Rails: Render Markdown Views and Partials

kinopyo avatar

Assume you have a markdown contents saved in a partial _about.md and you want to render it in your view.

# About me

I'm a writer.
# won't work as-is
<%= render "about" %>

Custom Template Handler

First, you would need to register the type/extension of .md and map it into a customized handler - let's call it MarkdownTemplateHandler. I'm putting it under lib folder but you can put wherever you want, even inside the same initializer file is alright.

require Rails.root.join("lib", "markdown_template_handler")

ActionView::Template.register_template_handler(:md, MarkdownTemplateHandler.new)

Then the handler class. (Change the redcarpet markdown renderer to the one you picked.)

class MarkdownTemplateHandler
  def call(template)
    markdown = Redcarpet::Markdown.new(Redcarpet::Render::HTML)


That's it! In your view, you can render it just like normal partials.

<%= render "about" %>

It also works with direct views (not partials).

# About me

- Writer
- Dreamer

Dive into Rails

You may wonder why the weird syntax of inspect and html_safe. Glad you ask!

It's actually the same as ActionView::TemplateHandlers::Raw#call. The return value of our customized handler#call will be eval'd here in ActionView::Template#compile.

If you're interested, you can check how other template handlers (erb, html, etc) are implemented under action_view/template/handlers in the Rails repo.

Using Existing Gems

Alternatively, you can drop one of these gems to get the same functionality quickly:

I prefer the in-house solution in this case as it's simple enough and also provides flexibilities to render the markdown (not tight to a specific gem & reuse my own preference).

Markdown, can't live without it now πŸ˜€.

kinopyo avatar
Written By


Indoor enthusiast, web developer, and former hardcore RTS gamer. #building-bloggie
Published in Rails

Enjoyed the post?

Clap to support the author, help others find it, and make your opinion count.

kinopyo's recent posts


Stas Syritsyn avatar

Thank you for the post, @kinopyo, well done! However, I honestly can't get a single reason to use markdown for any of my pet projects. I got used to think, like, oh, markdown? this funny thing I will never deal with? Like, in making Rails templates sweet and clean, Slim does all the job for you. In user-generated content, there's myriad of ready-to-go solutions (Quill is my favourite). Why markdown?
Or, maybe I'm missing something?

kinopyo avatar

Hi Stas, thanks for the comment. I didn't know Quill before, looks very handy!

You're right, rendering a markdown file in the view isn't a common thing in Rails. It's not supposed to be the equivalent to ERB, Haml, or Slim. The rather rare use case that I bumped into was that I happened to have many Jekyll post files that were written in pure Markdown format, and I want to reuse some of the contents in a Rails app without manually converting them to HTML. It's handy for simple static pages which you wouldn't need to customize the markup or CSS heavily.

(Think my /about page of my blog is rendered with this technique.)

If you don't have a use case, there's certainly no need to worry much about itπŸ™‚.

To leave a comment, you need to login first πŸ˜‰