Spree Preferences support general application configuration and preferences per model instance. Spree comes with preferences for your application like track_inventory_levels. Additional preferences can be added by your application or included extensions.
To implement preferences for a model, simply add a new column called preferences. This is an example migration for the spree_products table:
class AddPreferencesColumnToSpreeProducts < ActiveRecord::Migration[4.2]
def change
add_column :spree_products, :preferences, :text
This will work because Spree::Product is a subclass of Spree::Base. If found, the preferences attribute gets serialized into a Hash and merged with the default values.
As another example, you might want to add preferences for users to manage their notification settings. Just make sure your User model inherits from Spree::Base then add the preferences column. You'll then be able to define preferences for Users without adding extra columns to the database table.
If you're using spree_auth_devise, note that the provided Spree::User doesn't inherit from Spree::Base.
Extensions may add to the Spree General Settings or create their own namespaced preferences.
The first several sections of this guide describe preferences in a very general way. If you're just interested in making modifications to the existing preferences, you can skip ahead to the Configuring Spree Preferences section. If you would like a more in-depth understanding of the underlying concepts used by the preference system, please read on.


Preferences for models within an application are very common. Although the rule of thumb is to keep the number of preferences available to a minimum, sometimes it's necessary if you want users to have optional preferences like disabling e-mail notifications.
Both use cases are handled by Spree Preferences. They are easy to define, provide quick cached reads, persist across restarts and do not require additional columns to be added to your models' tables.

General Settings

Spree comes with many application-wide preferences. They are defined in core/app/models/spree/app_configuration.rb and made available to your code through Spree::Config, e.g., Spree::Config.track_inventory_levels.
A limited set of the general settings are available in the admin interface of your store (/admin/general_settings).
You can add additional preferences under the spree/app_configuration namespace or create your own subclass of Preferences::Configuration.
# These will be saved with key: spree/app_configuration/hot_salsa
Spree::AppConfiguration.class_eval do
preference :hot_salsa, :boolean
preference :dark_chocolate, :boolean, default: true
preference :color, :string
preference :favorite_number
preference :language, :string, default: 'English'
# Spree::Config is an instance of Spree::AppConfiguration
Spree::Config.hot_salsa = false
# Create your own class
# These will be saved with key: kona/store_configuration/hot_coffee
Kona::StoreConfiguration < Preferences::Configuration
preference :hot_coffee, :boolean
preference :color, :string, default: 'black'
puts KONA::STORE_CONFIG.hot_coffee

Defining Preferences

You can define preferences for a model within the model itself:
class User < ActiveRecord::Base
preference :hot_salsa, :boolean
preference :dark_chocolate, :boolean, default: true
preference :color, :string
preference :favorite_number, :integer
preference :language, :string, default: "English"
In the above model, five preferences have been defined:
  • hot_salsa
  • dark_chocolate
  • color
  • favorite_number
  • language
For each preference, a data type is provided. The types available are:
  • boolean
  • string
  • password
  • integer
  • text
  • array
  • hash
An optional default value may be defined which will be used unless a value has been set for that specific instance.

Accessing Preferences

Once preferences have been defined for a model, they can be accessed either using the shortcut methods that are generated for each preference or the generic methods that are not specific to a particular preference.

Shortcut Methods

There are several shortcut methods that are generated. They are shown below.
Query methods:
user.prefers_hot_salsa? # => false
user.prefers_dark_chocolate? # => false
Reader methods:
user.preferred_color # => nil
user.preferred_language # => "English"
Writer methods:
user.prefers_hot_salsa = false # => false
user.preferred_language = "English" # => "English"
Check if a preference is available:
user.has_preference? :hot_salsa

Generic Methods

Each shortcut method is essentially a wrapper for the various generic methods shown below:
Query method:
user.prefers?(:hot_salsa) # => false
user.prefers?(:dark_chocolate) # => false
Reader methods:
user.preferred(:color) # => nil
user.preferred(:language) # => "English"
user.get_preference :color
user.get_preference :language
Writer method:
user.set_preference(:hot_salsa, false) # => false
user.set_preference(:language, "English") # => "English"

Accessing All Preferences

You can get a hash of all stored preferences by accessing the preferences helper:
user.preferences # => {"language"=>"English", "color"=>nil}
This hash will contain the value for every preference that has been defined for the model instance, whether the value is the default or one that has been previously stored.

Default and Type

You can access the default value for a preference:
user.preferred_color_default # => 'blue'
Types are used to generate forms or display the preference. You can also get the type defined for a preference:
user.preferred_color_type # => :string

Configuring Spree Preferences

Up until now we've been discussing the general preference system that was adapted to Spree. This has given you a general idea of what types of preference features are theoretically supported. Now, let's start to look specifically at how Spree is using these preferences for configuration.

Reading the Current Preferences

At the heart of Spree preferences lies the Spree::Config constant. This object provides general access to the configuration settings anywhere in the application.
These settings can be accessed from initializers, models, controllers, views, etc.
The Spree::Config constant returns an instance of Spree::AppConfiguration which is where the default values for all of the general Spree preferences are defined.
You can access these preferences directly in code. To see this in action, just fire up rails console and try the following:
>> Spree::Config.admin_products_per_page
=> 10
The above examples show the default configuration values for these preferences. The defaults themselves are coded within the Spree::AppConfiguration class.
class Spree::AppConfiguration < Configuration
#... snip ...
preference :allow_guest_checkout, :boolean, default: true
#... snip ...
If you are using the default preferences without any modifications, then nothing will be stored in the database. If you set a value for the preference it will save it to spree_preferences or in our preferences column. It will use a memory cached version to maintain performance.

Overriding the Default Preferences

The default Spree preferences in Spree::AppConfiguration can be changed using the set method of the Spree::Config module. For example to set the number of products shown on the products listing in the admin interface we could do the following:
>> Spree::Config.admin_products_per_page = 20
=> 20
>> Spree::Config.admin_products_per_page
=> 20
Here we are changing a preference to something other than the default as specified in Spree::AppConfiguration. In this case the preference system will persist the new value in the spree_preferences table.

Configuration Through the Spree Initializer

During the Spree installation process, an initializer file is created within your application's source code. The initializer is found under config/initializers/spree.rb:
Rails.application.config.after_initialize do
Spree.config do |config|
# Example:
# Uncomment to stop tracking inventory levels in the application
# config.track_inventory_levels = false
Note that if using Rails 7, you'll need to wrap the Spree.config block in an Rails.application.config.after_initialize block to avoid getting an error when booting up the app.
The Spree.config block acts as a shortcut to setting Spree::Config multiple times. If you have multiple default preferences you would like to override within your code you may override them here. Using the initializer for setting the defaults is a nice shortcut, and helps keep your preferences organized in a standard location.
For example, if you would like to tax using the shipping address you can accomplish this by doing the following:
Spree.config do |config|
config.tax_using_ship_address = true
Initializing preferences in config/initializers/spree.rb will overwrite any changes that were made through the admin user interface when you restart.

Configuration Through the Admin Interface

The Spree admin interface has several different screens where various settings can be configured. For instance, the admin/general_settings URL in your Spree application can be used to configure the values for the site name and the site URL. This is basically equivalent to calling Spree::Config.set(currency: "CDN", currency_thousands_separator: " ") directly in your Ruby code.

Site-Wide Preferences

You can define preferences that are site-wide and don't apply to a specific instance of a model by creating a configuration file that inherits from Spree::Preferences::Configuration.
class Spree::MyApplicationConfiguration < Spree::Preferences::Configuration
preference :theme, :string, default: "Default"
preference :show_splash_page, :boolean
preference :number_of_articles, :integer
In the above configuration file, three preferences have been defined:
  • theme
  • show_splash_page
  • number_of_articles
It is recommended to create the configuration file in the lib/ directory.
Extensions can also define site-wide preferences. For more information on using preferences like this with extensions, check out the Extensions Tutorial.

Configuring Site-Wide Preferences

The recommended way to configure site-wide preferences is through an initializer. Let's take a look at configuring the preferences defined in the previous configuration example.
module Spree
MyApp::Config =
MyApp::Config[:theme] = "blue_theme"
MyApp::Config[:show_spash_page] = true
MyApp::Config[:number_of_articles] = 5
The MyApp name used here is an example and should be replaced with your actual application's name, found in config/application.rb.
The above example will configure the preferences we defined earlier. Take note of the second line. In order to set and get preferences using MyApp::Config, we must first instantiate the configuration object.

Spree Configuration Options

This section lists all of the configuration options for the current version of Spree.
Will determine if the state field should appear on the checkout page. Defaults to true.
How many products to display on the products listing in the admin interface. Defaults to 30.
Continues the checkout process even if the payment gateway error failed. Defaults to false.
Determines if an alternative phone number should be present for the shipping address on the checkout page. Defaults to false.
A JSON hash of different styles that are supported by attachments. Defaults to:
Depending on whether or not Spree is configured to "auto capture" the credit card, either a purchase or an authorize operation will be performed on the card (via the current credit card gateway). Defaults to false.
Determines whether or not a field for "Company" displays on the checkout pages for shipping and billing addresses. Defaults to false.
The three-letter currency code for the currency that prices will be displayed in. Defaults to "USD".
The default country's id. Defaults to 214, as this is the id for the United States within the seed data.
The path to the layout of your application, relative to the app/views directory. Defaults to spree/layouts/spree_application. To make Spree use your application's layout rather than Spree's default, use this:
Spree.config do |config|
config.layout = "application"
The number of levels to descend when viewing a taxon menu. Defaults to 1.
The number of orders to display on the orders listing in the admin backend. Defaults to 30.
Determines if prices are labelled as including tax or not. Defaults to false.
Determines if shipments should include VAT calculations. Defaults to false.
Determines if shipping instructions are requested or not when checking out. Defaults to false.
Determines if taxon descendants are shown when showing taxons. Defaults to true.
Determines if, on the admin listing screen, only completed orders should be shown. Defaults to true.
Determines if the variant's full price or price difference from a product should be displayed on the product's show page. Defaults to false.
Display the Store selector in the main nav bar of Storefront and allow users to change Store and Currency. Defaults to false.
Determines if tax information should be based on shipping address, rather than the billing address. Defaults to true.
Determines if inventory levels should be tracked when products are purchased at checkout. This option causes new InventoryUnit objects to be created when a product is bought. Defaults to true.