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January 22, 2016
3 thanks

Creates record by given attributes only if table is empty

This method first searches the table for ANY FIRST RECORD, not the one matching given attributes. If no record is found at all, it creates one using the specified attributes. This might be misunderstood in many cases.

May 1, 2015
6 thanks

Very bad documentation

This is terrible documentation. It makes it very hard to understand what the arguments mean.

The signature is

alias_method(p1, p2)

So what do p1 and p2 mean? The description doesn’t refer to them at all, but to new_name and old_name. How are we supposed to know which is which?

And then it gets even worse in the code sample:

alias_method :orig_exit, :exit

From the naming it sounds like the first argument is the original method name.

Documentation is supposed to resolve this kind of confusion, not create it.

January 8, 2015 - (v4.1.8)
3 thanks

Text improvement

Where it says: without loading a bunch of records should say: without loading a bunch of columns/attributes Considering that record usually is a row.

November 14, 2014
3 thanks

Opposite of persisted?

So I can find it when I look next time.

November 6, 2014
7 thanks

Find the First Instance in the Table. If None Exists, Create One.

Specify the data you’re looking for. If it exists in the table, the first instance will be returned. If not, then create is called.

If a block is provided, that block will be executed only if a new instance is being created. The block is NOT executed on an existing record.

Code example

MyStat.where(name: statistic_name).first_or_create do |statistic|
  statistic.value = calculate_percentage
  statistic.statistic_type = "percentage"
April 16, 2014
3 thanks


Here is a sample usage of its,

Code example

describe '#rate_for_date' do
  context 'with date with in the range' do
    subject do 
          start_date: Time.zone.now, 
          end_date: 2.day.from_now, 
          price: 1000)
    its(:daily_rate) { should == 500 }
July 23, 2013
3 thanks

Use strings as parameters, not booleans

I just stumbled across this somewhere in our codebase. The first example is faulty, the second one is correct.

= f.check_box :public, {}, true, false
# <input id="event_public" name="event[public]" type="checkbox" value="true" />


= f.check_box :public, {}, "true", "false"
# <input name="event[public]" type="hidden" value="false" />
# <input id="event_public" name="event[public]" type="checkbox" value="true" />
April 27, 2013 - (v3.1.0 - v3.2.13)
4 thanks
March 18, 2013
4 thanks

Beware - May cause performance issues

A serialized attribute will always be updated during save, even if it was not changed. (A rails 3 commit explains why: http://github.com/rails/rails/issues/8328#issuecomment-10756812)

Guard save calls with a changed? check to prevent issues.

class Product < ActiveRecord::Base
  serialize :product_data


product = Product.first


product = Product.first
product.save if product.changed?
August 30, 2012
3 thanks


In Rails 3.X console:

July 24, 2012
3 thanks

rest of code is in NilClass#try

If you click “Show source” here, you may get confused. The logic for #try is shared between this method and NilClass#try . Both versions are currently implemented in the file activesupport/lib/active_support/core_ext/object/try.rb .

June 22, 2012 - (v1_8_6_287 - v1_9_3_125)
3 thanks

Test if an array is included in another


class Array
   def included_in? array

[1,2,4].included_in?([1,10,2,34,4]) #=> true
April 26, 2012
5 thanks
April 25, 2012 - (>= v3.1.0)
6 thanks

HTML5 data- attributes using RESTful approach

HTML5 specifies extensible attributes like data-foo=“bar” (or as in Twitter Bootstrap data-toggle=“modal”), which poses two problems for Rails.

First, if you’re using symbol notation in link_to to specify attributes, this fails (dash is not a valid symbol character), so


link_to "Edit", @user, :class => "btn", :data-toggle => "modal"

There are two solutions:

  1. put the symbols in quotes,

  2. use the special :data hash

Solution 1: Quote Symbols

link_to "Edit", @user, :class => "btn", "data-toggle" => "modal"

Solution 2: Use the :data hash

link_to "Edit", @user, :class => "btn", :data => {:toggle => "modal"}

Resulting HTML

<a href="/users/1" class="btn", data-toggle="modal">Edit</a>

The second is minimally documented, but as a hash, can accept multiple values and is perhaps a little cleaner

March 27, 2012
4 thanks

Makes it possible to use a scope through an association

This is a very useful method if you want to to use a scope through an association:

class Book < ActiveRecord::Base
  scope :available, where(:available => true)

class Author < ActiveRecord::Base
  has_many :books
  scope :with_available_books, joins(:books).merge(Book.available)

# Return all authors with at least one available book:

See http://asciicasts.com/episodes/215-advanced-queries-in-rails-3 for more info.

March 27, 2012
6 thanks


If you want to override previously set order (even through default_scope), use reorder() instead.


User.order('id ASC').reorder('name DESC')

would ignore ordering by id completely

March 10, 2012
3 thanks

flash messages

In rails 3.1 the following does not work for me

redirect_to { :action=>'atom' }, :alert => "Something serious happened" 

Instead, you need to use the following syntax (wrap with parens)

redirect_to({ :action=>'atom' }, :alert => "Something serious happened")
November 11, 2011
3 thanks

Catching and throwing -- don't!

@wiseleyb and @glosakti, neither of your suggestions are necessary, and both are bad practices.

This test:

test "transactions" do
  assert_raises ZeroDivisionError do
    User.transaction do

passes just fine on its own, with the transaction rolled back as you’d expect. No need to hack something ugly together.

November 6, 2011 - (>= v3.1.0)
3 thanks

Removed in 3.1.x

This method (and #auto_link_urls) has been removed in Rails 3.1 - other options are out there, such as Rinku, however there is a gem you can use for migration purposes etc, which is rails_autolink: http://rubygems.org/gems/rails_autolink

October 19, 2011 - (>= v3.0.0)
3 thanks

Replaced by :on => :create

From rails 3,


has been removed and replaced with:

before_validation :foo, :on => :create
October 8, 2011
6 thanks

Undocumented :location option

You can use undocumented :location option to override where respond_to sends if resource is valid, e.g. to redirect to products index page instead of a specific product’s page, use:

respond_with(@product, :location => products_url)  
October 7, 2011
3 thanks

How to submit current url

For example to change some kind of param on select change…

<%= form_tag({}, {:method => :get}) do %>
  <%= select_tag :new_locale, options_for_select(I18n.available_locales, I18n.locale), :onchange => "this.form.submit();" %>
<% end %>
June 4, 2011 - (>= v3.0.0)
4 thanks

finding without default scopes in rails 3

if you want to find without default scopes in rails 3 and with_exclusive_scope is giving you protected method errors in controllers, use unscoped for a similar purpose

May 23, 2011 - (>= v3.0.5)
5 thanks

Change to the way the block is handled

At least in 3.0.5, some of the previous examples no longer work: ActionView seems to quietly ignore Array content.

If you were using code of the form

content_tag(:li, nil, :class => 'someClass') {
  arr.collect { |x|
    content_tag(:ul, x)

it now needs to look like

content_tag(:li, nil, :class => 'someClass') {
  arr.reduce('') { |c, x|
    c << content_tag(:ul, x)
March 25, 2011
4 thanks

How to specify :only_path when non-hash options

When passing in an object, as opposed to a hash, you can’t do this because url_for accepts one argument:

url_for(post, :only_path => true)

Instead, do this:

polymorphic_url(object, :routing_type => :path)
March 23, 2011
3 thanks


Note that ActiveRecord will not update the timestamp fields (updated_at/updated_on) when using update_all().

March 8, 2011 - (v2.3.8 - v3.0.5)
3 thanks

Dont use _delete

Most blog articles about accepts_nested_attributes_for, including the one from @mattsa and @annaswims, tell you to add a

'_delete' => 1

when you want a deletion checkbox, hidden attribute, etc.

But this stopped being true a while ago. This is just a “Watch Out!” Make sure you use

'_destroy' => 1


March 3, 2011
8 thanks

Using namespaces

If you are using a namespace in your routes.rb, for example:

namespace :admin do
  resources :products

then you can:

url_for([:admin, @product])


url_for([:edit, :admin, @product])