This guide explains how to customize the internal Spree code to meet your exact business requirements including:

  • Extending and overriding existing Spree models and controllers
  • Changing the output from an existing Spree controller action
  • Customizing the image handling functionality.

Extending Classes

All of Spree’s business logic (models, controllers, helpers, etc) can easily be extended / overridden to meet your exact requirements using standard Ruby idioms.

Standard practice for including such changes in your application or extension is to create a file within the relevant app/models/spree or app/controllers/spree directory with the original class name with _decorator appended.

Adding a custom method to the Product model: app/models/spree/product_decorator.rb

Spree::Product.class_eval do
  def some_method

Adding a custom action to the ProductsController: app/controllers/spree/products_controller_decorator.rb

Spree::ProductsController.class_eval do
  def some_action

The exact same format can be used to redefine an existing method.

Accessing Product Data

If you extend the Products controller with a new method, you may very well want to access product data in that method. You can do so by using the :load_data before_action.

Spree::ProductsController.class_eval do
  before_action :load_data, only: :some_action

  def some_action

:load_data will use params[:id] to lookup the product by its permalink.

Overriding Controller Action Responses

With the release of 0.60.0 Spree now supports a new way of overriding or changing the output of an existing controller’s action without needing to completely override the method (while also easily avoiding double render exceptions).

respond_override method

The respond_override method is used to customize the response from any action, and is built on top of Rails 3’s respond_with method (that all Spree controllers are now using). It accepts a hash of options using the following syntax:

respond_override action_name: { format:  { result: lambda { ... response ... } } }

  • :action_name - Can be any existing action within a controller (i.e. :update, :create, :new), provided that action is using respond_with to define its response.
  • :format - The format of the request, (i.e. :html, :json, :js, etc). All Spree controllers have a class level respond_to method call that defines which formats the controller’s actions will respond to.
  • :result - Two possible results are available on any given response, :success or :failure. :success being the default for most actions. However, actions that change or create models will have a :failure response if validation fails for the model being updated.
  • lambda - The lambda passed contains the actual code to create the desired custom response (i.e. render or redirect_to). A lambda must be passed to ensure the code is evaluated at the correct time.

Example Usage

If you wanted to render a custom partial for the index action of ProductsController, you could include the following in your app/controllers/spree/products_controller_decorator.rb file.

Spree::ProductsController.class_eval do
  respond_override index: { html:
    { success: lambda { render 'shared/some_file' } } }

Or if you wanted to redirect on the failure to create in Admin::ProductsController, you would use:

Spree::Admin::ProductsController.class_eval do
  respond_override create: { html: { failure: lambda {
    redirect_to some_url } } }


  • If an action does not use respond_with to define its response the respond_override will not work.
  • Some actions contain several respond_with calls so any respond_override defined on it will be executed for any of the respond_with instances, so it’s important to check the model state / logic within the lambda passed to prevent overriding all possible responses with the same override.

Product Images

Spree uses Thoughtbot’s paperclip gem to manage images for products. All the normal paperclip options are available on the Image class. If you want to modify the default Spree product and thumbnail image sizes, simply create an image_decorator.rb file in your app model directory, and override the attachment sizes:

Spree::Image.class_eval do
  attachment_definitions[:attachment][:styles] = {
    mini: '48x48>', # thumbs under image
    small: '100x100>', # images on category view
    product: '240x240>', # full product image
    large: '600x600>' # light box image

You may also add additional image sizes for use in your templates (:micro for shopping cart view, for example).

Image resizing option syntax

Default behavior is to resize the image and maintain aspect ratio (i.e. the :product version of a 480x400 image will be 240x200). Some commonly used options are:

  • trailing #, image will be centrally cropped, ensuring the requested dimensions
  • trailing >, image will only be modified if it is currently larger than the requested dimensions. (i.e. the :small thumb for a 100x100 original image will be unchanged)