Uploading multiple images with Ruby, Sinatra and Uploadify.

, ruby, web-dev, sinatra, uploadify

This is the finished product: screenshot example

I’m continuing off from this article where I describe how to just upload files in a Sinatra application.

We’ll move forward to now uploding multiple files. If you’ve been searching for this you may have come across uploadify.com

It’s a flash/jquery based plugin. I’ve used it in ancient times. Yes you may still flash to gracefully degrade if the browser isn’t all that new. However, they have a paid html5 version of their library. My code uses the free library.

Setup :

  • Install shotgun so you don’t have to reload your Sinatra app everytime you change/debug $ gem install shotgun
  • Download the free uploadify plugin : http://www.uploadify.com/download/
  • Extract the uploadify zip into a /public folder. Inside it put an /img folder, uplodify expects the cancel button image to come out of here.

Your directory should look like this:

[gideon@gideon-fedora image_manager]$ tree
├── img_mgr.rb
├── public
│   ├── img
│   │   └── uploadify-cancel.png
│   ├── jquery.uploadify.js
│   ├── jquery.uploadify.min.js
│   ├── license.txt
│   ├── uploadify.css
│   └── uploadify.swf
└── views
    └── form_multiple.erb

3 directories, 8 files

All our meat is in two files img_mgr.rb and form_multiple.erb

Here is our sinatra app:

img_mgr.rb :

require 'sinatra'

get '/' do
  erb :form_multiple

post '/upload' do
#this method will get as ajax call for every file uploaded
  @filename = params[:Filename]
  file = params[:Filedata][:tempfile]

  File.open("./public/#{@filename}", 'wb') do |f|

  #return filename as the response, the file we just wrote.
  return @filename

The home page route ’/’ serves the form_multiple.erb file. This will use uploadify to set itself up. It will make requests to the ‘/upload’ route. In here we get the filename from params[:Filename] and the file object from file = params[:Filedata][:tempfile]. (If you want to know how I figured this out, I simple wrote “puts params” in the route, the params object then gets printed into the console and you can check out the object yourself then). I write the file into the /public folder. It can be served then from the root of the wherever this is hosted.

The view looks like this:

form_multiple.erb :

        <title>Image Upload</title>
        <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="uploadify.css" />
        <script type="text/javascript" src="http://code.jquery.com/jquery-1.7.2.min.js"></script>
        <script type="text/javascript" src="jquery.uploadify.min.js"></script>

        <h1>Upload Images</h1>

        <input type="file" name="file_upload" id="file_upload" />
        $(function() {
              'swf'      : 'uploadify.swf',
              'uploader' : '/upload',
              'onUploadSuccess' : function(file, data, response) {
                  $("#images").append("<img src='/" + data + "' height='100px'/>");
    <div id="images">
    <strong>Uploaded images here:</strong><br />

If you notice in our server(sinatra) app we return the filename as a response, this is what the uploadify plugin will give us in the onUploadSuccess handler. All we do it append an image tag into our predefined div.

To execute all you need to do is :

  $ shotgun img_mgr.rb

If you need the whole thing in a nice downloadable package, here it is.

Feel free to post any questions or comments.

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