Integrating Acra with RubyGems

This tutorial outlines a typical process of integrating Acra into a Ruby web app (more specifically, an app running on Ruby on Rails framework). It is based on the popular example many Ruby users start their development learning with - repository.

Here we will integrate AcraWriter to protect the gem descriptions.

This tutorial assumes that you have both AcraServer and PostgreSQL up and running.

You can browse the modified repository here.

Step 1. Clone repo

git clone

Step 2. Install AcraWriter

gem install acrawriter

Step 2.1 Install activerecord_acrawriter

This gem adds a new type to Active Record for transparent encryption

Note: This only works with Ruby > 2.2 because that is a requirement of Active Record

gem install activerecord_acrawriter

Step 3. Add AcraServer public key to config/secrets.yml

  secret_key_base: 01ade4a4dc594f4e2f1711f225adc0ad38b1f4e0b965191a43eea8a658a97d8d5f7a1255791c491f14ca638d4bbc7d82d8990040e266e3d898670605f2e5676f
  acra_public_key: VUVDMgAAAC1w3M1uArNP+AWNhmOi6+bR6SXadlPbAh3XFnBuOnLziPeHn70T # base64

Step 4. Use AcraType on the fields that you want to encrypt

Encrypt unresolved_name field in Dependency model:

# app/models/dependency.rb
require 'activerecord_acrawriter'
. . .
class Dependency < ActiveRecord::Base
    . . .
    attribute :unresolved_name,
    . . .

Encrypt authors, description, and summary fields in the Version model:

require 'activerecord_acrawriter'
. . .
class Version < ActiveRecord::Base
    . . .
    class AuthorType < AcraType
      def cast_value(value)
         if value.is_a?(Array)
            value = value.join(', ')

    attribute :authors,
    attribute :description,
    attribute :summary,

Step 5. Add activerecord_acrawriter to Gemfile:

. . .
gem 'sprockets-rails', '~> 3.1.0'
gem 'rack-attack'
gem 'activerecord_acrawriter'

group :development, :test do
  gem 'rubocop', require: false
  gem 'toxiproxy', '~> 0.1.3'
. . .


Congratulations, you've integrated Acra with Ruby Gems.