View Source Project Structure

In this guide we'll discuss some best practices for how to structure your project. These recommendations align well with Elixir conventions around file and module naming. These conventions allow for a logical coupling of module and file names, and help keep your project organized and easy to navigate.

These are recommendations

None of the things we show you here are requirements, only recommendations. Feel free to plot your own course here. Ash avoids any pattern that requires you to name a file or module in a specific way, or put them in a specific place. This ensures that all connections between one module and another module are explicit rather than implicit.

lib/ # top level lib folder for your whole project
 my_app/ # your app's main namespace
   accounts/ # The Accounts context
     user/ # resource w/ additional files
     user.ex # The resource file
     token.ex # A resource without additional files
     password_helper.ex # A non-resource file
     accounts.ex # The Accounts domain module
   helpdesk/ # A Helpdesk context
     notification.ex # A resource without additional files
     other_file.ex # A non-resource file
     ticket/ # A resource with additional files
       preparations/ # Components of the resource, grouped by type
     ticket.ex # The resource file

Generally speaking, your Ash application lives in the standard place within your elixir application, i.e lib/my_app. Within that folder, you create one folder for each context that you have. Each context has an Ash.Domain module within it, and the resources that live within that context. All resource interaction ultimately goes through a domain module.

Alongside the domain module, you have your resources, as well as any other files used in the context. If a resource has any additional files that are used to implement it, they should be placed in a folder with the same name as the resource, in subfolders grouping the files by type. Feel free to choose another logical grouping, but we've found by-type to be effective.

Where do I put X thing

The purpose of Ash is to be both the model of and the interface to your domain logic (A.K.A business logic). Applying this generally looks like building as much of your domain logic "behind" your resources. This does not mean, however, that everything has to go inside of your resources. For example, if you have a Purchase resource, and you want to be able to display a list of purchases that were taxable, and also calculate the percentage of the purchase that was taxable. You might have an action called :taxable and a calculation called :percentage_tax.

Example 1: Reads & Calculations

actions do

  read :taxable do
    filter expr(taxable == true)

calculations do
  calculate :percentage_tax, :decimal, expr(
    sum(line_items, field: :amount, query: [filter: tax == true]) /
    sum(line_items, field: :amount)

In practice, you may not need the taxable action, i.e perhaps you simply want a "taxable" checkbox on a list view in your application, in which case you may use the primary read, or some other read like :transaction_report. You would then, on the consumer, provide the filter for taxable == true, and load the :percentage_tax calculation.

Example 2: Using external data in create actions

Lets say you want the user to fill in a github issue id, and you will fetch information from that github issue to use as part of creating a "ticket" in your system.. You might be tempted to do something like this in a LiveView:

def handle_event("link_ticket", %{"issue_id" => issue_id}, socket) do
  issue_info = GithubApi.get_issue(issue_id)

  MyApp.Support.update_ticket(socket.assigns.ticket_id, %{issue_info: %{
    title: issue_info.title,
    body: issue_info.body

But this is putting business logic inside of your UI/representation layer. Instead, you should write an action and put this logic inside of it.

defmodule MyApp.Ticket.FetchIssueInfo do
  use Ash.Resource.Change

  def change(changeset, _, _) do
    Ash.Changeset.before_transaction(changeset, fn changeset ->
      issue_info = GithubApi.get_issue(changeset.arguments.issue_id)

      Ash.Changeset.force_change_attributes(changeset, %{
        issue_info: %{
          title: issue_info.title,
          body: issue_info.body

Then you'd have an action like this:

update :link_ticket do
  argument :issue_id, :string, allow_nil?: false

  change MyApp.Ticket.FetchIssueInfo

This cleanly encapsulates the operation behind the resource, even while the code for fetching the github issue still lives in a GitHubApi module.