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Alessandro Rodi
Alessandro Rodi

Posted on • Updated on

Rails 7, Bootstrap 5 and importmaps without nodejs

Our goal: remove nodejs

As many other people in the Rails community, I started setting up brand new Rails 7 projects, and I need to re-learn, at least partially, how to bundle the assets and distribute them.

I never fell in love with TailwindCSS, and therefore I usually setup my Rails apps to use Bootstrap as default.

But what I really like about Rails 7, is the idea of being able to get rid of not only webpack, but of nodejs entirely. The new importmaps feature is really appealing to me and I'd like to use it as long as I don't need to bundle my javascript.

I have to say that esbuild does already a pretty cool job compared to webpack to simplify our lives, and make the process faster, but as long as I don't need bundling, I'd like to not have a package.json file and being dependent on nodejs for my Rails app.

A pure and simple sprockets + importmaps app with no Foreman, no bin/dev, no yarn build --watch stuff.

Bootstrap is made of two parts: CSS and javascript. So I want to use importmaps for the javascript part and rely on sprockets for the CSS compilation from SCSS.

Rails default

By default, Rails 7 provides a new option --css=bootstrap,
but with my great surprise, this option adds both jsbundling-rails, cssbundling-rails, a package.json and esbuild.

Not as expected. Not what I want.

How to configure Rails and Bootstrap without nodejs

Default is not what I want, but I can still reach the goal and here I'll explain how:

Stick with just rails new myapp
This will setup exactly the tools I want: sprockets and importmaps. It will also setup automatically for me stimulus and turbo, which is great because I use them most of the time anyway.

Add bootstrap gem and enable the gem sassc-rails in the Gemfile. This will allow us to compile bootstrap from SCSS without node.

You can simply import Bootstrap styles in app/assets/stylesheets/application.scss:

// here your custom bootstrap variables...
@import "bootstrap";
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That's it for the CSS part. Running rails assets:precompile will generate what you want.

For the javascript part we need to do three things:

  • Precompile the bootstrap.min.js that comes with the gem, by adding to config/initializers/assets.rb
Rails.application.config.assets.precompile += %w( bootstrap.min.js popper.js )
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  • pin the compiled asset in config/importmap.rb:
pin "popper", to: 'popper.js', preload: true
pin "bootstrap", to: 'bootstrap.min.js', preload: true
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  • Include bootstrap in your app/javascript/application.js:
import "popper"
import "bootstrap"
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I prefer this approach rather than pinning a CDN because we avoid diverging versions of Bootstrap.

Conclusion

This is all you need to have Bootstrap fully working on Rails 7 without using node.

If you like this guide you can follow me on Twitter.

Top comments (32)

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hashmaster3k profile image
Hashim G

Great write up Alessandro. What I don't understand is if import maps loads libraries via CDN, why is the Bootstrap gem still needed? You could load Bootstrap straight into the header without all this hassle.

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coorasse profile image
Alessandro Rodi

Hi Hashim,
yes, correct. You could load Bootstrap Javascript part through CDN, but you would still need the gem to use the SCSS stylesheets and customise it. Now, since you have the gem, I think is wise to use also the JS wrapped within the gem, so that you don't risk having divergent versions (one from CDN and one from the Gem).
Of course, if you don't need to customise bootstrap, then you can load everything from CDN.

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indikaimk profile image
indikaimk

Tried the whole day to get Bootstrap working with Rails 7.
This method works awesome.

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b1naryman profile image
b1naryMan

Excellent and helpful article. Thanks Alessandro

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duarme profile image
Duccio Armenise

Thanks bro.

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mtnbiker profile image
Greg S

Thank you. Clears up a lot of confusion. The dependancies and/or defaults of the Rails 7 options aren't clear.

Another confusion for me. Is Sprockets the way forward or?

Probably would help if you showed all your changed or added code. Would help avoid the confusion @ochupa faced.

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jmschp profile image
Miguel Hargreaves Pimenta • Edited on

Hey!

I think this could be made simpler.
I believe the bootstrap-rubygem already injects in the assets throughs sprockets the bootstrap.min.js and SCSS files, and also the poper.js through the dependency popper_js-rubygem.

So, in terms of the JS files, all we need to do, after bundeling the bootstrap-rubygem, is import them in the application.js

import "./popper";
import "./bootstrap.min";
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I have this working in development.

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jusko profile image
jusko

Thanks. This is simpler.

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linediconsine profile image
Marco A.

In application.js :

import "popper"
import "bootstrap"
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give this error for me on browser :

GET http://127.0.0.1:3000/assets/popper net::ERR_ABORTED 404 (Not Found)

GET http://127.0.0.1:3000/assets/bootstrap net::ERR_ABORTED 404 (Not Found)

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full error log:

GET http://127.0.0.1:3000/assets/bootstrap net::ERR_ABORTED 404 (Not Found)
VM167 application-afa54e21226316d7c1dc5bb51d77586423db47a2adf4ce6a3fc09888e5eda505.js:2 Uncaught SyntaxError: Cannot use import statement outside a module (at VM167 application-afa54e21226316d7c1dc5bb51d77586423db47a2adf4ce6a3fc09888e5eda505.js:2:1)
application-afa54e21226316d7c1dc5bb51d77586423db47a2adf4ce6a3fc09888e5eda505.js:2 Uncaught SyntaxError: Cannot use import statement outside a module (at application-afa54e21226316d7c1dc5bb51d77586423db47a2adf4ce6a3fc09888e5eda505.js:2:1)
application-afa54e21226316d7c1dc5bb51d77586423db47a2adf4ce6a3fc09888e5eda505.js:2          GET http://127.0.0.1:3000/assets/popper net::ERR_ABORTED 404 (Not Found)
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linediconsine profile image
Marco A.

I miss the

bundle add bootstrap

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henryxz profile image
Hernaldo Jesus Henriquez Nuñez • Edited on

Hi, I tried this but the CSS is not working. I get this error from the browser console:

The stylesheet localhost:3000/assets/bootstrap was not loaded because its MIME type, “application/javascript”, is not “text/css”.
Uncaught TypeError: Error resolving module specifier “application”. Relative module specifiers must start with “./”, “../” or “/”.
^^ Module TypeError above is polyfilled and can be ignored ^^ es-module-shims.js:34:12

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henryxz profile image
Hernaldo Jesus Henriquez Nuñez

seems like the @import "bootstrap" call inside application.css is importing the bootstrap javascript, because in Style editor of Firefox, I see a bootstrap file that is just javascript

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henryxz profile image
Hernaldo Jesus Henriquez Nuñez

ok, seems like I needed to rename "application.css" to "application.scss"

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ochupa profile image
ochupa • Edited on

Hey Alessandro, I'm trying to add 'bootstrap-rails' gem but getting error - Could not find gem 'bootstrap-rails' in rubygems repository rubygems.org/ or installed locally.
Could help with the proper name of bootstrap gem?

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janisleuenberger profile image
Janis Leuenberger

I think he is talking about github.com/twbs/bootstrap-rubygem. Therefore the gem name is just 'bootstrap'.
Correct me if I'm wrong.

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jusko profile image
jusko

Thanks for a helpful, concise post.

  • Can confirm this comment to be correct and didn't need precompile the javascripts in config/initializers/assets.rb.
  • As I'm stuck on Bootstrap 4, I experienced problems with jquery and also struggled to get the popper.js bundled with the bootstrap (@4.5) gem to work.

  • Solved using the following pins (the CDN for jquery is important as mentioned on SO above):

pin 'jquery', to: 'https://cdn.jsdelivr.net/npm/jquery@3.6.1/dist/jquery.js', preload: true
pin 'popper.js', to: 'https://ga.jspm.io/npm:popper.js@1.16.1/dist/umd/popper.js', preload: true
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eliblocks profile image
Eli Block • Edited on

Thanks for the guide! I believe it should be

pin "@popperjs/core", to: 'popper.js', preload: true
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jmschp profile image
Miguel Hargreaves Pimenta

Actually it's not. The bootstrap gem dependes on the popper_js gem

Bootstrap tooltips and popovers depend on popper.js for positioning. The bootstrap gem already depends on the popper_js gem.

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skrobul profile image
Marek Skrobacki

Don't think this really "works without node" - bootstrap gem does not work if there is no execjs runtime (just try removing executable permission from your NodeJS installation on the system) because autoprefixer needs it. Is there some magic way to force it to use something else?

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coorasse profile image
Alessandro Rodi

Good point! Yes, you can also use another runtime: github.com/ai/autoprefixer-rails#u...

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matiasalbarello profile image
Matias Albarello

First of all, thanks Alessandro. It's clear and gets direct to the point. Unfortunately, I couldn't make it work. I created a new project to test this out and followed exactly the steps described here. After that, I've added a simple navbar from Bootstrap examples, that contains a dropdown (making it need bootstrap.js). The styles look good but the dropdown doesn't work. Here the repo if anybody wants to take a look and have an idea on what's wrong: github.com/matiasalbarello/test-im...
If anybody has a working example would be great! Please share if so :)

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matiasalbarello profile image
Matias Albarello

In case it helps someone: I was using the wrong navbar example from bootstrap page (using from version 4 instead of 5). Also found that these steps are followed in this app template: railsbytes.com/public/templates/V2...

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jepzen profile image
Jeppe B. Svendsen

Nice. I had to run the rails assets:precompile after adding javascript part as well to get it to work.

Question: Can i just rename the 'application.css' to 'application.scss' (I did and it seems ok but should i think of anything else when doing so?)

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chmich profile image
Christian Sedlmair

Questions: Importmap does not bundle or build compiled javascript, thus, jsx, by example, is not working. Until now i havent used react in rails, for my current needs it would be enough, but the day may come.

As i understood, you have to decide which rail you choose: you cannot use importmap and add Shakapacker or jsbundling later for using it alongside importmap.

How do you think?

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