')
  company.users.create(:first_name => 'James', :last_name => 'McCarthy')

Defining and using methods

As seed files are evaluated within blocks, methods need to be defined and used as per below:

class << self
  def create_user name
    user = User.where(name: name).first_or_create
    # ...

['Greg', 'Daniel'].each do |name|
  create_user name

Note - If you experience any errors like Don't know how to build task 'db:seed:users'. Ensure your specifying after 'development:companies' like the above example. This is the usual culprit (YMMV).


git log | grep Author | sort | uniq
  • Ahmad Sherif
  • Andy Triggs
  • Corey Purcell
  • James McCarthy
  • Joost Baaij
  • Justin Smestad
  • Peter Suschlik
  • Philip Arndt
  • Tim Galeckas
  • lulalala
  • pivotal-cloudplanner
  • vkill

Note on Patches/Pull Request

  • Fork the project.
  • Make your feature addition or bug fix.
  • Add tests for it. This is important so I don't break it in a future version unintentionally.
  • Commit, do not mess with rakefile, version, or history. (if you want to have your own version, that is fine but bump version in a commit by itself I can ignore it when I pull)
  • Send me a pull request. Bonus points for topic branches.


Copyright (c) 2011-2015 James McCarthy, released under the MIT license