Add a new page to your app

This guide is a part of the Rails Girls workshop main guides. Make sure you follow the numbered guides in order before continuing.

Let’s add an about page to our app that will display information about the author of this application — you!

Generate a new page

In the Terminal app, run the following command:

rails generate controller pages about

This command will create a new directory under app/views/ called pages. In that directory a file called about.html.erb will be created. This file contains the content that will be displayed on your “about” page.

Open the app/views/pages/about.html.erb file. Add some information about yourself in the HTML. Something like the example below:

<h1>About me</h1>
<p>Hello there! I am YOUR NAME HERE and this is my amazing app!</p>

The same rails generate command has also added a new route to your config/routes.rb. This route configuration tells Rails which page should be shown when visiting that URL.

get "pages/about"

To see your new about page, take your browser to http://localhost:3000/pages/about (or append /pages/about to your preview URL). You should now see the new page you just created!

Help from the coach

Talk about routes for a moment. How does the config/routes.rb file define what routes Rails listens to? Explain that every page in the app needs a route in this file, otherwise Rails won’t know how to show it.

Resource: Guide to the guide finetune the routes or Rails Guides first route

Now that we know the new page works, let’s make sure people can visit it by creating a link for it in the navigation bar. That way they don’t have to guess that page exists and try to find it on their own.

Open app/views/layouts/application.html.erb in your Text Editor and under these lines of HTML:

<li class="nav-item">
  <a class="nav-link <%= 'active' if current_page?(controller: 'ideas') %>" href="/ideas">Ideas</a>

add the following lines of HTML to link to the new page:

<li class="nav-item">
  <a class="nav-link <%= 'active' if current_page?(controller: 'pages', action: 'about') %>" href="/pages/about">About</a>

Refresh the page in your Browser and click the newly created link to see if it works! You can now navigate between the ideas and the about pages in your app through one unified navigation bar.

The changes in more detail

By adding the new “nav item” to the navigation a new link has appeared in the navigation bar, styled by Bootstrap. This link points to the new about page.

This link is made by using a a-element, which is the HTML for a link. Using the href property we tell the browser where to point to, in this case /pages/about. The “About” text between the <a ... href="/pages/about">About</a> link is what is shown as the label for the people looking at the page through the Browser.

The middle part with the class property is what we use to indicate how the link should be displayed. If the link is “active”, it is the page we’re currently and it shows more brightly colored than the other link of the page we are currently not on.

To check if the page is currently active, Rails provides a helper called current_page?. This condition will be “true” if it matches our page selection: controller: 'pages', action: 'about'. The controller is the entrypoint for anything in the /pages path of this part of the app, and the action is the specific page, which is “about”.

Help from the coach

The above goes in a bit more technical detail about HTML works and how ERB can change what HTML is shown in the Browser. Help elaborate if things are unclear. Demonstrate how the page in the Browser changes by changing the HTML and ERB code.

Resource: Rails Beginner ERB

Knowing how to add a new page and change the nav bar, you can also add a new homepage (the next guide) to your app.

If you’re ever stuck during a guide, please ask your coach for help and also consult this handy cheatsheet for Ruby, Rails, the console, the Text Editor etc.


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