Introducing Serial, a light-weight no-magic serialization library (for Ruby, and Rails)

This post was originally published on the Elabs blog, before Elabs and Varvet joined forces.

Jonas and I created a serialization library recently while working on ProjectPuzzle, it’s named Serial.

Serial will generate a Hash or an Array of hashes from an object of your choosing. It has a very small API surface, and is designed to be easy to reason about. It’s suitable for where you’d use YourModel#as_json, ActiveModel::Serializers, or JBuilder. It could look something like this:

# app/serializers/person_serializer.rb
PersonSerializer = do |h, person|
  h.attribute(:url, account_person_path(person.account, person))
  h.attribute(:assignable, policy(person).assignable?)
  h.attribute(:skills,, person.groups, &GroupSerializer)

# app/controllers/api/people_controller.rb
include Serial::RailsHelpers
def index
  people = People.all
  render json: { people: serialize(people) }

You’re very welcome to have a look, you can find it at, we’d love to hear what you think!