Posts tagged "inherited_resources"

Inherited Resources always had a hate/love history with Rails Edge. Just after DHH posted about respond_with, it was already there in Inherited Resources. This initial implementation provided a nice test suite and several use cases for a improved Rails’ implementation, based in Responders, which encapsulates all the behavior in one class, and can be added, modified or updated.

After that, Inherited Resources was outdated and envy. It needed to be updated and it was: responders has been available in Inherited Resources for more than four months, and consequently in Rails 2.3.

Everything looked great until we started to develop a fresh Rails 3 application. The main purpose of this fresh application is to be a sample of Rails 3 features, including generators and responders. Based on that, it doesn’t make sense to use a tool like Inherited Resources, since it would abstract almost all controllers away and the application would no longer fit as an example.

So we were there, building an application based on scaffold, and as we saw duplicated code we started to realize Inherited Resources contains a lot of tools that could be used outside its context. And this is what is happening right now, two new gems are being launched: Responders and HasScope.

Responders

Responders is a repository of Rails 3 responders, mainly based on this post on Ruby on Rails weblog. And as a proof of concept, we wrote two Responders: FlashResponder and HttpCacheResponder.

FlashResponder uses I18n to automatically look up flash messages for you, even allowing you to set generic messages. In other words, your old create action:

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  def create
    @post = Post.new(params[:post])
    flash[:notice] = "Post was successfully created" if @post.save
    respond_with(@post)
  end

Can now be written as:

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  def create
    @post = Post.new(params[:post])
    @post.save
    respond_with(@post)
  end

Your locale just needs to have the following configuration:

  flash:
    actions:
      create:
        notice: "{resource_name} was successfully created"
      update:
        notice: "{resource_name} was successfully updated"
      destroy:
        notice: "{resource_name} was successfully destroyed"
        alert: "{resource_name} could not be destroyed"

If you want to change a message, let’s say, the success message when creating a post, there are several ways to achieve that. You can give :notice to respond_with or even update your I18n under the key: “flash.posts.create.notice”.

For us it came as a nice tool to provide I18n by default in our controllers and decouple messages from code.

The HttpCacheResponder automatically adds a Last-Modified header to API requests without any extra configuration. This allows clients to easily query the server if a resource changed and also replies with 304 (Not Modified) status.

As usual, the code for both implementations came from Inherited Resources. And since it contains a Rails 3.0 Responders shim, those responders can already be used in Inherited Resources and they are!

In other words, Inherited Resources code got simplified and such features can now be used by any Rails 3 application without a need to load all Inherited Resources stack. Besides, as more Responders appears, they can be added to Responders repository and be used in Inherited Resources easily.

HasScope

The other tool extracted from Inherited Resources is HasScope.

Let’s suppose that we have a ProjectsController and at some point you want to add some filters on the index action like showing just featured projects, selecting projects by methodology or even let the user choose how many projects he can see per page. The first thing to do? Add named scopes to your model:

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class Project < ActiveRecord::Base
  named_scope :featured, :conditions => { :featured => true }
  named_scope :by_methodology, proc {|methodology| { :conditions => { :methodology => methodology } } }
  named_scope :limit, proc{|limit| :limit => limit.to_i }
end

The next step would be to add a lot of code in your controllers that check which named scopes you should call, based on the parameters sent right? Well, not anymore. Your controller can be as simple as:

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class ProjectsController < ApplicationController
  has_scope :featured, :type => :boolean
  has_scope :by_methodology
  has_scope :limit, :default => 10, :only => :index
 
  def index
    @projects = apply_scopes(Project).all
  end
end

Then for each request:

/projects
#=> acts like a normal request, but returning only 10 projects

/projects?featured=true
#=> calls the featured named scope and bring 10 featured projects

/projects?featured=true&by_methodology=agile&limit=20
#=> brings 20 featured projects with methodology agile

If you configure your routes, you could even have pretty urls with it:

/projects/agile/featured
#=> brings 10 featured projects with methodology agile

All in all, you can now call has_scope in any controller and in case you are using it inside an Inherited Resources controller, everything gets handled automatically, so enjoy!

So Inherited Resources finally reaches 1.0

After this refactoring and a complete clean up of Inherited Resources issues, it finally reaches 1.0! When you install it, responders and has_scope gems should be installed as well. Responders is always loaded, since it’s a dependency, but if you want to use has_scope you will need to add it to your environment as well.

After you install the gem, the upgrade process in any application can be handled in three steps:

1) Add config.gem “has_scope” to your “config/environment.rb”.

2) Configure which flash keys are used by your application. At first, Inherited Resources used :notice and :error. Then we changed to :success and :failure, but just after this DHH established :notice and :alert as Rails default.

From 1.0 on, Inherited Resources will be using :notice and :alert, but it allows you to change it:

  InheritedResources.flash_keys = [ :success, :failure ]

3) Finally, you may need to do a final change in your application due to how responders work. The default way a resource tells a responder if it was created/updated/destroyed with success or not, is through errors. If the errors are empty, it assumes it succeeded, otherwise it failed.

This will be true in all create/update scenarios, but not in destroy. In other words, if you have a code with similar structure in your model (please don’t!):

  def before_destroy
    if some_condition_is_not_valid?
      false
    else
      true
    end
  end

It won’t work anymore. You need to add an error to your model to really invalidate it:

  def before_destroy
    if some_condition_is_not_valid?
      errors.add(fault_attribute, :invalid)
      false
    else
      true
    end
  end

Now you should be ready to go. Enjoy!

First, what is Inherited Resources?

Inherited Resources is a gem/plugin that allows you to speed up development by making your controllers inherit all restful actions so you just have to focus on what is important. A Rails scaffold controller which responds to html, xml and json is as simple as:

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class ProjectsController < InheritedResources::Base
  respond_to :html, :xml, :json
end

However all actions are still customizable! For example, you can change the behavior of the create action on success just doing:

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class ProjectsController < InheritedResouces::Base
  respond_to :html, :xml, :json
 
  def create
    create! do |success, failure|
      success.html { redirect_to edit_project_url(@project) }
    end
  end
end

It also supports I18n (all flash messages are set with I18n), belongs to association (like a task belongs to project), nested belongs to (task belongs to project which belongs to company), polymorphic belongs to (comments belong to task or file or message) and optional belongs to (the same as previously, but you can request the resource with or without parents).

As you noticed, besides simplifying your controllers, InheritedResouces makes easy to reproduce your models behavior and relationship in controllers. And right now, it’s also scopes and responder fluent!

has_scope: named_scope twin brother

Let’s suppose that we have a ProjectsController and at some point you want to add some filters on the index action like showing just featured projects, selecting projects by methodology or even let the user choose how many projects he can see per page. The first thing to do? Add named scopes to your model:

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class Project < ActiveRecord::Base
  named_scope :featured, :conditions => { :featured => true }
  named_scope :by_methodology, proc {|methodology| { :conditions => { :methodology => methodology } } }
  named_scope :limit, proc{|limit| :limit => limit.to_i }
end

The next step would be to add a lot of code in your controllers that check which named scopes you should call, based on the parameters sent right? Well, not anymore. Your controller can be as simple as:

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class ProjectsController < InheritedResources::Base
  has_scope :featured, :boolean => true
  has_scope :by_methodology
  has_scope :limit, :default => 10, :only => :index
end

Then for each request:

/projects
#=> acts like a normal request, but returning only 10 projects

/projects?featured=true
#=> calls the featured named scope and bring 10 featured projects

/projects?featured=true&by_methodology=agile&limit=20
#=> brings 20 featured projects with methodology agile

If you configure your routes, you could even have pretty urls with it:

/projects/agile/featured
#=> brings 10 featured projects with methodology agile

Yay!

Responder

A couple weeks ago, we wrote about ActionController::Responder. But you don’t have to wait Rails 3 to be released to play with it, you can start now by using Inherited Resources.

Quick redirect

After using Inherited Resouces, I realized that most of the times I overwrite a create, update or destroy actions is to change the redirect destination. In our ProjectsController above, if we want to redirect to the edit page after create, we would have to do:

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class ProjectsController < InheritedResouces::Base
  respond_to :html, :xml, :json
 
  def create
    create! do |success, failure|
      success.html { redirect_to edit_project_url(@project) }
    end
  end
end

It wouldn’t be cool if it have a shortcut? Now it has:

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class ProjectsController < InheritedResouces::Base
  respond_to :html, :xml, :json
 
  def create
    create! { edit_project_url(@project) }
  end
end

That simple, just give the url as a proc and since the proc does not expect any parameters, it assumes that you want to overwrite the redirect url.

Finally some DSL?

Last weeks, there was a discussion on Boston.rb group about different resource controllers gems. Reading some of the feedback there, I’ve decided to stab a DSL to Inherited Resources. It will mainly remove the duplication when you have to give a block, the previous example above could be written as:

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class ProjectsController < InheritedResouces::Base
  respond_to :html, :xml, :json
 
  create! do |success, failure|
    success.html { redirect_to edit_project_url(@project) }
  end
end

Or even in the compact form:

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class ProjectsController < InheritedResouces::Base
  respond_to :html, :xml, :json
  create! { redirect_to edit_project_url(@project) }
end

Those changes were not applied yet, it depends mainly on you. If you like or not, let us know in the comments!