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April 1, 2009
5 thanks

Ordering of format blocks is important

The order in which your format blocks appear, like:

format.html { } format.js { }

are used to infer priority in cases where the appropriate format is ambiguous.

March 31, 2009
3 thanks

Sorting Hashes with Symbol Keys

To sort a hash with symbol keys, use Enumerable#sort_by:

h = { :a => 20, :b => 30, :c => 10  }
h.sort                       # => NoMethodError: undefined method `<=>' for :a:Symbol
h.sort_by { |k,v| k.to_s }   # => [[:a, 20], [:b, 30], [:c, 10]]
March 31, 2009 - (v2.0.0 - v2.3.2)
3 thanks

Override fieldWithErrors markup in Rails > v2

The code posted by @hosiawak will still work in recent versions of Rails, but maybe a more current, idiomatic way to do it is to stick this inside the Rails::Initializer block in environment.rb (obviously you’ll also need to restart your server to pick up the config change):

config.action_view.field_error_proc = Proc.new {|html_tag, instance| 
  %(<span class="fieldWithErrors">#{html_tag}</span>)}
March 27, 2009
4 thanks

Hour with/without preceding zero

One gotcha is the difference between the hour in 12 hour time with and without a preceding zero. In some fonts they look the same.

With preceding zero (capital I)

Time.now.strftime("%I:%M") # => 05:21

Without preceding zero (lowercase L)

Time.now.strftime("%l:%M") # => 5:21
March 27, 2009
4 thanks


Here’s how to use it, just so it’s perfectly clear:

skip_before_filter :method_to_skip, :only => [:method_name]
March 27, 2009
4 thanks

multiple filter example

actually you can have it even shorter with:

before_filter :authorize, :set_locale, :except => :login
March 23, 2009 - (v2.3.2)
4 thanks

So, how do you enable db sessions?

First, run:

rake db:sessions:create

Then, run your pending migrations. This will create the migration you need to run in order to create the sessions table.

Second, go into config/environment.rb and uncomment or put in:

config.action_controller.session_store = :active_record_store
config.action_controller.session = {
   :session_key => '_your_session_name_here',

Third, get yourself a secure key with:

rake secret

And finally, paste your new key into the :secret above.

March 21, 2009
4 thanks

Passing optional arguments with defaults to a named_scope

An easy way to do this. (This also shows how you can use joins in a named_scope as well.)

Class User << ActiveRecord::Base
belongs_to :semester 

named_scope :year, lambda { |*year|
  if year.empty? || year.first.nil?
    { :joins => :semester, :conditions => ["year = #{CURRENT_SEMESTER}"]}
    { :joins => :semester, :conditions => ["year = #{year}"]}


You can then call:

User.year     # defaults to CURRENT_SEMESTER constant
User.year()  # same as above
User.year(nil)  # same as above; useful if passing a param value that may or may not exist, ie, param[:year]
March 21, 2009
7 thanks

Use helpers in your ActionMailer views

It’s very easy to give your mailer access to helpers:

# Let your mailer user the ApplicationHelper methods
class MyMailer < ActionMailer::Base
  helper :application
March 20, 2009 - (>= v2.0.0)
9 thanks

Use the current URL, with changes

You can use the current URL, whatever it is, with changes, as in:

# Create a link to the current page in RSS form
url_for(:overwrite_params => {:format => :rss})

This can be super-helpful because it preserves any GET params (like search parameters)

March 18, 2009
4 thanks

Better autopad numbers

There is a much better way than to use diwadn’s method if you want to pad numbers with zeros. Here’s my recommended way to do it:

"Number: %010d" % 12345 #=> "Number: 0000012345"

It’s very easy. First we begin our placeholder with “%”, then we specify a zero (0) to signify padding with zeros. If we omitted this zero, the number would be padded with spaces instead. When we have done that, just specify the target length of the string. At last a single “d” is placed to signify that we are inserting a number.

Please see String#% and Kernel#sprintf for more information about how to do this.

Here’s another example of how to do it:

12345.to_s.rjust(10, "0") #=> "0000012345"

See String#rjust for more information.

Any of these methods are a lot better than the method outlined below.

March 12, 2009
3 thanks
March 12, 2009
12 thanks

User a block to extend your associations

You can use blocks to extend your associations with extra methods.

code sample

has_many :children, :dependent => :destroy do
  def at(time)
    proxy_owner.children.find_with_deleted :all, :conditions => [
      "created_at <= :time AND (deleted_at > :time OR deleted_at IS NULL)", { :time => time }

Model.children.each # do stuff
Model.children.at( 1.week.ago ).each # do old stuff

you must use ‘proxy_owner’ to link back to your model.

March 10, 2009 - (>= v2.1.0)
8 thanks

Use lambda to avoid caching of generated query

If you’re using a named_scope that includes a changing variable you need to wrap it in a lambda to avoid the query being cached and thus becoming unaffected by future changes to the variable, example:

named_scope :translated, :conditions => { :locale => I18n.locale }

Will always return the same locale after the first hit even though I18n.locale might change. So do this instead:

named_scope :translated, lambda { { :conditions => { :locale => I18n.locale } } }

Ugly, but at least it’s working as we expect it…

March 5, 2009
7 thanks

String#match will match single token only

>> s = “{{person}} ate {{thing}}”

> “{{person}} ate {{thing}}”

>> r = /{{(.*?)}}/

> {{}}

>> s.match®.captures

> [“person”]

Using String#scan pulls out all tokens you were searching for:

>> s.scan®.flatten

> [“person”, “thing”]

March 4, 2009
10 thanks

Differences between normal or-assign operator

Differences between this method and normal memoization with ||=:

  • memoize works with false/nil values

  • Potential arguments are memoized

Take the following example:

def allowed?
  @allowed ||= begin
    # Big calculation
    puts "Worked"

allowed? # Outputs "Worked"
allowed? # Outputs "Worked" again

Since @allowed is set to false (this is also applicable with nil), the ||= operator will move on the the next statement and will not be short-circuited.

When you use memoize you will not have this problem.

def allowed?
  # Big calculation
  puts "Worked"
memoize :allowed?

allowed? # Outputs "Worked"
allowed? # No output

Now, look at the case where we have parameters:

def random(max=10)
  @random ||= rand(max)

random     # => 4
random     # => 4 -- Yay!
random(20) # => 4 -- Oops!

Better use memoize again!

def random(max=10)
memoize :random

random     # => 6
random     # => 6 -- Yay!
random(20) # => 12 -- Double-Yay!
random     # => 6 -- Head a'splode
March 4, 2009
5 thanks


This defines attr_accessors at a class level instead of instance level.

class Foo
  cattr_accessor :greeting

Foo.greeting = "Hello"

This could be compared to, but is not the same as doing this:

class Bar
  class << self
    attr_accessor :greeting

Bar.greeting = "Hello"

The difference might not be apparent at first, but cattr_accessor will make the accessor inherited to the instances:

Foo.new.greeting #=> "Hello"
Bar.new.greeting # NoMethodError: undefined method `greeting' for #<Bar:0x18e4d78>

This inheritance is also not copy-on-write in case you assumed that:

Foo.greeting  #=> "Hello"
foo1, foo2 = Foo.new, Foo.new

foo1.greeting = "Hi!"

Foo.greeting  #=> "Hi!"
foo2.greeting #=> "Hi!"

This makes it possible to share common state (queues, semaphores, etc.), configuration (max value, etc.) or temporary values through this.

March 3, 2009
9 thanks

File class documentation

Most of the File class documentation is located in IO class docs. What you see here is what ‘ftools’ gives you.

February 27, 2009
6 thanks

Extend with an anonymous module

You can extend with an anonymous module for one-off cases that won’t be repeated:

belongs_to :container, :polymorphic => true, :extend => ( Module.new do
    def find_target
  end )

The parentheses are important, will fail silently without them.

February 24, 2009
9 thanks

Specialized versions of find with method_missing

Check ActiveRecord::Base.method_missing for documentation on the family of “magic” find methods (find_by_x, find_all_by_x, find_or_create_by_x, etc.).

February 24, 2009 - (>= v2.2.1)
5 thanks

ATM does not work in Rails 2.3 Edge

add to test/spec_helper to make it work again…

#spec_helper / test_helper
include ActionController::TestProcess
February 23, 2009 - (>= v2.0.0)
6 thanks

Nested with_options

You can nest with_options blocks, and you can even use the same name for the block parameter each time. E.g.:

class Product
  with_options :dependent => :destroy do |product|
    product.with_options :class_name => 'Media' do |product|
      product.has_many :images, :conditions => {:content_type => 'image'}
      product.has_many :videos, :conditions => {:content_type => 'video'}

    product.has_many :comments
February 22, 2009
3 thanks

CAUTION! :frequency option description is misleading

To use event-based observer, don’t supply :frequency param at all. :frequency => 0 causes JS error.

Use this option only if time-based observer is what you need.

February 20, 2009
5 thanks

Static and dynamic attachments

You can attach static files directly:

attachment :content_type => "image/jpeg", :body => File.read("someimage.jpg")

and you can also define attachments dynamically by using a block:

attachment "text/csv" do |a|
  a.body = my_data.to_csv
February 18, 2009
4 thanks

Turn off for individual controllers/actions

To disable protection for all actions in your controller use skip_before_filter:

skip_before_filter :verify_authenticity_token

You can also pass :only and :except to disable protection for specific actions, e.g:

skip_before_filter :verify_authenticity_token, :only => :index
February 17, 2009
4 thanks

Date_select with assert_valid_keys

If you are using date_select with assert_valid_keys you have to allow 3 parameters named field(1i), field(2i) and field(3i).

For example with field

date_select("post", "written_on")

You have to allow following fields:

  'written_on(1i)', 'written_on(2i)', 'written_on(3i)'
February 17, 2009
7 thanks

Usage examples

Basic usage:

User.should_receive(:find).with(:all, anything).and_return("hello world")


User.find(:all, :conditions => "foo")  #=> "hello world"

But you can also use blocks for more complex matching logic. For example:

User.should_receive(:find) { |*args|
  if args.size == 2
    "received two arguments"
    "something else"


User.find(:all, :conditions => "bar")  #=> "received two arguments"
User.find(5)                           #=> "something else"

Of course normally you’d return mocks instead of strings.

February 17, 2009
9 thanks

Empty elements

If you want to output an empty element (self-closed) like “br”, “img” or “input”, use the tag method instead.

February 16, 2009
6 thanks

Usage example

Some examples:

# Remove even numbers
(1..30).reject { |n| n % 2 == 0 }
# => [1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29]

# Remove years dividable with 4 (this is *not* the full leap years rule)
(1950..2000).reject { |y| y % 4 != 0 }
# => [1952, 1956, 1960, 1964, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000]

# Remove users with karma below arithmetic mean
total = users.inject(0) { |total, user| total += user.karma }
mean = total / users.size
good_users = users.reject { |u| u.karma < mean }