Extending With Your Own Code

Beyond very simple logic, you'll want to write your own ruby code, organize it in files other than traject config files, but then use it in traject config files.

You might want to have code local to your traject project; or you might want to use ruby gems to share code between projects and developers. A given project may use both of these techniques.

Here are some suggestions for how to do this, along with mention of a couple traject features meant to make it easier.

Expert Summary

  • Load Path options:
    • Traject -I argument command line can be used to list directories to add to the load path, similar to the ruby -I argument. You can then 'require' local project files from the load path.
    • Modify the ruby $LOAD_PATH manually at the top of a traject config file you are loading.
    • NOTE: translation map files in a "./translation_maps" subdir on the load path will be available for to traject.
  • You can use Bundler with traject simply by creating a Gemfile with bundler init, and then running command line with bundle exec traject or even BUNDLE_GEMFILE=path/to/Gemfile bundle exec traject

Custom code local to your project

You might want local translation maps, or local ruby code. Here's a standard recommended way you might lay out this extra code in the file system, using a 'lib' directory kept next to your traject config files:

- my_traject/
  * config_file.rb
  - lib/
    * my_macros.rb
    * my_utility.rb
    - translation_maps/
      * my_map.yaml

The my_macros.rb file might contain a simple macro in a module called MyMacros.

The my_utility.rb file might contain, say, a module of utility methods, MyUtility.some_utility, etc.

To refer to ruby code from another file, we use the standard ruby require statement to bring in the files:

# config_file.rb

require 'my_macros'
require 'my_utility'

# Now that MyMacros is available, extend it into the indexer,
# and use it:

extend MyMacros

to_field "title", my_some_macro

# And likewise, we can use our utility methods:

to_field "title" do |record, accumulator, context|
  accumulator << MyUtility.some_utility(record)

But wait! This won't work yet. Becuase ruby won't be able to find the file in requires 'my_macros'. To fix that, we want to add our local lib directory to the ruby $LOAD_PATH, a standard ruby feature.

Traject provides a way for you to add to the load path from the traject command line, the -I flag:

traject -I ./lib -c ./config_file.rb ...

Or, you can hard-code a $LOAD_PATH change directly in your config file. You'll have to use some weird looking ruby code to create a file path relative to the current file (the config_file.rb), and then make sure it's an absolute path. (Should we add a traject utility method for this?)

# at top of config_file.rb...

$LOAD_PATH.unshift File.expand_path(File.join(File.dirname(__FILE__), './lib'))

That's pretty much it!

What about that translation map? The $LOAD_PATH modification took care of that too, the Traject::TranslationMap will look up translation map definition files in a ./translation_maps subdir on the load path, as in ./lib/translation_maps in this case.

Using gems in your traject project

If there is certain logic that is common between (traject or other) projects, it makes sense to put it in a ruby gem.

We won't go into detail about creating ruby gems, but we do recomend you use the bundle gem my_gem_name command to create a skeleton of your gem (one tutorial here). This will also make available rake commands to install your gem locally (rake install), or release it to the rubygems server (rake release).

There are two main methods to use a gem in your traject project: with straight rubygems, or with bundler.

without bundler (straight rubygems):

Without bundler may be simpler, at least at first. Simply gem install some_gem from the command line, and now you can require that gem in your traject config file, and use what it provides:


require 'some_gem'


A gem can provide traject translation map definitions in a lib/translation_maps sub-directory, and traject will be able to find those translation maps when the gem is loaded (because gems' ./lib directories are by default added to the ruby load path).

with bundler:

If you move your traject project to another system, where you haven't yet installed the some_gem, then running traject with the above config file will, of course, fail. Or if you move your traject project to another system with a slightly different version of some_gem, your traject indexing could behave differently in confusing ways. As the number of gems you are using increases, managing the gems and gem versions gets increasingly confusing.

bundler was invented to make this kind of dependency management in ruby more straightforward and reliable. We recommend you consider using bundler, especially for traject installations where traject will be run via automated batch jobs on production servers.

Bundler's behavior is based on a Gemfile that lists your project dependencies. You can create a starter skeleton by running bundler init, probably in the directory right next to your traject config files.

Then specify what gems your traject project will use, possibly with version restrictions, in the Gemfile

Be sure to include gem 'traject' in the Gemfile.

Run bundle install from the directory with the Gemfile, on any system at any time, to make sure specified gems are installed. (The bundler gem must be already installed on the system.)

Run traject with bundle exec to have bundler set up the traject environment from your Gemfile. You can cd into the directory containing the Gemfile, so bundler can find it:

$ cd /some/where
$ bundle exec traject -c some_traject_config.rb ...

Or you can use the BUNDLE_GEMFILE environment variable to tell bundler where to find the Gemfile, and run from any directory at all:

$ BUNDLE_GEMFILE=/path/to/Gemfile bundle exec traject -c /path/to/some_config.rb ...

Bundler will make sure the specified versions of all gems are used by traject, and also make sure no gems except those specified in the gemfile are available to the program, for a reliable reproducible environment.

You still need to require the gem in your traject config file; then just refer to what it provides in your config code as usual.

You should check both the Gemfile and the Gemfile.lock that bundler creates into your source control repo. The Gemfile.lock specifies exactly what versions of gem dependencies are currently being used, so you can get the exact same dependency environment on different servers.

See the bundler documentation, or google, for more information.