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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 }
February 13, 2009
3 thanks

New test syntax

You can use either one and even mix in the same test case if you want:

class Test < Test::Unit::TestCase
  # old way to define a test method (prefix with test_)
  def test_should_be_valid_without_content
    assert Comment.new.valid?

  # new way to define a test
  test "should be valid without content" do
    assert Comment.new.valid?
February 12, 2009
4 thanks

Real life use

If you’re wondering what the base64 format is used for, here are some examples:

  • HTTP Basic authentication: encode your username and password as one string, and add it as a header of an HTTP request. When a page requiring basic authentication gets called from a browser it results in a generic Username/Password dialog from that browser. See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_access_authentication

  • Encode the binary content of images to base64 and embed it in XML documents, for example in web services

  • For more information see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Base64

Just note that the encoded (character) data is about 30% larger than un-encoded (binary) data.

February 12, 2009
4 thanks

Binary files

Another real important flag is b when dealing with binary files. For example to download an mp3 from the internet you need to pass the b flag or the data will be screwed up:

# Downloads a binary file from the internet
require 'open-uri'
url = "http://fubar/song.mp3"
open(url, 'rb') do |mp3|
  File.open("local.mp3", 'wb') do |file|

Don’t say you haven’t been warned. :)

February 12, 2009
3 thanks

Other regular-expression modifiers

Likewise you can set Regexp::IGNORECASE directly on the regexp with the literal syntax:

# This will match "first", "First" and even "fiRSt"

Even more modifiers

  • o – Perform #{} interpolations only once, the first time the regexp literal is evaluated.

  • x – Ignores whitespace and allows comments in * regular expressions

  • u, e, s, n – Interpret the regexp as Unicode (UTF-8), EUC, SJIS, or ASCII. If none of these modifiers is specified, the regular expression is assumed to use the source encoding.

Literal to the rescue

Like string literals delimited with %Q, Ruby allows you to begin your regular expressions with %r followed by a delimiter of your choice.

This is useful when the pattern you are describing contains a lot of forward slash characters that you don’t want to escape:

# This will match "http://"
February 12, 2009
4 thanks

Literal syntax

As you propably know you can create an Array either with the constructor or the literal syntax:

Array.new == []
# => true

But there is also another nice and concise literal syntax for creating Arrays of Strings:

["one", "two", "three"] == %w[one two three]
# => true

You can use any kind of parenthesis you like after the %w, either (), [] or {}. I prefer the square brackets because it looks more like an array.

February 12, 2009
4 thanks

Useful scenario

This can be quite useful, for example when writing a command line script which takes a number of options.


Let’s say you want to make a script that can make the basic CRUD operations. So want to be able to call it like this from the command line:

> my_script create
> my_script delete

The following script allows you to use any abbreviated command as long as it is unambiguous.

# my_script.rb
require 'abbrev'

command = ARGV.first
actions = %w[create read update delete]
mappings = Abbrev::abbrev(actions)
puts mappings[command]

That means you can call it like this:

> my_script cr
> my_script d

And it will print:

February 10, 2009
8 thanks

Security issue with non-HTML formats

Please note that using default to_xml or to_json methods can lead to security holes, as these method expose all attributes of your model by default, including salt, crypted_password, permissions, status or whatever you might have.

You might want to override these methods in your models, e.g.:

def to_xml
  super( :only => [ :login, :first_name, :last_name ] )

Or consider not using responds_to at all, if you only want to provide HTML.

February 10, 2009
3 thanks

Cheat Sheet

I have written a short introduction and a colorful cheat sheet for Perl Compatible Regular Expressions (PCRE) as used by Ruby’s Regexp class:


February 9, 2009
5 thanks
February 7, 2009 - (>= v2.2.1)
3 thanks


This method is deprecated. You should use:

February 4, 2009
3 thanks

Multiline regexps

A shortcut for multiline regular expressions is

/First line.*Other line/m

(notice the trailing /m)

For example:

text = <<-END
  Hello world!
  This is a test.

text.match(/world.*test/m).nil?  #=> false
text.match(/world.*test/).nil?   #=> true
February 3, 2009
3 thanks

Possible gotcha

Please note that exists? doesn’t hold all the conventions of find, i.e. you can’t do:

Person.exists?(:conditions => ['name LIKE ?', "%#{query}%"]) # DOESN'T WORK!
February 3, 2009
3 thanks

Nothing here

You’re probably looking for I18n::Backend::Simple.

February 3, 2009
4 thanks

This method will still rewrite all the values of the table

Even if you update only a small boolean flag on your record, update_attribute will generate an UPDATE statement that will include all the fields of the record, including huge BLOB and TEXT columns. Take this in account.

February 1, 2009 - (v2.2.1)
3 thanks

You can't use Symbols, but you can use Regexps

You can’t use Symbol (although Symbol is accepted with render :action => :new), like:

assert_template :new # WON'T WORK!

But you can use Regexp, e.g.:

assert_template /new/ # WORKS OK

Note that the String matched with your Regexp is the full path to the template relative to the view/ directory of your app, so this will not work:

assert_template /^new$/ # WON'T WORK!

However this might:

assert_template /^employees\/new.html.haml$/
January 30, 2009 - (v1.2.0 - v2.1.0)
3 thanks

Hash conditions require explicit key and value

When condition passed as hash, the behavior is different from a finder method. Finder methods, such as:

find(:all, :user=>user)

will apply the user_id = user.id convention, provided user is an association (e.g. belongs_to :user). The exists? method will not do the same. You must specify the foreign key name and value explicitly, i.e:

January 27, 2009 - (>= v2.2.1)
5 thanks

Getting the object in a partial

If you need to get the object for the form inside a partial, and can’t use the instance variable, use the #object method… This is particularly useful when you’re dealing with single-table inheritance subclasses (e.g. MyOtherClass inherits from MyClass) or when you are using the same partial across different controllers.


<% form_for(@my_object) do %>
  <%= render :partial => 'form' %>
  <%= submit_tag 'Create' %>
<% end %>


<% if f.object.class.is_a? MyClass %>
 <%# do something... %>
<% elsif f.object.is_a? MyOtherClass %>
  <%# do something else... %>
<% end %>
January 27, 2009
7 thanks

Use collect in nested content_tags

Remember to use #collect instead of #each in nested content_tags

arr = ['a','b','c']
content_tag :div do 
  arr.collect { |letter| content_tag(:scan, letter) 
#=> <div>
#      <scan>a</scan>
#      <scan>b</scan>
#      <scan>c</scan>
#   </div>

If you used #each you would get this (which is probably a mistake):

#=> <div>
#      abc
#   </div>
January 26, 2009
5 thanks

two ways to disable single table inheritance

  1. Don’t use the column name ‘type’

  2. Or if the first is no option for you: Tell Rails to look for a not existing column like:

class MyModel < ActiveRecord::Base

  # disable STI
  inheritance_column = :_type_disabled
January 26, 2009 - (>= v2.2.1)
3 thanks

alternative (working with 2.2.X)


January 25, 2009
3 thanks

Routes = RouteSet.new

In config/routes.rb you can see this:

ActionController::Routing::Routes.draw do |map|

If you want to look at the code in ActionController::Routing you won’t find the definition of Routes. That’s because it’s actually an instance of the class RouteSet, defined in action_controller/routing.rb

Routes = RouteSet.new