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Announcing Jammit: DocumentCloud’s Asset Packager

Nov 16th, 2009


Jeremy Ashkenas

The DocumentCloud prototype includes a “Journalist Workspace” — a tool for searching, organizing, and visualizing the relationships among documents. We’re building the workspace as a modern web application, which means that there’s a lot of static assets behind the scenes (JavaScript, templates, CSS, and images). The problem arises: how do you keep all of these assets organized while still delivering them as efficiently as possible to a web browser?

Our answer, Jammit, is a Rails gem that takes care of merging and compressing all of a website’s static assets. It runs JavaScript and CSS through the excellent YUI Compressor, zips them up for speedy downloads, and can embed small images right into the stylesheets. Using it in the DocumentCloud prototype has cut the time that it takes to load the workspace in half.

The project page contains complete overview of Jammit, including installation instructions, documentation, and examples. We hope you can use it to help speed up your Rails applications.

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