Last Update: 2023-07-30 18:26:06 +0200

title: Upgrading from CarrierWave

This guide is aimed at helping CarrierWave users transition to Shrine, and it consists of three parts:

  1. Explanation of the key differences in design between CarrierWave and Shrine

  2. Instructions how to migrate an existing app that uses CarrierWave to Shrine

  3. Extensive reference of CarrierWave’s interface with Shrine equivalents



Shrine shares CarrierWave’s concept of uploaders, classes which encapsulate file attachment logic for different file types:

class ImageUploader < Shrine
  # attachment logic

However, while CarrierWave uploaders are responsible for most of the attachment logic (uploading to temporary/permanent storage, retrieving the uploaded file, file validation, processing versions), Shrine distributes these responsibilities across several core classes:

Class Description
‘Shrine` handles uploads, metadata extraction, location generation
‘Shrine::UploadedFile` exposes metadata, implements downloading, URL generation, deletion
‘Shrine::Attacher` handles caching & storing, dirty tracking, persistence, versions

Shrine uploaders themselves are functional: they receive a file on the input and return the uploaded file on the output. There are no state changes.

uploader      =
uploaded_file = uploader.upload(file, :store)
uploaded_file          #=> #<Shrine::UploadedFile>
uploaded_file.url      #=> "" #=> #<File:/tmp/path/to/file>


In CarrierWave, you configure storage in global configuration:

CarrierWave.configure do |config|
  config.fog_provider = "fog/aws"
  config.fog_credentials = {
    provider:              "AWS",
    aws_access_key_id:     "abc",
    aws_secret_access_key: "xyz",
    region:                "eu-west-1",
  config.fog_directory = "my-bucket"

In Shrine, the configuration options are passed directly to the storage class:

Shrine.storages[:store] =
  bucket:            "my-bucket",
  access_key_id:     "abc",
  secret_access_key: "xyz",
  region:            "eu-west-1",

Temporary storage

Where CarrierWave’s temporary storage is hardcoded to disk, Shrine can use any storage for temporary storage. So, if you have multiple servers or want to do direct uploads, you can use AWS S3 as temporary storage:

Shrine.storages = {
  cache: "cache", **s3_options),


While CarrierWave persists only the filename of the original uploaded file, Shrine persists storage and metadata information as well:

  "id": "path/to/image.jpg",
  "storage": "store",
  "metadata": {
    "filename": "nature.jpg",
    "size": 4739472,
    "mime_type": "image/jpeg"

This way we have all information about uploaded files, without having to retrieve the file from the storage.          #=> "path/to/image.jpg"
photo.image.storage_key #=> :store
photo.image.metadata    #=> { "filename" => "...", "size" => ..., "mime_type" => "..." }

photo.image.original_filename #=> "nature.jpg"
photo.image.size              #=> 4739472
photo.image.mime_type         #=> "image/jpeg"


CarrierWave persists only the filename of the uploaded file, and recalculates the full location dynamically based on location configuration. This can be dangerous, because if some component of the location happens to change, all existing links might become invalid.

To avoid this, Shrine persists the full location on attachment, and uses it when generating file URL. So, even if you change how file locations are generated, existing files that are on old locations will still remain accessible.


CarrierWave uses a class-level DSL for generating versions, which internally uses uploader subclassing and does in-place processing.

class ImageUploader < CarrierWave::Uploader::Base
  include CarrierWave::MiniMagick

  version :large do
    process resize_to_limit: [800, 800]

  version :medium do
    process resize_to_limit: [500, 500]

  version :small do
    process resize_to_limit: [300, 300]

In contrast, in Shrine you perform processing on the instance level as a functional transformation, which is a lot simpler and more flexible:

require "image_processing/mini_magick"

class ImageUploader < Shrine
  plugin :derivatives

  Attacher.derivatives do |original|
    magick = ImageProcessing::MiniMagick.source(original)

      large:  magick.resize_to_limit!(800, 800),
      medium: magick.resize_to_limit!(500, 500),
      small:  magick.resize_to_limit!(300, 300),

Retrieving versions

When retrieving versions, CarrierWave returns a list of declared versions which may or may not have been generated. In contrast, Shrine persists data of uploaded processed files into the database (including any extracted metadata), which then becomes the source of truth on which versions have been generated.

photo.image              #=> #<Shrine::UploadedFile id="original.jpg" ...>
photo.image_derivatives  #=> {}

photo.image_derivatives! # triggers processing
photo.image_derivatives  #=>
# {
#   large:  #<Shrine::UploadedFile id="large.jpg"  metadata={"size"=>873232, ...} ...>,
#   medium: #<Shrine::UploadedFile id="medium.jpg" metadata={"size"=>94823,  ...} ...>,
#   small:  #<Shrine::UploadedFile id="small.jpg"  metadata={"size"=>37322,  ...} ...>,
# }

Reprocessing versions

Shrine doesn’t have a built-in way of regenerating versions, because that has to be written and optimized differently depending on what versions have changed which persistence library you’re using, how many records there are in the table etc.

However, there is an extensive guide for Managing Derivatives, which provides instructions on how to make these changes safely and with zero downtime.


File validation in Shrine is also instance-level, which allows using conditionals:

class ImageUploader < CarrierWave::Uploader::Base
  def extension_whitelist
    %w[jpg jpeg png webp]

  def content_type_whitelist

  def size_range
class ImageUploader < Shrine
  plugin :validation_helpers

  Attacher.validate do
    validate_max_size 10*1024*1024
    validate_extension %w[jpg jpeg png webp]

    if validate_mime_type %w[image/jpeg image/png image/webp]
      validate_max_dimensions [5000, 5000]

Custom metadata

With Shrine you can also extract and validate any custom metadata:

class VideoUploader < Shrine
  plugin :add_metadata
  plugin :validation

  add_metadata :duration do |io|

  Attacher.validate do
    if file.duration > 5*60*60
      errors << "must not be longer than 5 hours"

Multiple uploads

Shrine doesn’t have support for multiple uploads out-of-the-box like CarrierWave does. Instead, you can implement them using a separate table with a one-to-many relationship to which the files will be attached. The Multiple Files guide explains this setup in more detail.

Migrating from CarrierWave

You have an existing app using CarrierWave and you want to transfer it to Shrine. Let’s assume we have a Photo model with the “image” attachment.

1. Add Shrine column

First we need to create the image_data column for Shrine:

add_column :photos, :image_data, :text # or :json or :jsonb if supported

2. Dual write

Next, we need to make new CarrierWave attachments write to the image_data column. This can be done by including the below module to all models that have CarrierWave attachments:

# config/initializers/shrine.rb (Rails)
require "shrine"

Shrine.storages = {
  cache: ...,
  store: ...,

Shrine.plugin :model
Shrine.plugin :derivatives

module CarrierwaveShrineSynchronization
  def self.included(model)
    model.before_save do
      self.class.uploaders.each_key do |name|
        write_shrine_data(name) if changes.key?(name)

  def write_shrine_data(name)
    uploader = send(name)
    attacher = Shrine::Attacher.from_model(self, name)

    if read_attribute(name).present?
      attacher.set shrine_file(uploader)

      uploader.versions.each do |version_name, version|
        attacher.merge_derivatives(version_name => shrine_file(version))
      attacher.set nil


  def shrine_file(uploader)
    name     = uploader.mounted_as
    filename = read_attribute(name)
    location = uploader.store_path(filename)
    location = location.sub(%r{^#{storage.prefix}/}, "") if storage.prefix

      storage:  :store,
      id:       location,
      metadata: { "filename" => filename },

  def storage
class Photo < ActiveRecord::Base
  mount_uploader :image, ImageUploader
  include CarrierwaveShrineSynchronization # needs to be after `mount_uploader`

After you deploy this code, the image_data column should now be successfully synchronized with new attachments.

3. Data migration

Next step is to run a script which writes all existing CarrierWave attachments to image_data:

Photo.find_each do |photo|

4. Rewrite code

Now you should be able to rewrite your application so that it uses Shrine instead of CarrierWave (you can consult the reference in the next section). You can remove the CarrierwaveShrineSynchronization module as well.

5. Backfill metadata

You’ll notice that Shrine metadata will be absent from the migrated files’ data. You can run a script that will fill in any missing metadata defined in your Shrine uploader:

Shrine.plugin :refresh_metadata

Photo.find_each do |photo|
  attacher = photo.image_attacher

6. Remove CarrierWave column

If everything is looking good, we can remove the CarrierWave column:

remove_column :photos, :image

CarrierWave to Shrine direct mapping



When using models, by default all storages use :cache for cache, and :store for store. If you want to change that, you can use the default_storage plugin:

Shrine.storages[:foo] =*args)
class ImageUploader
  plugin :default_storage, store: :foo

.process, .version

Processing is defined by using the derivatives plugin:

class ImageUploader < Shrine
  plugin :derivatives

  Attacher.derivatives do |original|
    magick = ImageProcessing::MiniMagick.source(image)

      large:  magick.resize_to_limit!(800, 800),
      medium: magick.resize_to_limit!(500, 500),
      small:  magick.resize_to_limit!(300, 300),

.before, .after

There is no Shrine equivalent for CarrierWave’s callbacks.

#store!, #cache!

In Shrine you store and cache files by passing the corresponding storage to Shrine.upload:

ImageUploader.upload(file, :cache)
ImageUploader.upload(file, :store)

Note that in Shrine you cannot pass in a path to the file, you always have to pass an IO-like object, which is required to respond to: #read(*args), #size, #eof?, #rewind and #close.

#retrieve_from_store! and #retrieve_from_cache!

In Shrine you simply call #download on the uploaded file:

uploaded_file = ImageUploader.upload(file, :store) #=> #<Tempfile:/path/to/file>


In Shrine you call #url on uploaded files:

photo.image     #=> #<Shrine::UploadedFile>
photo.image.url #=> "/uploads/398454ujedfggf.jpg"
photo.image_url #=> "/uploads/398454ujedfggf.jpg" (shorthand)


This method corresponds to #original_filename on the uploaded file:

photo.image                   #=> #<Shrine::UploadedFile>
photo.image.original_filename #=> "avatar.jpg"

#store_dir, #cache_dir

Shrine here provides a single #generate_location method that’s triggered for all storages:

class ImageUploader < Shrine
  def generate_location(io, record: nil, name: nil, **)
    [ storage_key,
      record &&,
      record &&,
      io.original_filename ].compact.join("/")

You might also want to use the pretty_location plugin for automatically generating an organized folder structure.


For default URLs you can use the default_url plugin:

class ImageUploader < Shrine
  plugin :default_url

  Attacher.default_url do |derivative: nil, **|
    "/fallbacks/#{derivative || "original"}.jpg"

#extension_white_list, #extension_black_list

In Shrine, extension whitelisting/blacklisting is a part of validations, and is provided by the validation_helpers plugin:

class ImageUploader < Shrine
  plugin :validation_helpers

  Attacher.validate do
    validate_extension_inclusion %w[jpg jpeg png] # whitelist
    validate_extension_exclusion %w[php]          # blacklist

#content_type_whitelist, #content_type_blacklist

In Shrine, MIME type whitelisting/blacklisting is part of validations, and is provided by the validation_helpers plugin, though it doesn’t support regexes:

class ImageUploader < Shrine
  plugin :validation_helpers

  Attacher.validate do
    validate_mime_type_inclusion %w[image/jpeg image/png] # whitelist
    validate_mime_type_exclusion %w[text/x-php]           # blacklist

Make sure to also load the determine_mime_type plugin to detect MIME type from file content.

# Gemfile
gem "mimemagic"
Shrine.plugin :determine_mime_type, analyzer: :mimemagic


In Shrine file size validations are typically done using the validation_helpers plugin:

class ImageUploader < Shrine
  plugin :validation_helpers

  Attacher.validate do
    validate_size 0..5*1024*1024 # 5 MB


Shrine doesn’t have a built-in way of regenerating versions, because that’s very individual and depends on what versions you want regenerated, what ORM are you using, how many records there are in your database etc. The Managing Derivatives guide provides some useful tips on this task.


The only thing that Shrine requires from your models is a <attachment>_data column (e.g. if your attachment is “image”, you need the image_data column).


In Shrine you make include attachment modules directly:

Shrine.plugin :sequel
class User < Sequel::Model
  include ImageUploader::Attachment(:avatar)


The attachment module adds an attachment setter:

photo.image ="avatar.jpg", "rb")

Note that unlike CarrierWave, you cannot pass in file paths, the input needs to be an IO-like object.


CarrierWave returns the uploader, but Shrine returns a Shrine::UploadedFile, a representation of the file uploaded to the storage:

photo.image #=> #<Shrine::UploadedFile>
photo.image.methods #=> [:url, :download, :read, :exists?, :delete, ...]

If attachment is missing, nil is returned.


This method is simply a shorthand for “if attachment is present, call #url on it, otherwise return nil”:

photo.image_url #=> nil
photo.image ="avatar.jpg", "rb")
photo.image_url #=> "/uploads/ksdf934rt.jpg"

The derivatives plugin extends this method to also accept a version name as the argument (photo.image_url(:thumb)).


Shrine has the cached_attachment_data plugin, which gives model a reader method that you can use for retaining the cached file:

Shrine.plugin :cached_attachment_data
form_for @photo do |f|
  f.hidden_field :image, value: @photo.cached_image_data, id: nil
  f.file_field :image


In Shrine this method is provided by the remote_url plugin.


In Shrine this method is provided by the remove_attachment plugin.


This section walks through various configuration options in CarrierWave, and shows what are Shrine’s equivalents.

root, base_path, permissions, directory_permissions

In Shrine these are configured on the FileSystem storage directly.

storage, storage_engines

As mentioned before, in Shrine you register storages through Shrine.storages, and the attachment storages will automatically be :cache and :store, but you can change this with the default_storage plugin.

delete_tmp_file_after_storage, remove_previously_stored_file_after_update

By default Shrine deletes cached and replaced files, but you can choose to keep those files by loading the keep_files plugin:

Shrine.plugin :keep_files

move_to_cache, move_to_store

You can tell the FileSystem storage that it should move files by specifying the :move upload option:

Shrine.plugin :upload_options, cache: { move: true }, store: { move: true }

validate_integrity, ignore_integrity_errors

Shrine does this with validation, which are best done with the validation_helpers plugin:

class ImageUploader < Shrine
  plugin :validation_helpers

  Attacher.validate do
    # Evaluated inside an instance of Shrine::Attacher.
    if record.guest?
      validate_max_size 2*1024*1024, message: "must not be larger than 2 MB"
      validate_mime_type %w[image/jpg image/png image/webp]

validate_download, ignore_download_errors

Shrine’s remote_url plugin always rescues download errors and transforms them to validation errors.

validate_processing, ignore_processing_errors

In Shrine processing is performed after validations, and typically asynchronously in a background job, so it is expected that you validate files before processing.


You can just add conditionals in processing code.


No equivalent, it depends on your application whether you need the form to be multipart or not.


You can use {Shrine::Storage::S3} (built-in), {Shrine::Storage::GoogleCloudStorage}, or generic {Shrine::Storage::Fog} storage. The reference will assume you’re using S3 storage.

:fog_credentials, :fog_directory

The S3 Shrine storage accepts :access_key_id, :secret_access_key, :region, and :bucket options in the initializer:
  access_key_id:     "...",
  secret_access_key: "...",
  region:            "...",
  bucket:            "...",


The object data can be configured via the :upload_options hash: { content_disposition: "attachment" }, **options)


The object permissions can be configured with the :acl upload option: { acl: "private" }, **options)


The #url method accepts the :expires_in option, you can set the default expiration with the url_options plugin:

plugin :url_options, store: { expires_in: 600 }

:fog_use_ssl_for_aws, :fog_aws_accelerate

Shrine allows you to override the S3 endpoint: true, **options)