Like a lot of back end folks I suspect I’m not alone when I look at a project like Font Awesome and go “Great Work; damn if I know how to actually use that.” I’d normally toss it over the wall to a front end guy like my buddy Dv but this is for my side project so I’m all alone on this one. Since I really, really don’t feel that I understand the world of front end work and CSS / SCSS very well I thought I’d write it all down for you (and myself).

Here’s what not to do

I took a number of wrong steps:

  • I watched this video and it is really good – except for the specific steps he gave me didn’t work. I really don’t understand why and it might have been me.
  • I used the font-awesome-sass gem and it too failed me hard.
  • Don’t follow the Stack Overflow post here.

In all of the above cases I got the error No route matches [GET] “/assets/fontawesome-webfont.ttf” and I just couldn’t get past it. The Stack Overflow post might have ultimately gotten me there but it did take me to a different gem – font-awesome-rails discussed in the next section.

You should note that I don’t meant to malign any of the urls in the above material – I’m not a css / front end guy by any means. All I did was some simple googles and the processes I was taken through ultimately didn’t work and I blew over an hour of development time to find that out.

Here’s What To Do

What you actually need is to do the following:

  1. Install the font-awesome-rails gem. Just add gem “font-awesome-rails” to your Gemfile and then do the bundle install dance.
  2. In your application.css.scss file add the line: @import “font-awesome”;
  3. Stop and start your rails server.
  4. Add to a test .html.erb view file this line**: fa_icon “camera-retro” ** (you’ll probably need to enclose that in output tags using %= and angle braces)
  5. Render that test .html.erb view file in your browser and you should see a camera icon. What this is doing behind the scenes is outputting this html:

Useful Resources

Here are some important urls: