Ruby on Rails Interview Questions and Answers — View — Part 3

8 min readNov 27, 2023


  • How do you handle internationalization (i18n) in Rails views?
  • Explain the difference between the render and redirect_to methods in Rails views.
  • What is AJAX, and how can you use it in Rails views for asynchronous updates?
  • How can you prevent Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) attacks in Rails views?
  • Describe the purpose of view helpers and provide some examples.

11. How do you handle internationalization (i18n) in Rails views?

Internationalization, often abbreviated as i18n, is the process of designing and preparing your application to support multiple languages and regions. In Rails, internationalization is built into the framework and is achieved through the use of the I18n module.

Configure the Application

Ensure that your Rails application is configured for internationalization. This involves setting the default locale and configuring the available locales. This is typically done in the config/application.rb file:

# config/application.rb

config.i18n.default_locale = :en
config.i18n.available_locales = [:en, :es, :fr] # Add more locales as needed

Translation Files

Create YAML files for each locale you support. These files are typically located in the config/locales directory. For example, for English (en), you might have a file named en.yml

# config/locales/en.yml

hello: "Hello, %{name}!"

Use Translations in Views: In your views, you can use the t helper method to translate text.

<!-- app/views/welcome/index.html.erb -->

<h1><%= t('hello', name: 'John') %></h1>

This will display “Hello, John!” in English. Rails will automatically look up the translation based on the current locale.

HTML with Translations

If you need to translate HTML content, you can use the raw method to output HTML directly.

<!-- app/views/welcome/index.html.erb -->

<p><%= raw t('paragraph_with_html') %></p>

Be cautious when using raw to prevent HTML injection vulnerabilities.

Date and Time Formats

You can also internationalize date and time formats using the l helper method:

<!-- app/views/welcome/index.html.erb -->

<p><%= l %></p>

The date and time formats will be automatically adjusted based on the current locale.


Rails provides support for pluralization in translations.

# config/locales/en.yml

zero: "No messages"
one: "1 message"
other: "%{count} messages"

In the view:

<!-- app/views/messages/index.html.erb -->

<p><%= t('messages', count: @message_count) %></p>

Rails will automatically select the correct translation based on the value of @message_count.

Dynamic Content

If you have dynamic content that needs translation, use placeholders in your translation strings.

# config/locales/en.yml

greeting: "Hello, %{name}!"

In the view:

<!-- app/views/welcome/index.html.erb -->

<p><%= t('greeting', name: %></p>

This allows you to insert dynamic content into translated strings.

12. Explain the difference between the render and redirect_to methods in Rails views

render Method

  • The render method is primarily used to render views and display them in the browser.
  • It does not perform an HTTP redirect. Instead, it renders the specified view template and returns the HTML content to the browser.
  • It’s often used when you want to display a different view or template within the same request-response cycle.
  • render is useful for rendering partials, handling errors, or rendering different formats (HTML, JSON, XML, etc.) based on the request format.
def show
# Some logic to fetch data
render :show # Renders the show.html.erb view template

redirect_to Method

  • The redirect_to method is used to perform an HTTP redirect to another URL.
  • It does not render any view directly. Instead, it instructs the browser to make a new request to the specified URL.
  • redirect_to is commonly used after completing a form submission, creating or updating a resource, or in other situations where you want to direct the user to a different action or page.
  • It results in a new HTTP request, and as a result, the browser’s URL changes.

The render is used to display a view within the current request-response cycle, while redirect_to is used to instruct the browser to make a new request to a different URL. The choice between them depends on the desired behavior and the workflow of your application.

13. What is AJAX, and how can you use it in Rails views for asynchronous updates?

AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) is a technique that allows web pages to be updated asynchronously by exchanging small amounts of data with the server behind the scenes. Instead of reloading the entire page, only the specific part of the page that needs to be updated is refreshed. AJAX is commonly used to create more dynamic and responsive user interfaces.

In Rails, you can use AJAX to perform asynchronous updates in views by making requests to the server using JavaScript and updating the page content dynamically.

Include jQuery or other JavaScript Library

Rails includes jQuery by default, but you can also use other JavaScript libraries. Make sure the library is included in your application. If you’re using jQuery, it is often included in the application.js file.

// app/assets/javascripts/application.js

//= require jquery
//= require jquery_ujs

Create an AJAX Request in JavaScript

Use JavaScript to make an AJAX request to a specific URL on your server. This request can be of type GET, POST, etc. jQuery provides a convenient $.ajax function for this purpose.

// Example using jQuery

type: 'GET',
url: '/posts',
success: function(data) {
// Handle the response data and update the page
error: function() {
alert('Error fetching data');

Create a Controller Action for AJAX

In your Rails controller, create an action that responds to AJAX requests. You can use the respond_to block to handle different formats, such as HTML and JSON.

# app/controllers/posts_controller.rb

def index
@posts = Post.all

respond_to do |format|
format.js # This will render index.js.erb for AJAX requests

Create an AJAX View (JavaScript View)

Create a JavaScript view file (e.g., index.js.erb) in the views folder corresponding to the controller action. This file will contain JavaScript code that updates the page.

// app/views/posts/index.js.erb

$('#posts-container').html('<%= escape_javascript(render @posts) %>');

This JavaScript code will replace the content of the element with the id posts-container with the rendered HTML from the @posts variable.

Handle AJAX in the Layout

Ensure that your layout file (application.html.erb) includes the necessary JavaScript files and sets up the CSRF token for AJAX requests.

<!-- app/views/layouts/application.html.erb -->

<%= javascript_include_tag 'application' %>
<%= csrf_meta_tags %>

The CSRF token is required for non-GET requests to protect against Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF) attacks.

14. How can you prevent Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) attacks in Rails views?

Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) is a type of security vulnerability that occurs when an application includes untrusted data on a web page. In the context of Rails views, preventing XSS attacks involves ensuring that user input is properly sanitized before being rendered in the HTML output. Rails provides built-in mechanisms to help mitigate XSS attacks.

Use <%= h() %> or <%= html_escape %> for Output

Always use the h method (an alias for html_escape) or html_escape helper when outputting user-generated content in your views. This method will escape special characters in the input, preventing them from being interpreted as HTML or JavaScript.

<p><%= h(user_input) %></p>


<p><%= html_escape(user_input) %></p>

These methods ensure that any HTML or script tags in user_input are treated as plain text.

Use <%= raw() %> with Caution

While raw() can be used to output HTML content without escaping, use it judiciously, and only when you are sure that the content is safe. Make sure to validate and sanitize any user-generated content before using raw().

<p><%= raw(user_input) %></p>

Content Tag for Specific Output

If you need to output specific types of content, consider using the content_tag helper with the appropriate HTML tag. This helps to ensure that the content is properly formatted and escaped.

<%= content_tag(:div, user_input) %>

Sanitize User Input

For user-generated content that may include HTML, consider using the sanitize helper method. This method allows you to specify a set of allowed tags and attributes.

<%= sanitize(user_input, tags: %w(strong em a), attributes: %w(href)) %>

This allows you to control which HTML tags and attributes are allowed in the output.

Avoid Using raw HTML in Views

Avoid embedding raw HTML directly in your views whenever possible. If you need to include HTML snippets, use partials or helpers to handle the rendering and escaping.

Content Security Policy (CSP)

Implementing Content Security Policy headers in your application can provide an additional layer of defense against XSS attacks. CSP allows you to define a policy for what types of content are allowed to be loaded and executed on your pages.

To set up CSP headers in Rails, you can use the secure_headers gem or configure the headers manually in your application's middleware.

# Gemfile
gem 'secure_headers'

# config/application.rb
config.middleware.use SecureHeaders::Middleware

These practices help ensure that user input is properly sanitized and does not pose a security risk by being executed as script code. Regularly updating Rails and its dependencies is also crucial for staying protected against security vulnerabilities.

15. Describe the purpose of view helpers and provide some examples.

View helpers in Rails are utility methods provided by the framework to assist in generating HTML content within views. They simplify the process of building dynamic and interactive web pages by encapsulating common HTML-related tasks and logic into reusable functions. View helpers enhance code readability, reduce redundancy, and promote maintainability.

Link Helpers

link_to: Generates HTML links.

<%= link_to 'Click me', some_path %>

button_to: Creates a form containing a single button that submits to a specified URL.

<%= button_to 'Delete', delete_path, method: :delete, data: { confirm: 'Are you sure?' } %>

Form Helpers

form_for and form_tag: Simplify the creation of HTML forms.

<%= form_for @post do |f| %>
<%= f.text_field :title %>
<%= f.text_area :content %>
<%= f.submit 'Submit' %>
<% end %>

fields_for: Used within a form_for block to create fields for associated models.

<%= form_for @author do |a| %>
<%= a.text_field :name %>
<%= a.fields_for :posts do |p| %>
<%= p.text_field :title %>
<% end %>
<%= a.submit 'Submit' %>
<% end %>

Asset Tag Helpers

image_tag: Generates an HTML image tag.

<%= image_tag 'rails-logo.png', alt: 'Rails Logo' %>

javascript_include_tag and stylesheet_link_tag: Include JavaScript and CSS files in your views.

<%= javascript_include_tag 'application' %>
<%= stylesheet_link_tag 'application' %>

Text Helpers

pluralize: Provides the plural form of a word based on a count.

<%= pluralize(@comments.count, 'comment') %>

truncate: Shortens a block of text to a specified length.

<%= truncate(@article.body, length: 150) %>

Date and Time Helpers

time_ago_in_words: Displays the time distance between a given time and the current time.

<p>Posted <%= time_ago_in_words(@post.created_at) %> ago</p>

distance_of_time_in_words: Calculates the time distance between two times.

<p>This event is <%= distance_of_time_in_words(, @event.start_time) %> away</p>

Number Helpers

number_to_currency: Formats a number as currency.

<%= number_to_currency(@product.price) %>

number_with_delimiter: Adds delimiters to a number for better readability.

<%= number_with_delimiter(@population) %> people live in this city

Tag Helpers

content_tag: Generates an HTML tag with specified content.

<%= content_tag :div, 'Hello, World!', class: 'greeting' %>

Routing Helpers

root_path, post_path(@post): Generate URLs based on route names and model instances.

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