Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Sinatra Asset Snack: Coffeescript and SASS compilation for Sinatra

Up until recently most of my RIAs have been built using Backbone.JS and Sinatra, using the Sinatra Assetpack gem to handle asset compilation and pipelining. Unfortunately recently I found some performance issues with Sinatra Assetpack.

Generally speaking its great at managing coffeescript and SASS compilation and minification on the fly, however I was finding that as my codebase grew, each time I fired up a server in development, it was taking way to long to clear its cache, recompile and load a page. This was a real drag when working on UX, as this recompilation time made development slow and clunky. I was also finding that even after warming its asset cache, the serving of these assets via assetpack on development and test environments was really preventing quick page loads and was starting to become annoying.

In response, I wrote a simple gem to slim down the asset serving codebase, and handle runtime compilation of coffeescript and SASS in a faster fashion. Its released on RubyGems:

gem install sinatra-asset-snack

At the moment it handles only SASS and Coffeescript compilation, and allows you to designate script bundling into common files (i.e. application.js). For example:

Minification isn't handled yet, mainly as most sites (should) use g-zip compression anyway which means minification is largely a secondary / unnecessary concern anyway.

Should anyone want to write any additional compilers for other syntaxes feel free! The code can be found at

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