Adds tracking of one off data scripts for Rails.

gem install schlepper -v 1.0.4



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Schlepper: a person who carries, a task runner

A gem for running and keeping track of one time tasks in a Rails application. Tasks are versioned and tracked much like Rails migrations.

The purpose of Schlepper is to provide an alternative to onetime data tasks inside migrations, while offering the conventions, convenience and tracking like Rails migrations.


Rails 3.2+


Add this line to your application's Gemfile:

gem 'schlepper'

And then execute:

$ bundle

Or install it yourself as:

$ gem install schlepper


Schlepper comes with a generator for creating a new task, and a Rake task that will run any pending onetime tasks.

To create a new onetime task, run rails generate schlepper:task name_of_task; where name_of_task follows the same pattern as the Rails' migration generator. Here, a new file is created in script/schleppers that looks like numerictimestamp_name_of_task.rb. These also follow the same pattern as Rails' migrations.

Edit the file that was generated and you see a class has been created with some methods for you to override:

class NameOfTask < Schlepper::Task
  attr_reader :failure_message

  # Signals to the task runner that this task will control its own transaction.
  # When true the task runner will not open a transaction.
  # Use with caution.
  # @return [Boolean] 
  def controls_transaction?

  # @return [String] A short note on what the purpose of this task is
  def description
      Add your documentation here.
    fail NotImplementedError, "Documentation has not been added for #{}"

  # @return [String] The individuals that are responsible for this task
  def owner
    "John Bjön"
    fail NotImplementedError, "Ownership has not been claimed for #{}"

  # This is the entry point for your task. The full Rails stack is available.
  # Return true if it was successful, false if not. If not successful,
  # set @failure_message to something meaningful. Tasks that return false
  # will not be marked as run and will be continue to be run in subsequent
  # batch runs
  # @return [Bool] Success or failure
  def run


These methods are self-explanatory. The generator places a failure inside the required methods to ensure that there is nothing overlooked. The owner and description methods are utilized in the task running process to insert that information into the database.

The entry point for the task is in the run method. Take special note of the meaning of the return value of the run method. You must return a literal true to signal to the task runner that this task has completed successfully. Any return value other than true will signal to the task runner that this task has not completed successfully, and will not be marked as successful.

The method controls_transaction? is optional. If it returns true, the task won't run in a transaction, and returning false from run won't roll anything back.

Also take note of the instance variable @failure_message. Setting this to something descriptive if your task fails provides meaningful output to the person running the task.

Use rake schlepper:run to start the task running process. The task running procedure is as follows:

  • Load the Rails app, the schlepper:run task inherits from environment
  • Create the schlepper_tasks table if it does not exist
  • Select all of the version numbers from the schlepper_tasks table
  • Load all task files that have not yet been run
  • For each task file
    • Begin a database transaction
    • Create a new instance of the Task class defined in the file
    • Execute the run method of that class
    • If the return value of run is true
      • Commit the transaction
      • Insert into the schlepper_tasks table the owner, description, and verison of the tasks
    • Otherwise
      • Roll back transaction
      • Display the name of the owner, and @failure_message if provided

The transaction steps are skipped if controls_transaction? is defined and returns true.


After checking out the repo, run bin/setup to install dependencies. Then, run rake test to run the tests. You can also run bin/console for an interactive prompt that will allow you to experiment.

To install this gem onto your local machine, run bundle exec rake install. To release a new version, update the version number in version.rb, and then run bundle exec rake release, which will create a git tag for the version, push git commits and tags, and push the .gem file to


Bug reports and pull requests are welcome on GitHub at


Schlepper is released under the MIT License.


Implement saving the change registry by providing some back-ends.

Implement rolling back a task