Flowdock
method

create_or_find_by

Importance_2
v6.0.0 - Show latest stable - 0 notes - Class: ActiveRecord::Relation
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create_or_find_by(attributes, &block) public

Attempts to create a record with the given attributes in a table that has a unique constraint on one or several of its columns. If a row already exists with one or several of these unique constraints, the exception such an insertion would normally raise is caught, and the existing record with those attributes is found using #find_by!.

This is similar to #find_or_create_by, but avoids the problem of stale reads between the SELECT and the INSERT, as that method needs to first query the table, then attempt to insert a row if none is found.

There are several drawbacks to #create_or_find_by, though:

  • The underlying table must have the relevant columns defined with unique constraints.

  • A unique constraint violation may be triggered by only one, or at least less than all, of the given attributes. This means that the subsequent #find_by! may fail to find a matching record, which will then raise an ActiveRecord::RecordNotFound exception, rather than a record with the given attributes.

  • While we avoid the race condition between SELECT -> INSERT from #find_or_create_by, we actually have another race condition between INSERT -> SELECT, which can be triggered if a DELETE between those two statements is run by another client. But for most applications, that’s a significantly less likely condition to hit.

  • It relies on exception handling to handle control flow, which may be marginally slower.

  • The primary key may auto-increment on each create, even if it fails. This can accelerate the problem of running out of integers, if the underlying table is still stuck on a primary key of type int (note: All Rails apps since 5.1+ have defaulted to bigint, which is not liable to this problem).

This method will return a record if all given attributes are covered by unique constraints (unless the INSERT -> DELETE -> SELECT race condition is triggered), but if creation was attempted and failed due to validation errors it won’t be persisted, you get what #create returns in such situation.

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