Ruby Weekly is a weekly newsletter covering the latest Ruby and Rails news.

21 Merb Links, Tutorials and Other Resources

By Peter Cooper / February 5, 2008


Merb is a Ruby Web framework that most Ruby and Rails developers are familiar with, even if they haven't used it. Merb is a Model View Controller based framework, somewhat like Rails, but it's significantly lighter, faster, and more customizable. Merb's strength is that it has a lightweight core and relies on plugins, selected by the user, to provide most of the extended functionality.

This post is to summarize some of the more interesting Merb tutorials and references, so that newcomers to Merb, or those who want to refresh their knowledge, can get started quickly:

Official Stuff

Merb's official homepage - The typical launching point for learning about what Merb is, and for accessing stable and trunk builds or learning how to contribute to the project.

Merb's official API documentation - RDoc generated documentation, straight from Merb's source code. The main page demonstrates how to install Merb, get a basic application started, and how the main concepts, such as models, views, and controllers, work.

Merb Features - The official list of Merb's features.

Merb 0.5 Release Notes - The release notes for the latest (as of February 2008) release of Merb.

Merb's source code repository trunk - A view of Merb's official git repository at If you want the latest version of Merb, and live on the edge, get it from here.

Motivation / Rationale / Advocacy

Merb (and why you potentially should care) - A well written demonstration of why Merb matters and Merb's key features.

Merb-tastic - A general overview of Merb from a non-official point of view. Unspace, a Canadian Ruby consulting firm, takes a look at what Merb is, how it can use different ORMs, and what their motivations for using Merb are.

Introductions / Tutorials / Installation

Merb + DataMapper + Noob: Quick Start - A great introductory tutorial for newcomers to Merb, demonstrating how to create a note taking / simple blog application from start to finish.

Merb Tutorial - Another tutorial that's older, and partly out of date, but the supplied source code has been updated to the latest Merb standards (well 0.4.2, anyway).

Merborial: Getting Started with Merb and DataMapper - Chris Kaukis with the first installment of a very up to date Merb tutorial (February 2008). In this installment, he shows how to install Merb, DataMapper, and some other plugins, sets up an initial Merb application, creates a database, and provides a bunch of links to useful resources.

Merb & DataMapper: Getting Rolling - A quick introductory piece to installing Merb and DataMapper by Justin Pease.

Doing Stuff with Merb

A Quick Jaunt Through Merb's Framework Code - A blog post by Ezra Zygmuntowicz that takes a look at how Merb processes and handles incoming requests.

Shoes Meets Merb: Driving A GUI App through Web Services - A six page, in-depth article by Gregory Brown and Brad Ediger that demonstrates how to use the Shoes GUI toolkit along with Merb, where Merb provides the data, and Shoes provides the interface.

Taking Merb to Production - Ben Reubenstein looks at how to use Capistrano and Nginx to deploy Merb applications.

Merbful Authentication - A look at a new (as of January 2008) plugin for Merb that provides an easy to use authentication system.

Merb Routing in 0.5 - A great look at how the URL routing system works in Merb 0.5 by Toolman Tim!

File Uploads Via Merb Inside A Rails Application - A three part tutorial showing how to use Merb alongside a Rails application to handle file uploads in an efficient manner. This is what Merb was originally created for.

Merb on AIR - Drag and Drop Multiple File Upload - A slightly old (June 2007) tutorial demonstrating how to use Merb alongside an Adobe AIR powered client to handle file uploads.

The Future and More!

The Road to Merb 1.0 - Robert Bazinet of InfoQ interviews Merb creator Ezra Zygmuntowicz about the future for Merb. - Yehuda Katz, a developer on the Merb team, looks at how things are progressing with Merb up to version 1.0.

A Mega List of Even More Merb Tutorials - For those readers who aren't satisfied enough by the above list of Merb links, has put together even more for you!


  1. Eleo says:

    I really like Merb and have started my most recent app with it.

    I only wish Datamapper (or more specifically, do_mysql) would work with Windows. I guess I just feel like I'm not playing with enough new toys at once when I'm still using ActiveRecord as my ORM.

  2. Markus Jais says:

    Thanks for this wonderful list. I really want to check out Merb. Your list is a wonderful starting point.
    By the way. I love rubyinside. It's the first site I added to my blogroll.
    Keep up the great work.

  3. Matt Todd says:

    Damn good compilation. I'm pushing for our internal apps to move to Merb instead of Rails, though I don't know how successful I'll be, at least in the short term.

    One thing I really love about Merb is that you can easily pull just a chunk of its code out into your own project (if, for instance, you just want its router instead of the whole MVC shebang for your own special case) and it is super fast and simple to do so.

    The Merb codebase is very clean, and you'll definitely find some interesting bits in there, especially if you go poking around the Core Extensions or even the Router.

    I have a quick article on plucking the Merb Router out of Merb for my Halcyon project:
    (Be sure to read the first article to get a breakdown of the code.)

  4. Jonathan Conway says:

    Merb's just fantastic. Merb and Datampper where my first starting point when I had to write a high performance REST'ful API that dealt with large assets and could scale better horizontally than Rails. By better I mean lower cost due to the reduced memory usage and greater concurrency.

  5. David Parker says:

    Great list! I've been playing around with Merb recently and this list will be helpful. Thanks!

  6. Niket Patel says:

    Peter, Great List!
    Should we expect more on merb here?

  7. Peter Cooper says:

    I am a massive fan of Merb, but have wanted to make a big splash with it. Unfortunately, that requirement kinda led me into not writing about it very much as I didn't feel I was doing it justice, so now I'm just going to post about it as if it were anything else :)

  8. Justin Pease says:

    Thanks for the link to my blog!!!

  9. Ranieri says:

    The plugins of Merb are developed as the same base as those for Rails?
    Can you post some websites that use tagging and pagination, built with Merb?

  10. David Lee says:

    Merb plugins are different from Rails plugins. That said, Merb can use some plugins that are available for Rails, although most would do better to be ported to Merb.

    I made a WikiVS page comparing Merb and Rails:

    It's open for anybody to edit, so hopefully it'll remain updated.

Other Posts to Enjoy

Twitter Mentions