Turbo Frames and Turbo Streams: Understanding the Key Components of Turbo Hotwire in Rails 7

Understanding the Key Components of Turbo Hotwire in Rails 7
Asad Ahmed
Asad Ahmed
April 14, 2023

Rails 7 has brought a paradigm shift in web development with the introduction of Turbo Hotwire, a cutting-edge technology that simplifies building fast, interactive web applications. Turbo Hotwire consists of two key components: Turbo Frames and Turbo Streams, which work in tandem to create seamless user experiences. In this blog post, we will explore these core concepts in-depth, discussing their benefits and use cases in Rails 7 applications.

Turbo Frames: Redefining Partial Page Updates

Turbo Frames is a powerful feature that allows developers to perform partial page updates, eliminating the need for full-page reloads. This results in a faster, more efficient user experience. By leveraging the power of frames, Turbo Frames enables developers to update specific sections of a webpage without affecting the rest of the content.

How Turbo Frames Work

Turbo Frames is built around the concept of "frames," which are individual HTML elements that can be updated independently from the rest of the page. By wrapping a section of your HTML in a Turbo Frame, you can isolate that portion of the page and update it without affecting other elements.

To create a Turbo Frame, you simply add a turbo-frame tag with a unique identifier to your HTML code:

When a link or form within a Turbo Frame is clicked or submitted, only the content within that frame is updated, resulting in a more efficient and responsive user experience.

Benefits of Turbo Frames

Improved performance: By reducing the need for full-page reloads, Turbo Frames can significantly enhance the speed and responsiveness of your Rails 7 application.

Simplified development: With Turbo Frames, developers can focus on server-side rendering and minimize the complexity of client-side JavaScript code.

Enhanced maintainability: Turbo Frames encourage a modular approach to web development, making it easier to manage and maintain your codebase.

Graceful degradation: Turbo Frames are designed to degrade gracefully in browsers that do not support JavaScript or have JavaScript disabled, ensuring a functional experience for all users.

Turbo Streams: Real-Time Updates Made Easy

Turbo Streams is another powerful component of Turbo Hotwire, designed to handle real-time updates in Rails 7 applications. It enables developers to send updates to the client via WebSocket connections, allowing for instant updates without the need for page refreshes.

How Turbo Streams Work

Turbo Streams leverages ActionCable, Rails' built-in WebSocket framework, to establish a persistent connection between the client and the server. Developers can then use server-rendered HTML to update the DOM efficiently.

To use Turbo Streams, you will need to create a Turbo Stream template that defines the actions you want to perform on the client-side DOM. These actions can include appending, updating, or removing elements.

For example, a Turbo Stream template to update a specific element might look like this:

By sending this Turbo Stream template to the client, the server can perform the specified action and update the DOM in real-time.

Benefits of Turbo Streams

Seamless real-time updates: Turbo Streams enable developers to create highly dynamic and interactive applications that update in real-time, providing a better user experience.

Reduced client-side complexity: By relying on server-rendered HTML updates, Turbo Streams minimize the need for complex JavaScript code on the client side.

Scalable architecture: Turbo Streams can easily accommodate an increasing number of users and real-time updates, making it a suitable solution for both small and large-scale applications.

Optimized performance: By leveraging WebSockets and server-rendered updates, Turbo Streams can significantly reduce the amount of data transferred between the client and server, leading to faster and more efficient updates.

Easy integration with existing Rails applications: Turbo Streams builds upon the foundation of ActionCable, making it easier for developers to integrate real-time updates into their existing Rails projects.


Turbo Frames and Turbo Streams, the key components of Turbo Hotwire in Rails 7, are revolutionizing web development by providing a faster, more efficient way to build interactive applications. Turbo Frames offers an elegant solution for partial page updates, while Turbo Streams ensures seamless real-time updates. Together, these features create a powerful toolset for developers, enabling the creation of highly responsive and dynamic applications with minimal client-side complexity.

By harnessing the power of Turbo Frames and Turbo Streams, Rails 7 is poised to set a new standard for modern web development. As developers continue to explore the capabilities of these technologies, we can expect to see even more innovative applications and use cases in the future. The Turbo Hotwire ecosystem offers a bright and promising outlook for web developers, pushing the boundaries of what's possible in creating seamless, efficient, and engaging user experiences.

If you found this content interesting and want to join a team that's at the forefront of web development, we encourage you to check out our careers page and explore the open positions!. We're always looking for talented individuals who are passionate about building innovative applications and creating engaging user experiences.

About the author

Asad Ahmed

Asad is a Full Stack Developer based out of Kitchener, ON.