Tennpipes (tennpipes-base)

Tennpipes is the framework based on Sinatra.


Tennpipes is a ruby framework built upon the excellent Sinatra Microframework. Sinatra is a DSL for creating simple web applications in Ruby with speed and minimal effort. This framework tries hard to make it as fun and easy as possible to code much more advanced web applications by building upon the Sinatra philosophies and foundation.


Many people love Sinatra's simplicity and lightweight but often quickly come to miss a great deal of functionality provided by other web frameworks such as Rails when building non-trivial applications.

Our goal with this framework is to match the essence of Sinatra and at the same time create a standard library of tools, helpers and components that will make Sinatra suitable for more complex applications.

Here is a brief overview of functionality provided by the Tennpipes framework:


Full support for many popular testing, templating, mocking, and data storage choices.


Create Tennpipes applications, models, controllers i.e: tennpipes-init project.


Unlike other ruby frameworks, principally designed for mounting multiple apps.


Full url named routes, named params, before/after filter support.

Tag Helpers

View helpers such as: tag, content_tag, input_tag.

Asset Helpers

View helpers such as: link_to, image_tag, javascript_include_tag.

Form Helpers

Builder support such as: form_tag, form_for, field_set_tag, text_field.

Text Helpers

Useful formatting like: time_ago_in_words, js_escape_html, sanitize_html.


Fast and simple delivery support for sending emails (akin to ActionMailer).


Builtin Admin interface (like Django)


Provide a unified logger that can interact with your ORM or any library.


Automatically reloads server code during development.


Full support of I18n language localization and can auto-set user's locale.

Keep in mind, the user will be able to pull in these components seperately into existing Sinatra applications or use them altogether for a comprehensive upgrade to Sinatra (a full-stack Tennpipes application).


To install the tennpipes framework, simply grab the latest version from gemcutter:

$ sudo gem install tennpipes

This will install the necessary tennpipes gems to get you started. Now you are ready to use this gem to enhance your sinatra projects or to create new Tennpipes applications.

For a more detailed look at Tennpipes installation, check out the Installation Guide.


Tennpipes is a framework which builds on the existing functionality and Sinatra and provides a variety of additional tools and helpers to build upon that foundation. This README and Tennpipes documentation in general will focus on the enhancements to the core Sinatra functionality. To use Tennpipes, one should be familiar with the basic usage of Sinatra itself.

Please check out the Understanding Sinatra guide to learn more about these fundamentals.

For information on how to use a specific gem in isolation within an existing Sinatra project, checkout the guide for Using Tennpipes in Sinatra.

Getting Started

Once a developer understands Sinatra, Tennpipes is quite easy to get comfortable with since Tennpipes is simply a superset of existing Sinatra Functionality! Best way to get started with building Tennpipes applications is to read following resources:

Enhanced Base Application (tennpipes-base)

Sinatra has support for classes which can be extended to create an application: Sinatra::Base and Sinatra::Application These classes can be extended in order to create a Sinatra web application. These classes provide support for all the basic functionality afforded by Sinatra.

Tennpipes has support for an enhanced base application class Tennpipes::Application. Tennpipes::Application expands the capabilities of Sinatra::Application and automatically provides the resulting application access to all of the tennpipes framework's functionalities.

Simple Application Definition

Let us first take a look at the simplest possible Tennpipes application:

# app.rb
TENNPIPES_ROOT = File.dirname(__FILE__) unless defined? TENNPIPES_ROOT
require 'tennpipes'

class SimpleApp < Tennpipes::Application
  get '/' do
    'Hello world'

  # and for read better we can divide with controllers
  controller '/admin' do
    get '/foo' do
      'Url is /admin/foo'

Enhanced Route Definitions and Controllers

For a complete overview of the Tennpipes routing and controller system, check out the Routing and Controller guide.

Suppose we wanted to add additional routes to our Tennpipes application, and we want to organize the routes within a more structured layout. Simply add a controllers or app/controllers folder and create a file as such:

# Simple Example
SimpleApp.controllers do
  get "/test" do
    "Text to return"

You can also do more complex route alias definitions:

# app/controllers/example.rb
SimpleApp.controllers :posts do
  get :index do

  get :show, :with => :id do
    # url generated is '/posts/show/:id'
    # access params[:id]

as well as mapping the route aliases to an explicit url:

# app/controllers/example.rb
SimpleApp.controllers do
  get :index, :map => '/index' do

  get :account, :map => '/the/accounts/:name/and/:id' do
    # access params[:name] and params[:index]

and even configure the provides for each route:

# app/controllers/example.rb
SimpleApp.controllers :admin do
  get :show, :with => :id, :provides => :js do
    "Url is /admin/show/#{params[:id]}.#{params[:format]}"

  get :other, :with => [:id, :name], :provides => [:html, :json] do
    case content_type
      when :js    then ... end
      when :json  then ... end

or auto lookup for current locale or content_type

# app/controllers/example.rb
SimpleApp.controllers :admin do
  get :show, :with => :id, :provides => [:html, :js] do
    render "admin/show"

When you visit :show and your I18n.locale == :ru Tennpipes try to look for “admin/show.ru.js.*” if nothing match that path they try “admin/show.ru.*” then “admin/show.js.*” if none match return “admin/show.erb” (or other engine i.e. haml)

For a complete overview of the routing and controller system, check out the Routing and Controller guide.


Unlike Sinatra, Tennpipes supports automatic template lookups such as:

# searches for 'account/index.{erb,haml,...}
render 'account/index'

This render does not require any template engine to be specified and will choose the first one that is discovered. The existing render function works as well if an engine type should be specified:

# example.haml render :haml, 'account/index'

For a complete overview of the Tennpipes rendering system, check out the Routing and Controller guide.


With Tennpipes you can (like rails do) use for your custom layout, disable it

class SimpleApp < Tennpipes::Application

  # Disable layouts
  disable layout

  # Use the layout located in views/layouts/custom.haml
  layout :custom

For a complete overview of the layout functionality, check out the Routing and Controller guide.

Mounting Applications

Tennpipes applications are all automatically mountable into other Tennpipes projects. This means that a given Tennpipes project directory can easily mount multiple applications. This allows for better organization of complex applications, re-usable applications that can be applied (i.e admin, auth, blog) and even more flexibility.

You can think of mountable applications as a 'full-featured' merb slice or rails engine. Instead of a separate construct, any application can simply be packaged and mounted into another project.

Tennpipes stores application mounting information by default within config/apps.rb. This file is intended to keep all information regarding what applications are mounted to which uri's.

For a complete look at mounting applications within a Tennpipes project, check out the guide on Mounting Applications.

Auto Load Paths

Tennpipes also intelligently supports requiring useful files within your application automatically and provides functionality for easily splitting up your application into separate files. Tennpipes automatically requires config/database.rb as a convention for establishing database connection. Also, any files within the lib folder will be required automatically by Tennpipes.

For a complete overview of auto-loaded paths within Tennpipes, check out the Tennpipes Development Guide.

Application Logging

Tennpipes also supports robust logging capabilities. By default, logging information will go to the STDOUT in development (for use in a console) and in an environment-specific log file log/development.log in test and production environments.

To use the logger within a Tennpipes application, simply refer to the logger method accessible within your app and any controller or views:

# controllers/example.rb
SimpleApp.controllers do
  get("/test") { logger.info "This is a test" }

For a complete overview of Tennpipes logger functionality, check out the Tennpipes Development Guide.

Development Reloader

Tennpipes applications also have the enabled ability to automatically reload all changing application files without the need to restart the server. Through the use of a customized Rack middleware, all files on the 'load path' are monitored and reloaded whenever changes are applied.

This makes rapid development much easier and provides a better alternative to 'shotgun' or 'rerun' which requires the application server to be restarted which makes requests take much longer to complete.

For a complete overview of code reloading in development, check out the Tennpipes Development Guide.

Terminal Commands

Tennpipes also comes equipped with multiple useful terminal commands which can be activated to perform common tasks such as starting / stopping the application, executing the unit tests or activating an irb session.

The following commands are available:

# starts the app server (non-daemonized)
$ tennpipes start
# starts the app server (daemonized) with given port, environment and adapter
$ tennpipes start -d -p 3000 -e development -a thin

# Stops a daemonized app server
$ tennpipes stop

# Bootup the Tennpipes console (irb)
$ tennpipes console

# Run/List tasks
$ tennpipes rake

You can also create custom rake tasks as well. Using these commands can simplify common tasks making development that much smoother.

For a complete overview of Tennpipes terminal commands, check out the Tennpipes Commands Guide.

Copyright © 2011-2013 Tennpipes. See LICENSE for details.