Posts tagged "rails"

When David Chelimsky was visiting São Paulo in last April, we invited him to go out for some coffee, beers and brazilian appetizers. We had a great time and we talked about different topics like OO, programming languages, authoring books and, as expected, about testing.

One of the topics in our testing discussion was the current confusion in rspec-rails request specs when using Capybara. There is an open issue for this in rspec-rails’ issues tracker and discussing it personally allowed us to talk about some possible solutions, which could take months in internet time. :)

rspec-rails is a gem that wraps Rails testing behaviors into RSpec’s example groups. For example, the controller example group is based on ActionController::TestCase::Behavior. There are also example groups for views, helpers and so forth, but for now we are interested in the request example group, which is as a wrapper for ActionDispatch::Integration::Runner. The Rails’ integration runner is built on top of rack-test, a great small gem that adds support to methods like get, post, put and delete and handle the rack request and response objects.

This setup with the request example group running on top of Rails’ Integration Runner works fine until you add Capybara to your application (which is always a good idea). The issue is that Capybara by default includes its DSL in the same request example group and that’s when the confusion starts.

Capybara, being an acceptance test framework, does not expose low-level details like a request or response object. In order to access a web page using Capybara, the developer needs to use the method visit (instead of get). To read the accessed page body, the developer must use page instead of manipulating the response.

However, since both Capybara DSL and Rails’ Integration Runner are included in the same example group, both methods visit and get are available! Not only that, even if I visit a web page using Capybara’s visit, I can still access the request and response object that comes from Rails, except that they will be blank since Capybara uses a completely different stack to access the application.

This confusion not only happens inside each test but it also leads to a poor testing suite. I have seen many, many files inside spec/requests that mixes both syntaxes.

Talking to David, I have expressed a possible solution to this problem based on how we have been building applications at Plataformatec. First of all, we start by having two directories: spec/requests and spec/acceptance. Since both are supported by Capybara, this (mostly) works out of the box.

Everything you want to test from the user/browser perspective goes under spec/acceptance. So if you want to test that by filling the body and the title fields and pressing the button “Publish” publishes a new blog post, you will test that under acceptance (protip: we usually have subdirectories inside spec/acceptance based on the application roles, like spec/acceptance/guest, spec/acceptance/admin, etc).

Everything under spec/requests applies to the inner working of your application. Is it returning the proper http headers? Is this route streaming the correct JSON response? Also, since APIs are not part of the user/browser perspective, they are also tested under spec/requests and not under spec/acceptance.

This separation of concerns already helps solving the confusion above. Under spec/acceptance, you should use only Capybara helpers. Inside spec/requests, you are using Rails provided tools. However, this does not solve the underlying problem that both helpers are still included in spec/requests.

Therefore, while this blog post means to provide some guidance for those that run into such problems, we also would like to propose a solution that we discussed with David. The solution goes like this:

1) We change RSpec to no longer generate spec/requests, but both spec/api and spec/features (I have proposed spec/acceptance but David pointed out those are not strictly speaking acceptance tests). The Capybara DSL (visit, page and friends) should not be included in spec/api under any circumstance.

2) We change Capybara to include by default its DSL and RSpec matchers under spec/features and change the feature method to rely on the type :features instead of :requests.

The proposal suggests the addition of two new directories instead of changing the behavior of existing ones in order to be backwards compatible while ensuring a safe and more semantic future for everyone else. David asked me to outline our conversation in a blog post, so we can get some awareness and feedback before undergoing such changes. So, what do you think?

After 4 months of our last major version release, we’re releasing Devise 2.1.0, which includes several bug fixes, some new features and the removal of features deprecated on Devise 2.0. If you’re eager to do the update, please check Devise’s wiki page about Upgrading from 2.0 to 2.1. You can also check the changelog or the commits between 2.0.4 and 2.1.0.

Encrytable is now a gem

As it was only used for old encryption algorithms like sha1 or md5, we have extracted encryptable module to a separated ruby gem. So, if you’re using the encryptable module, you should only require it on your Gemfile and you’re good to go!

Check fields

To allow a developer to cherry-pick which features they want to add to their models, Devise splits its behaviors into modules. One of the consequences of such splitting is that you don’t know if the persistence layer provides all fields required by the behavior. For example, the database authenticatable module requires a encrypted_password field. If the field does not exist, you will end up getting an error during a request. Usually those fields are automatically added to the migration when you call the devise generator, but if you decide to include a module after, you can easily forget to add the new fields.

That said, in order to provide faster feedback, Devise now has a method that checks if a given class is missing any of the required fields and raises an error if so. You can call this method as follow (in case your Devise class is User):

Devise::Models.check_fields!(User)

We’ve implemented this feature in an agnostic way, to not depend on a specific ORM, but only to verify if the instance responds to the required fields. So even if your ORM does everything through method_missing, you should be able to use this method (we’re relying that you also have implemented a working respond_to?, which is strongly recommendeded when using method_missing).

When check_fields! is called, Devise will detect the included modules in the given class and, if there is a missing attribute, it will raise a Devise::Models::MissingAttribute exception with a message telling you all required fields that doesn’t exist. You can easily use that method with your favorite test framework:

Devise::Models.check_fields!(User)

And then you will be able to check if your migrations have added the correct fields to your database.

A message to module maintainers

If you’re a maintainer of a Devise module, you should add a method to each of your modules called self.required_fields(klass) that returns an array of required fields. If the method is absent, you will get a deprecation warning.

UPDATE: Fixed a class name and corrected a grammar error.

Today I want to show you a project I’ve started over a year ago, during Mendicant University core skills course. For those who don’t know, Mendicant University is a group of skilled software developers that offer courses, mentoring, and help out the community, started by Gregory Brown, and that nowadays counts with some other awesome folks as part of the staff. I highly recommend taking a look at and enrolling.

Back to I18n, during Mendicant University we were supposed to create a project in Ruby, not specifically with Rails, and I decided to scratch my own itch by trying to solve a problem we usually have in Brazil: receiving date/time/numeric input from user interface. I know and have already used the delocalized gem, and it works quite nice, but sometimes I felt a bit uncomfortable about how it handled some parts of localization/parsing. This is mainly due to the need to monkey patch both ActiveRecord to handle input, and ActionView to handle output. Besides that, and most important, I had to come up with some project and I thought that’d be a good challenge :D.

The main goal of this project is to provide a proxy object to use with your ORM (currently ActiveRecord only) that will be responsible for localizing and parsing the date/time/numeric attributes when getting or setting their values, respectively. Lets see some quick examples:

# Include the proxy in your model
class Product < ActiveRecord::Base
  include I18n::Alchemy
end
 
# Grab your object from the database
@product   = Product.first
# Instantiate the localized proxy
@localized = @product.localized

Now that we have a localized proxy for the @product object, we can get/set numeric attributes with localized values, such as:

@localized.price = "1.99"
 
@product.price   # => 1.99
@localized.price # => "1.99"
 
I18n.with_locale :pt do
  @localized.price = "1,88"
 
  @product.price   # => 1.88
  @localized.price # => "1,88"
end

And also date/time attributes, for instance:

@localized.released_at = "12/31/2011"
 
@product.released_at   # => Date.new(2011, 12, 31)
@localized.released_at # => "12/31/2011"
 
I18n.with_locale :pt do
  @localized.released_at = "31/12/2011"
 
  @product.released_at   # => Date.new(2011, 12, 31)
  @localized.released_at # => "31/12/2011"
end

I18n Alchemy can also receive a hash of attributes, the same way you use with your models when calling new. That means you can use it like this:

# You could be using params[:product] for instance.
I18n.with_locale :pt do
  @localized = @product.localized(:price => "1,88") 
 
  @product.price   # => 1.88
  @localized.price # => "1,88"
end

The parsing/localization formats are basically the same ones you already use in your Rails application. You can check the basic locale configuration for I18n Alchemy in its README on github.

Wrapping up

I18n Alchemy is a small and new project which solves most of the problems we commonly face when dealing with localization and parsing of date/time/numeric values. It is tested with Rails 3.0, 3.1 and 3.2 and works with all the basic methods, such as attributes=, assign_attributes, update_attributes and nested attributes as well.

It was a really fun time creating it during Mendicant University, and it took a long time until I decided to release it as a gem. There is still a bunch of things to do, but I wanted to ask you to give it a try and let me know about any feedback you have.

As a side note, if you are interested in knowing more about the design decisions that led this project, you may want to take a look at Gregory Brown’s post on Ruby Best Practices, entitled “Issue #23: SOLID Design Principles”, more specifically in the Open/closed principle topic.

I’m releasing the first 0.0.1 version today, and I hope you find it useful. Have any comments? Let us know!

Rails 4.0 – current master branch at the time of this writing – has recently got a small – yet very useful – addition: ActiveModel::Model. The implementation is really simple, as you can see below:

module ActiveModel
  module Model
    def self.included(base)
      base.class_eval do
        extend  ActiveModel::Naming
        extend  ActiveModel::Translation
        include ActiveModel::Validations
        include ActiveModel::Conversion
      end
    end
 
    def initialize(params={})
      params.each do |attr, value|
        self.public_send("#{attr}=", value)
      end if params
    end
 
    def persisted?
      false
    end
  end
end

Quite straightforward, huh? But what does it do, and what are we supposed to do with it?

ActiveModel::Model: Basic Model implementation

According to the docs, ActiveModel::Model includes all the required interface for an object to interact with ActionPack, using different ActiveModel modules. It includes model name instrospection, conversions, translations and validations. In addition to that, it allows you to initialize the object with a hash of attributes, pretty much like ActiveRecord does.

Wait, what? In short: you can easily extend ActiveModel::Model in a normal Ruby class and use instances of that class with helpers like form_for, dom_id / dom_class, and any other ActionView helper, as you do with ActiveRecord objects. It also gives you known method helpers such as human_attribute_name.

A minimal implementation could be:

class Person
  include ActiveModel::Model
 
  attr_accessor :name, :age
  validates_presence_of :name
end
 
person = Person.new(:name => 'bob', :age => '18')
person.name # => 'bob'
person.age # => 18
person.valid? # => true

This is really handy, considering that before this addition, we’d have to add all that code to have a model up and running to use with ActionView's form_for, for instance. Ok, it is not that much code to add, but now we don’t even need to remember which modules are required for such integration. And I have to add that I’ve been creating similar classes in different applications lately. Take a moment to think about a contact form, that does not need to be tied to a database: it’s a common scenario to implement using ActiveModel::Model.

Extending Basic Model even more

Note that, by default, ActiveModel::Model implements persisted? to return false, which is the most common case. For instance, when used with form_for, this means that the generated url would post to the create action. You may want to override it in your class to simulate a different scenario:

class Person
  include ActiveModel::Model
  attr_accessor :id, :name
 
  def persisted?
    self.id == 1
  end
end
 
person = Person.new(:id => 1, :name => 'bob')
person.persisted? # => true

Besides that, if for some reason you need to run code on initialize, make sure you call super if you want the attributes hash initialization to happen.

class Person
  include ActiveModel::Model
  attr_accessor :id, :name, :omg
 
  def initialize(attributes)
    super
    @omg ||= true
  end
end
 
person = Person.new(:id => 1, :name => 'bob')
person.omg # => true

And remember that, at the end, this is all Ruby: you can include any other module of your own and other ActiveModel modules easily in your class. For instance, lets add callbacks to our model to mimic ActiveRecord's save functionality:

class Person
  include ActiveModel::Model
  extend ActiveModel::Callbacks
 
  define_model_callbacks :save
  attr_accessor :id, :name
 
  # Just check validity, and if so, trigger callbacks.
  def save
    if valid?
      run_callbacks(:save) { true }
    else
      false
    end
  end
end

This gives you before_save, after_save and around_save callbacks. Quick and easy, huh?

Wrapping up

ActiveModel::Model is a really small, handy addition to Rails 4.0, which helps us to get classes that act more like ActiveRecord and easily integrate with ActionPack.

For more detailed information on other features available, please refer to the specific modules included in ActiveModel::Model. Each module includes plenty of docs explaining its functionality. Apart from these included modules, ActiveModel itself has a bunch of useful stuff to add to your Ruby classes that are really worth checking out.

This is the kind of thing that makes me a happier Rails developer every day. What about you, what makes you a happier Rails developer? Please take a moment to tell us in the comments section below :)

The Carnival is over in Brazil but we are still partying at Plataformatec by bringing you a complete new release of SimpleForm. This time is not a small bump though, it’s a shiny new version: SimpleForm 2.0, that comes with a bunch of new features and customizations, a new wrapper API to create custom input stacks and a great integration with Twitter Bootstrap.

Wrappers API

The new wrappers API is here in place of the old components option (besides some other *_tag and *_class configs), to add more flexibility to the way you build SimpleForm inputs. Here is an example of the default wrapper config that ships with SimpleForm when you run its install generator:

config.wrappers :default, :class => :input,
  :hint_class => :field_with_hint, :error_class => :field_with_errors do |b|
  ## Extensions enabled by default
  # Any of these extensions can be disabled for a
  # given input by passing: `f.input EXTENSION_NAME => false`.
  # You can make any of these extensions optional by
  # renaming `b.use` to `b.optional`.
 
  # Determines whether to use HTML5 (:email, :url, ...)
  # and required attributes
  b.use :html5
 
  # Calculates placeholders automatically from I18n
  # You can also pass a string as f.input :placeholder => "Placeholder"
  b.use :placeholder
 
  ## Optional extensions
  # They are disabled unless you pass `f.input EXTENSION_NAME => :lookup`
  # to the input. If so, they will retrieve the values from the model
  # if any exists. If you want to enable the lookup for any of those
  # extensions by default, you can change `b.optional` to `b.use`.
 
  # Calculates maxlength from length validations for string inputs
  b.optional :maxlength
 
  # Calculates pattern from format validations for string inputs
  b.optional :pattern
 
  # Calculates min and max from length validations for numeric inputs
  b.optional :min_max
 
  # Calculates readonly automatically from readonly attributes
  b.optional :readonly
 
  ## Inputs
  b.use :label_input
  b.use :hint,  :wrap_with => { :tag => :span, :class => :hint }
  b.use :error, :wrap_with => { :tag => :span, :class => :error }
end

Wrappers are used by the form builder to generate a complete input. You can remove any component from the wrapper, change the order or even add your own to the stack.

The :default wrapper is going to be used in all forms by default. You can also select which wrapper to use per form, by naming them:

# Given you added this wrapper in your SimpleForm initializer:
config.wrappers :small do |b|
  b.use :placeholder
  b.use :label_input
end
 
# Uses the :small wrapper for all inputs in this form.
simple_form_for @user, :wrapper => :small do |f|
  f.input :name
end

Or you can just pick a different wrapper in a specific input if you want:

# Uses the default wrapper for other inputs, and :small for :name.
simple_form_for @user do |f|
  f.input :name, :wrapper => :small
end

You can see a more detailed description of the new wrappers API in the documentation.

Twitter Bootstrap

The second big change in SimpleForm 2.0 is out of the box Bootstrap integration. SimpleForm now ships with a generator option to initialize your application with a set of specific wrappers customized for Bootstrap. To get them, just run in your terminal, inside a Rails application (with SimpleForm already installed):

rails generate simple_form:install --bootstrap

This gives you the default SimpleForm initializer in config/initializers/simple_form.rb with some extra integration code added for Bootstrap. For example, here is the default wrapper:

config.wrappers :bootstrap, :tag => 'div', :class => 'control-group', 
  :error_class => 'error' do |b|
  b.use :placeholder
  b.use :label
  b.wrapper :tag => 'div', :class => 'controls' do |ba|
    ba.use :input
    ba.use :error, :wrap_with => { :tag => 'span', :class => 'help-inline' }
    ba.use :hint,  :wrap_with => { :tag => 'p', :class => 'help-block' }
  end
end

This wrapper is setup with the same structure that Bootstrap expects and is set to be the default wrapper in your application. This is the killer feature in SimpleForm 2.0: the Bootstrap integration is not inside SimpleForm but all in your application. This means that, if you want to move away or customize Bootstrap in the future, you don’t need to monkey patch SimpleForm, everything is in your app!

We’ve set up a live example application showing most of the SimpleForm inputs integrated with Twitter Bootstrap, make sure you check it out! The application code is on github.

Keep reading this blog post to find out the other changes and deprecations that gave SimpleForm all this extra flexibility, allowing it to be easily integrated with Twitter Bootstrap 2.0.

New configs

SimpleForm 2.0 comes with some new configs to ease its integration with Bootstrap and to make your daily work even more flexible:

  • default_wrapper: defines the default wrapper to be used when no one is given.
  • button_class: defines a class to add for all buttons.
  • boolean_style: change the way booleans (mainly check boxes and radio buttons) are shown: :inline (the default) uses the same structure as before, checkbox + label; :nested (generated for new apps) puts the checkbox inside the label, as label > checkbox.
  • collection_wrapper_class: class to add in all collections (check boxes / radio buttons), given collection_wrapper_tag is set.
  • item_wrapper_class: class to add to all items in a collection.
  • generate_additional_classes_for: allows you to specify whether to generate the extra css classes for inputs, labels and wrappers. By default SimpleForm always generate all classes, such as input type and required info, to all of them. You can be more selective and tell SimpleForm to just add such classes to the input or wrapper, by changing this config.

Deprecations

In order to create the new wrappers API, we had to deprecate some configs and change some helpers, so here is a basic summary of what is being deprecated:

Configs

  • translate: By making placeholder and hint optional options in the wrappers API, you can already disable the automatic translation attempt that happens for these components. labels, on the other hand, are always used in forms, so we added a special config for them: translate_labels.
  • html5: this config is now part of the wrappers API, with b.use :html5, so the config option has been deprecated.
  • error_notification_id: in favor of using error_notification_class only.
  • wrapper_tag=, wrapper_class=, wrapper_error_class=, error_tag=, error_class=, hint_tag=, hint_class=, components=: all these were moved to the wrappers API structure, and are not required anymore.

Helpers

  • :radio input type: In order to integrate with Bootstrap, we had to get rid of the :as => :radio and use :as => :radio_buttons instead. The former still works, but will give you a bunch of deprecation warnings. CSS class names changed accordingly as well
  • collection_radio: has changed to collection_radio_buttons to follow the :as => :radio_buttons change. Its label class has changed as well based on the helper name.

Wrapping up

SimpleForm 2.0 comes with a lot of new features, in special the new wrappers API, to make it flexible enough to allow you to customize inputs as much as possible in an easier way, and to bring you the integrated Bootstrap structure.

Make sure you check out the new SimpleForm README and also the CHANGELOG for a full list of changes. We’ve also created an special wiki page to help you Upgrading to SimpleForm 2.0.

If you find any trouble while migrating to 2.0, or any issue with Bootstrap integration, or any other issue, please let us know in the issues tracker. And if you have any questions, make sure to send them to the mailing list, there are a lot of people there to help you.

All our development team and an amazing number of contributors put a lot of effort into this new release and we hope you will enjoy it. SimpleForm 2.0 + Bootstrap: from us, for you, with love.

Thoughts about SimpleForm 2.0? Please let us know in the comments.

Last week I spoke at Silicon Valley Ruby Group about PlataformaTec’s open source tools, mainly Devise, Simple Form and Responders.

When talking about Devise, I’ve mentioned that, before creating Devise, we were alternating between using Authlogic or Clearance in our projects. However, we soon realized that we needed a solution that was as customizable as Authlogic (allowing us to choose behaviors and several configuration options) and as complete as Clearance (whole MVC stack). It is fun to remember this happened more than 2 years ago.

After the presentation, someone came to talk to me about Sorcery and said it would be nice if Devise provided the same kind of tooling, allowing someone to build their own controllers and views around Devise instead of using Devise built-in controllers and views. His proposal surprised me, because this approach is totally possible with Devise and it was one of our design goals since day one.

That said, we realized that we were probably not “advertising” the bare-bone, stripped-down aspect of Devise well enough. That’s why I am writing this blog post. Devise already makes it easy for you to customize your own views, using the generator rails g devise:views which copies the views to your application. But what if you want to roll out your own views AND controllers?

To show you how we can achieve that, let’s write some code! The first step is to create a Rails application:

rails new devise-only-model

Next, we will add Devise to the Gemfile:

gem "devise", "~> 1.4.6"

And run the installation generator:

bundle install && rails g devise:install

The installation generator is going to give you some extra instructions, so don’t forget to do that as well. Next, let’s generate our basic User model, but we will pass an extra parameter called --skip-routes:

rails g devise User --skip-routes

By passing this extra parameter, Devise is going to generate everything as usual, with a small difference on config/routes.rb:

devise_for :users, :skip => :all

This parameter tells Devise to not generate any route at all. You can check that by executing bundle exec rake routes. However, you may be wondering: why can’t we simply remove the devise_for call? If we remove the route, Devise wouldn’t actually know that you have added Devise configuration to the User model, as all models are lazy loaded. So we need the route to tell Devise it needs to setup the appropriate helpers for the user, like authenticate_user!.

With Devise configured, we are ready to create the controllers and views on our own. In this blog post, we are going to create the SessionsController as an example allowing us to sign in and sign out. First, let’s add our routes:

root :to => "sessions#new"
post "/users/sign_in"    => "sessions#create"
delete "/users/sign_out" => "sessions#destroy"

Our SessionsController at app/controllers/sessions_controller looks like:

class SessionsController < ApplicationController
  # For security purposes, Devise just authenticates an user
  # from the params hash if we explicitly allow it to. That's
  # why we need to call the before filter below.
  before_filter :allow_params_authentication!, :only => :create
 
  def new
    @user = User.new(params[:user])
  end
 
  def create
    # Since the authentication happens in the rack layer,
    # we need to tell Devise to call the action "sessions#new"
    # in case something goes bad. Feel free to change it.
    user = authenticate_user!(:recall => "sessions#new")
    flash[:notice] = "You are now signed in!"
    sign_in user
    redirect_to root_path
  end
 
  def destroy
    sign_out
    flash[:notice] = "You are now signed out!"
    redirect_to root_path
  end
end

The controller implementation is quite straightforward. With the controller in hands, we just need to generate the view for the new action at app/views/sessions/new.html.erb:

<% if user_signed_in? %>
  You are signed in as <%= current_user.email %>. <%= link_to "Sign out", users_sign_out_path, :method => :delete %>.
<% else %>
  <%= form_for @user, :url => users_sign_in_path do |f| %>
  <div><%= f.label :email %><br />
  <%= f.email_field :email %></div>
  <div><%= f.label :password %><br />
  <%= f.password_field :password %></div>
  <div><%= f.check_box :remember_me %> <%= f.label :remember_me %></div>
  <div><%= f.submit "Sign in" %></div>
  <% end %>
<% end %>

The view shows a message if the user is signed in, otherwise it shows a sign in form. Now we are almost ready to check if it works. First, we need to run the migrations:

bundle exec rake db:migrate

Remove the index page:

rm public/index.html

And create a user in the database so we can sign in. We can do that in rails console:

User.create!(:email => "jose@example.com", :password => "123456")

Now, start the server and you are ready to sign in and sign out. You can also block user access in any controller by calling authenticate_user! in a before filter. Just remember that, if you add the filter to your application controller, remember to skip the filter on the sessions controller, otherwise you won’t be able to sign in in the first place.

You can now freely proceed to implement the other controllers and views in your application. Keep in mind that if you have devise :recoverable in your model, all the related methods like User.send_reset_password_instructions will already be available in your model, so you can use them straight away to implement your own reset password feature. Since Devise use all those methods internally, if you have any questions about implementing your own reset password feature, you can always take a look at Devise own controllers for some help.

I hope this post can help you to roll out your own controllers if this is the kind of feature you expect from Devise. Also, if you are worried about the overhead of using Devise even if you are not using its controllers, there is no need to worry at all. Devise does the smart thing and only loads the controllers you are actually using. Also, it lazily loads all behaviors, so if you are not using recoverable, no code related to recoverable will be loaded at all.

It is important to keep in mind that Devise was built by us to be flexible and capable of handling different requirements from different clients, so it is PlataformaTec’s priority to have it as flexible as possible! So, what would you like to see in “bare-bone, stripped-down Devise” in order to better use it in your applications?