We backport Ruby gems
to old versions of Rails or Ruby

Ruby Backports is a service to backport gems to discontinued versions of Ruby or Rails.
E.g. we will port a gem of your choice to Ruby 1.8.7, Rails 2.3 or Rails 3.0

Why backport a gem?

The world of Ruby has little tradition of preserving backward compatibility. Public APIs change frequently, existing code often breaks after an upgrade.

By backporting a gem you can use modern libraries without having to upgrade your Rails or Ruby. Or you might want to port a security patch to a version branch that is no longer maintained by the community.

Are you the right team for the job?

We're the people behind Rails LTS, so we know about issues of backward compatibility and the idiosyncrasies of old versions of Rails and Ruby. Imagine an office with 12 people spending their day working on apps ranging from Ruby on Rails 2.3 to 4.1, from Ruby 1.8.7 to 2.1: That's us. We've been doing this since 2007 (circa Rails 1.2). We have the longest beard you can grow for this.

In addition to maintaining legacy Rails versions, there is a large number of gems that we backported to 1.8.7 or keep compatible with multiple versions of Rails (including tests). Here are some:

Will you backport everything?

We will port almost everything. There are some cases when we will question if a gem is a good candidate for efficient backporting. For example:

  • The gem is huge, but has no test suite or documentation
  • The gem has a wall of dependencies on other gems that would need to be ported as well
  • The gem depends on a feature of modern Rails that is very costly to re-implement
If you're unsure if your gem fits the bill, talk to us.

Will you maintain it afterwards?

Once you commission us, we will backport the gem in its current state. We will not maintain it afterwards, or fix bugs other than bugs introduced by the porting process. However, you can always commission us to port upstream changes later on.

Will you backport tests?

If the gem has tests, we will usually backport them. If the gem has no tests, we might add some if we feel it aids the porting process.

What will it cost me?

Tell us the gem you'd like us to port and we will send you an offer. Here is what you can expect in terms of cost:

  • For small, well-tested or well-designed gems we will usually make a fixed-price offer.
  • For gems that are very complex or untested, we will usually send a cost estimate and charge by the hour (note that as a software consultancy we have extensive experience with time-based billing and will provide tools and reports to keep costs transparent and manageable).

We offer some discounts as well:

  • If you're cool with us publishing the backported gem as open source on Github we give you 15% off. We will also mention your organisation as the backport's sponsor in the README.
  • If you are a paying subscriber to Rails LTS, we give you an additional 10% off.

How will I get my gem?

We can either e-mail you the files or give you access to a Git remote.

How fast can you ship it?

It usually takes us a couple of days or weeks. The exact time depends on the size of the task and our current project load. When you contact us for a quote, we will include information about delivery time.

Awesome! How can I start?

Please send a message to contact@rubybackports.com with the following information:

  • The URL of the gem
  • The target platform (e.g. Ruby 1.8.7, Rails 2.3)

We will reply with additional questions or a quote.

Our address:
makandra GmbH
Werner-von-Siemens-Str. 6
86159 Augsburg
Contact us:
+49 821 58866 180
Commercial register court:
Augsburg Municipal Court
Register number:
HRB 24202
Sales tax identification number:
Chief executive officers:
Henning Koch
Thomas Eisenbarth
Header image based on a photo by Lnk.Si.   Ruby icon by FatCow Web Hosting.