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Good notes posted to Ruby on Rails

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October 26, 2010
4 thanks

null to no effects

change_column will not query to replace the null values when you change null to false, even if you have a default set. This may cause the query to fail (may depend on the database used).

change_column_null will optionally take a value to replace nulls if you are setting null to false. If you want to set a default and disallow nulls you likely can’t do both in one change_column call.

October 20, 2010
6 thanks

use raw() instead

Don’t use this method unless you’re sure your string isn’t nil. Instead use the raw() method, which wont raise an exception on nil.

October 16, 2010 - (>= v3.0.0)
11 thanks

needs to be paired with respond_to

Needs to be paired with respond_to at the top of your class.

class MyController < ApplicationController
  respond_to :js, :html
October 13, 2010
12 thanks

Sending array parameters

Another technique to use when you need to send an array parameter is pass in the :multiple option.

check_box("puppy", "commands", {:multiple => true}, "sit", nil)
check_box("puppy", "commands", {:multiple => true}, "fetch", nil)
check_box("puppy", "commands", {:multiple => true}, "roll_over", nil)

If all checkboxes are checked, the paramters will be:

"puppy" => {"commands" => ["sit", "fetch", "roll_over"]}

NOTE: because of the gotcha, the hidden fields will be inserted and any unchecked boxes will be sent as “” (empty string). You will need to filter those values out in your model:

class Dog < ActiveRecord::Base
  def commands=(commands)
    commands.reject(&:blank?)
  end
end
August 25, 2010 - (>= v2.3.8)
9 thanks

Undocumented :inverse_of option

Support for the :inverse_of option was backported to 2.3.6+.

Here’s the description from the original commit: http://github.com/rails/rails/commit/ccea98389abbf150b886c9f964b1def47f00f237


You can now add an :inverse_of option to has_one, has_many and belongs_to associations. This is best described with an example:

class Man < ActiveRecord::Base
  has_one :face, :inverse_of => :man
end

class Face < ActiveRecord::Base
  belongs_to :man, :inverse_of => :face
end

m = Man.first
f = m.face

Without :inverse_of m and f.man would be different instances of the same object (f.man being pulled from the database again). With these new :inverse_of options m and f.man are the same in memory instance.

Currently :inverse_of supports has_one and has_many (but not the :through variants) associations. It also supplies inverse support for belongs_to associations where the inverse is a has_one and it’s not a polymorphic.

August 25, 2010 - (>= v2.3.8)
7 thanks

Undocumented :inverse_of option

Support for the :inverse_of option was backported to 2.3.6+.

Here’s the description from the original commit: http://github.com/rails/rails/commit/ccea98389abbf150b886c9f964b1def47f00f237


You can now add an :inverse_of option to has_one, has_many and belongs_to associations. This is best described with an example:

class Man < ActiveRecord::Base
  has_one :face, :inverse_of => :man
end

class Face < ActiveRecord::Base
  belongs_to :man, :inverse_of => :face
end

m = Man.first
f = m.face

Without :inverse_of m and f.man would be different instances of the same object (f.man being pulled from the database again). With these new :inverse_of options m and f.man are the same in memory instance.

Currently :inverse_of supports has_one and has_many (but not the :through variants) associations. It also supplies inverse support for belongs_to associations where the inverse is a has_one and it’s not a polymorphic.

August 25, 2010 - (>= v2.3.8)
3 thanks

Validating presence of parent in child

When creating a parent and its children using nested attributes, you can use the :inverse_of option on the association to correctly set the parent back references:

class Parent < ActiveRecord::Base
  has_many :children, :inverse_of => :parent
  accepts_nested_attributes_for :children
end

class Child < ActiveRecord::Base
  belongs_to :parent
  validates_presence_of :parent
end
August 13, 2010
10 thanks

add_to_base in Rails 3

use

model_instance.errors[:base] << "Msg" 

instead of depracated

model_instance.errors.add_to_base("Msg")

for Rails 3

August 11, 2010
3 thanks

In Rails3 use "unscoped" instead

The with_exclusive_scope examples no longer work in Rails3 because with_exclusive_scope is now a protected method which can and should not be used in a controller. Use the new unscoped method instead:

Article.unscoped

For mor details and examples have a look at: http://github.com/rails/rails/commit/bd1666ad1de88598ed6f04ceffb8488a77be4385.

July 23, 2010
3 thanks

Moved in Rails 3

In Rails 3, this has moved to ActionDispatch::TestProcess

(Which means, if you want to use it in a test, you need to add the following to test_helper.rb:)

include ActionDispatch::TestProcess
July 20, 2010
3 thanks

When scripts don't end in .js

For example, Google Custom Search’s URL is http://www.google.com/jsapi

It’s an ugly hack, but works:

= javascript_include_tag('http://www.google.com/jsapi').sub('.js', '')
July 16, 2010
4 thanks

to set NULL => NO

use :null => false

change_column :my_table, :my_column, :integer, :default => 0, :null => false
July 14, 2010
6 thanks

uniqueness

You can scope uniqueness as well

validates :user_name, :presence => true, :uniqueness => {:scope => :account_id}

# the old way  
validates_uniqueness_of :user_name, :scope => :account_id
June 18, 2010
8 thanks

multiple attributes with the same validations

You can list multiple attributes if they share the same validations

validates :title, :body, :presence => true

sending the attributes as an array will return an error

validates [:title, :body], :presence => true
#=> ArgumentError: Attribute names must be symbols
May 31, 2010
4 thanks

Naming fragment cache

One of the common ways of using fragment caching is to cache content that’s shared across the site (eg. left navigation, menus, widgets etc.) that looks and works the same regardless of the name of the action or controller calling it. In such cases it’s very easy to just use named fragment caching eg.:

<% cache('left_nav') do -%>
  <%= display_left_nav -%>
<% end -%>
April 3, 2010 - (>= v2.2.1)
3 thanks

Careful with this method.

Despite the name and description, it will actually update any changed fields on the model rather than just the desired attribute.

def update_attribute(name, value)
  send(name.to_s + '=', value)
  save(false)
end

See? Use update_all and pass in the model ID as a condition, instead.

March 13, 2010
3 thanks

Can be used with has_many associations

You can also use this to validate that a has_many association has a specified number of records on the other end:

has_many :members

validates_length_of :members, :minimum => 1
March 11, 2010
3 thanks

Available statuses

All the available statuses (extracted from SYMBOL_TO_STATUS_CODE hash) in a slightly more readable form:

:continue                        => 100
:switching_protocols             => 101
:processing                      => 102
:ok                              => 200
:created                         => 201
:accepted                        => 202
:non_authoritative_information   => 203
:no_content                      => 204
:reset_content                   => 205
:partial_content                 => 206
:multi_status                    => 207
:im_used                         => 226
:multiple_choices                => 300
:moved_permanently               => 301
:found                           => 302
:see_other                       => 303
:not_modified                    => 304
:use_proxy                       => 305
:temporary_redirect              => 307
:bad_request                     => 400
:unauthorized                    => 401
:payment_required                => 402
:forbidden                       => 403
:not_found                       => 404
:method_not_allowed              => 405
:not_acceptable                  => 406
:proxy_authentication_required   => 407
:request_timeout                 => 408
:conflict                        => 409
:gone                            => 410
:length_required                 => 411
:precondition_failed             => 412
:request_entity_too_large        => 413
:request_uri_too_long            => 414
:unsupported_media_type          => 415
:requested_range_not_satisfiable => 416
:expectation_failed              => 417
:unprocessable_entity            => 422
:locked                          => 423
:failed_dependency               => 424
:upgrade_required                => 426
:internal_server_error           => 500
:not_implemented                 => 501
:bad_gateway                     => 502
:service_unavailable             => 503
:gateway_timeout                 => 504
:http_version_not_supported      => 505
:insufficient_storage            => 507
:not_extended                    => 510
March 4, 2010
3 thanks

Re: Caveat when using dynamic layouts

Since there’s no way to edit posts on here, I need to correct myself and say that what I posted before doesn’t work, since you can’t specify layout multiple times:

class OrdersController < BaseController
  layout :determine_layout, :only => :new
  layout "public", :except => :new
  # ...
end

So don’t do that. The only way to ensure that the other actions get the default theme is to drop :only/:except and do the conditions yourself:

class OrdersController < BaseController
  layout :determine_layout

private
  def determine_layout
    %w(new).include?(action_name) ? "some_layout" : "public"
  end
end

All this to say, beware of :only/:except – they aren’t as useful as you think they are.

February 27, 2010
4 thanks

Caveat when using dynamic layouts

Worth noting that if you have a controller which inherits from another controller which has a layout, and in this child controller you’re determining the layout at runtime using a method for specific actions, the other actions you are excluding will not inherit the layout from the parent controller.

For example, if you’ve got this

class BaseController < ApplicationController
  layout "public"
end
class OrdersController < BaseController
  layout :determine_layout, :only => :new
  # index, show, new, create, edit, update, destroy ...
end

then OrdersController#index, #show, and #edit won’t get the “public” layout – in fact they won’t get a layout at all. So you’ll need to do this instead:

class OrdersController < BaseController
  layout :determine_layout, :only => :new
  layout "public", :except => :new
  # ...
end
February 26, 2010
3 thanks

default_scope on create

If you specify :conditions in your default_scope in form of a Hash, they will also be applied as default values for newly created objects. Example:

class Article
  default_scope :conditions => {:published => true}
end

Article.new.published? # => true

However:

class Article
  default_scope :conditions => 'published = 1'
end

Article.new.published? # => false
February 23, 2010
3 thanks

Easy workaround for missing :through option

Note that belongs_to does not support :through option like has_many (although IMHO it would make sense in some cases), but you can easily simulate it with delegate.

For example:

class Person < ActiveRecord::Base
  belongs_to :team
  ...
end
class Task < ActiveRecord::Base
  belongs_to :person
  delegate :team, :to => :person
end

There is of course more ways to do it, but this seems to be the easiest to me.

February 16, 2010 - (>= v2.1.0)
3 thanks

Extract the aggregated scoping options

If you want to get the aggregated scoping options of a chain of named scopes use ActiveRecord::Base.current_scoped_methods

It works in the fashion of:

Shirt.red.medium.alphabetical.current_scoped_methods
# ==>
{
  :create => {}, 
  :find => {
    :conditions => {:color => 'red', :size => 'medium'}, 
    :order => 'shirts.name ASC'
  } 
}
February 11, 2010
4 thanks

reload equivalent for models

The reset_column_information method provides a similar function for the model itself. Most useful during migrations.

January 30, 2010
3 thanks

Paying attention to query parameters

Standard action caching ignores query parameters, which means you’d get the same results for a URL with and without query parameters if it was action cached. You can make it pay attention to them by using a custom cache path like so:

caches_action :my_action, :cache_path => Proc.new { |c| c.params }

Or, maybe you want some of the query parameters, but not all to factor into different versions of that action’s cache:

:cache_path => Proc.new { |c| c.params.delete_if { |k,v| k.starts_with?('utm_') } }

Beware of things like pagination if you use expires_in to expire the cache, as pages could get out of sync.

January 21, 2010
3 thanks

W3CDTF Format

Here is the formatted string for the W3CDTF datetime format (http://www.w3.org/TR/NOTE-datetime). It has a semicolon in the timezone part, therefore you cannot use ‘%z’:

Time::DATE_FORMATS[:w3cdtf] = lambda { |time| time.strftime("%Y-%m-%dT%H:%M:%S#{time.formatted_offset}") }
January 20, 2010
4 thanks

Using html text instead of default response

If you have a string containing html and want to assert_select against it, as the doc states you have to pass in an element (HTML::Node) as the first argument. You can do something like this:

doc = HTML::Document.new('<p><span>example</span></p>')
assert_select doc.root, 'span'
January 20, 2010
3 thanks
January 16, 2010 - (>= v2.2.1)
7 thanks

Pretty way to test for current environment

You can check your current Rails environment using nice methods such as:

Rails.env.development?
Rails.env.test?
Rails.env.production?
Rails.env.your_custom_environment?
January 15, 2010
3 thanks

Use this in controllers

Sometimes you’re gonna need this in controllers. Just put this in the controller:

include ActionView::Helpers::NumberHelper