Today I Learned

A Hashrocket project

148 posts about #rails

Convert A Symbol To A Constant

If you have a symbol and need to convert it to a constant, perhaps because of some metaprogramming induced by a polymorphic solution, then you may start off on an approach like the following. In fact, I’ve seen a number of StackOverflow solutions like this.

#=> Module

That is great for one-word constant names, but what about multi-word constants like OpenStruct. This approach will not work for the symbol :open_struct. We need a more general solution.

The key is to ditch #capitalize and instead use another ActiveSupport method,#classify`. ruby :open_struct.to_s.classify.constantize #=> OpenStruct

List The Enqueued Jobs

Many Rails apps need to delegate work to jobs that can be performed at a later time. Both unit and integration testing can benefit from asserting about the jobs that get enqueued as part of certain methods and workflows. Rails provides a handy helper method for checking out the set of enqueued jobs at any given time.

The enqueued_jobs method will provide a store of all the currently enqueued jobs.

It provides a number of pieces of information about each job. One way to use the information is like so:

describe '#do_thing' do
  it 'enqueues a job to do a thing later' do
    Processor.do_thing(arg1, arg2)
    expect( { |job| job[:job] }).to match_array([

To use this in your Rails project, just enable the adapter in your test configuration file:

Rails.application.config.active_job.queue_adapter = :test

Rails Database Migration Status

Wondering if you’ve run the latest database migration? Wonder no more. There are better ways to find out this information than blindly running the migrations or waiting for your app to crash.

A handy command built into Rails is rake db:migrate:status. Here’s some sample output from my blog’s development PostgreSQL database:

% rake db:migrate:status

database: worth-chicago_co_development

 Status   Migration ID    Migration Name
   up     20150422174456  Create developers
   up     20150422174509  Create authem sessions
   up     20150422200749  Create posts
   up     20150423152139  Add url slugs to posts
   up     20150628171109  Add constraints to posts and developers

Knowledge is power!

Rails' `Hash#except`

A cool feature provided by Rails is the #except method on Hash. This function removes a key-value pair from a hash.

Let’s remove a Rails parameter, the most obvious use case I can think of:

[1] pry(#<SessionsController>)> params
=> {"utf8"=>"✓",
 "user_login"=>{"email"=>"", "password"=>"general"},
[2] pry(#<SessionsController>)> params.except(:utf8)
=> {"user_login"=>{"email"=>"", "password"=>"general"},

And the source code:

[1] pry(#<SessionsController>)> show-source Hash#except
From: /Users/dev/.rvm/gems/ruby-2.2.5/gems/activesupport- @ line 9:
Owner: Hash
Visibility: public
Number of lines: 3

def except(*keys)
[2] pry(#<SessionsController>)> show-source Hash#except!

From: /Users/dev/.rvm/gems/ruby-2.2.5/gems/activesupport- @ line 17:
Owner: Hash
Visibility: public
Number of lines: 4

def except!(*keys)
  keys.each { |key| delete(key) }

Thanks Rails!

Rails Runner Shebang Line

I’ve known about the Rails Runner command for a long time - all it does is execute some Ruby in the context of your app. I’ve rarely used it, but had a situation today where I wanted to. I couldn’t quite remember how it worked, so I ran it without any arguments and discovered something new (to me, anyway):

$ rails runner
...blah, blah, blah...
You can also use runner as a shebang line for your executables:
#!/usr/bin/env /Users/jon/project/bin/rails runner

Product.all.each { |p| p.price *= 2 ;! }

Whoa, Rails gives you the runner as a shebang line too!!

Use PostgreSQL socket in database.yml 🐘🔌

When using the host: configuration option in the database.yml set to localhost or, I would need to add an entry to PostgreSQL’s pg_hba.conf file to allow my ip address access. But, if you give the host: option the directory of your PostgreSQL sockets, rails will be able to use the socket, without needing to add an entry to the PostgreSQL configuration file.

  database: fancy_things
  host: '/var/run/postgres'

Rails Enums and PostgreSQL Enums

Today I learned that Rails Enum works pretty well with PostgreSQL Enum.

Enum in PostgreSQL work as a new type with restricted values and if you need to guarantee data integrity there’s no best way to do that than in your database. Here is how we create a new enum in PostgreSQL and use in a new column:

class AddEnumToTrafficLights < ActiveRecord::Migration
  def up
    ActiveRecord::Base.connection.execute <<~SQL
      CREATE TYPE color AS ENUM ('red', 'green', 'blue');

    add_column :traffic_lights, :color, :color, index: true

  def down
    remove_column :traffic_lights, :color

    ActiveRecord::Base.connection.execute <<~SQL
      DROP TYPE color;

In Rails models I prefer to use Hash syntax when mapping Ruby symbols to database values.

class TrafficLight < ApplicationRecord
  enum color: {
    red: 'red',
    green: 'green',
    blue: 'blue',

And now Enum in action:

#=> {
#=>   "red"=>"red",
#=>   "green"=>"green",
#=>   "blue"=>"blue"
#=> }!
#=> "blue"

h/t @ joshuadavey

Rails Enum with prefix/suffix


Today I learned that Rails 5 released new options for [enum][] definition: _prefix and _suffix.

class Conversation < ActiveRecord::Base
  enum status:          [:active, :archived], _suffix: true
  enum comments_status: [:active, :inactive], _prefix: :comments

conversation.archived_status? # => false

conversation.comments_active? # => false

h/t @joshuadavey

Advance The Date

In Rails land, you can advance a date forward and backward with the #advance method:

=> Wed, 31 Aug 2016
> 1)
=> Thu, 01 Sep 2016
> 1)
=> Fri, 30 Sep 2016
> -2)
=> Thu, 30 Jun 2016

h/t Dillon Hafer

Combine Multiple Rake Commands Without &&

Ordinarily, to successively run commands whose execution depends on the previous command’s success, you would separate the commands with two &’s. This includes rake commands:

rake db:migrate && rake db:redo && rake db:test:prepare

The downside to this, however, is that the Rails environment is loaded with each rake invocation. Thus, in this example the Rails environment is loaded three times.

This is slow. To speed up the process, we can load the Rails environment just once as follows:

rake db:migrate db:redo db:test:prepare

We still run all the tasks but don’t have to wait an eternity for Rails to get its act together and load rake. Hooray!

Hat-tip @mrmicahcooper

One query with Select In

Today I learned that if you pass an ActiveRecord::Relation as param to where Rails will create a single query using IN and an inner SELECT:

=>  Repository Load (1.1ms)
        SELECT "repositories".*
        FROM "repositories"
        WHERE "repositories"."user_id" IN (
          SELECT "users"."id"
          FROM "users"
          WHERE "users"."status" == 1

h/t @mattpolito

ActiveJobs callbacks with conditionals

Today I learned that ActiveJobs callbacks accept filters, so it’s easy to do conditionals like:

class SyncUserJob < ApplicationJob
  queue_as :default

  after_perform(if: :recursive) do
    SyncOrganizationJob.perform_later(user, recursive: true)

  attr_accessor :user, :recursive

  def perform(access_token, recursive: false)
    @access_token = access_token
    @recursive    = recursive
    @user         = sync_user

  def sync_user

Does template exist?

An instance of the class ActionView::LookupContext::ViewPaths is available as lookup_context in a rails view.

If you need to dynamically construct partial paths and know that sometimes the partial may not exist, you can use the lookup_context method exists? to determine if the partial exists.

lookup_context.exists?(dynamic_path, [], true)

The third argument is partial, the second argument is prefixes.

Rails reset counter caches

Today I learned that Rails has an easy way to reset counter caches

You just need to call reset_counters(id, *counters) method

irb> Organization.reset_counters(4, :repositories)
  Organization Load (0.3ms)  SELECT  "organizations".* FROM "organizations" WHERE "organizations"."id" = $1 LIMIT $2  [["id", 4], ["LIMIT", 1]]
   (0.5ms)  SELECT COUNT(*) FROM "repositories" WHERE "repositories"."organization_id" = $1  [["organization_id", 4]]
  SQL (2.1ms)  UPDATE "organizations" SET "repositories_count" = 6 WHERE "organizations"."id" = $1  [["id", 4]]
=> true

Rails autoload paths

Today I learned that I can see Rails autoload_paths running:

puts ActiveSupport::Dependencies.autoload_paths

You can always add more paths with:

# config/application.rb
config.autoload_paths << Rails.root.join('lib')

By the way, that’s why concerns (model/controller) do not have Concern as namespace.

Rails and HttpAuthentication Token

Rails has some controller helper modules for authentication:

So you can have on your controller like that:

# app/controllers/users_controller.rb
class UsersController < ApplicationController
  include UserAuthentication

  before_action :authenticate, only: %i(show)

  def show
    render json: current_user, status: :ok

And a controller concern like this:

# app/controllers/concerns/user_authentication.rb
module UserAuthentication
  # you might need to include:
  # include ActionController::HttpAuthentication::Token::ControllerMethods

  def authenticate
    head :forbidden unless current_user

  def current_user
    @current_user ||= authenticate_or_request_with_http_token do |token|
      Session.find_by(token: token).try(:user)

Then your controller will read and parse the token from the header:

  headers: {
    "HTTP_AUTHORIZATION"=>'Token token="82553421c8f4e5e34436"'

Get a Random Record from an ActiveRecord Model

Let’s say you have an events table with a model name Event. If you want to get a random event from the table, you could run

    SELECT * FROM events ORDER BY random() LIMIT 1

The functional part of this query is the ORDER BY random() bit. For every row that postgres is sorting, it generates a random number (between 0.0 and 1.0 by default). Then it sorts the rows by their randomly generated number. Read more about the postgres random() function at the documentation page.

Rails 5 token ActiveModel type

Rails 5 has a new ActiveModel type token. To define it you can use: has_scure_token.

So I had this class:

class Session < ApplicationRecord
  belongs_to :user

  before_validation(on: :create) do
    self.auth_token = SecureRandom.urlsafe_base64(24)

And then I started to use the new has_secure_token and the code is way simpler now:

class Session < ApplicationRecord
  belongs_to :user
  has_secure_token :auth_token

If you use generators for models you can run:

rails generate model session auth_token:token

By the way the current implementation uses SecureRandom.base58(24), so it is url safe.

Read-Only Models

Are you in the midst of a big refactoring that is phasing out an ActiveRecord model? You may not be ready to wipe it from the project, but you don’t want it accidentally used to create any database records. You essentially want your model to be read-only until it is time to actually delete it.

This can be achieved by adding a readonly? method to that model that always returns true.

def readonly?

ActiveRecord’s underlying persistence methods always check readonly? before creating or updating any records.


h/t Josh Davey

Where Am I In The Partial Iteration?

Let’s say I am going to render a collection of posts with a post partial.

<%= render collection: @posts, partial: "post" %>

The ActionView::PartialIteration module provides a couple handy methods when rendering collections. I’ll have access in the partial template to #{template_name}_iteration (e.g. post_iteration) which will, in turn, give me access to #index, #first?, and #last?.

This is great if I need to do something special with the first or last item in the collection or if I’d like to do some sort of numbering based on the index of each item.


h/t Josh Davey

Reflect on Association

Integration tests should expose flaws in our Rails domain models and associations pretty well. Any remaining uncertainty can be remedied by familiarity with the methods (has_many, belongs_to), entity relationship diagrams, and good old trial and error.

But what if we want to explicitly check our associations in a unit test?

Here’s one way, with reflect_on_association:

# app/models/hike.rb
class Hike < ActiveRecord::Base
  has_many :trips
# spec/models/hike_spec.rb
RSpec.describe Hike, type: :model do
  describe 'associations' do
    it 'has many trips' do
      ar = described_class.reflect_on_association(:trips)
      expect(ar.macro) == :has_many

Overkill? Probably. But it’s nice to have.

Source code:

Rails 5 - Array Inquirer

Rails 5 has a new wrapper class for Array called ArrayInquirer the same way StringInquirer does, but with arrays.

irb> colors = [:blue, 'green'].inquiry
=> [:blue, "green"]
irb> colors.class
=> ActiveSupport::ArrayInquirer

This will create nice question like methods such as:

irb> colors = [:blue, 'green'].inquiry
=> [:blue, "green"]
=> true
=> true
=> false

It also creates the method any? for you:

irb> colors = [:blue, 'green'].inquiry
=> [:blue, "green"]
irb> colors.any?('blue', :yellow)
=> true
irb> colors.any?('red', :yellow)
=> false

By the way we use StringInquirer already:

irb> Rails.env
=> "development"
irb> Rails.env.class
=> ActiveSupport::StringInquirer
irb> Rails.env.development?
=> true


Rails 5 db schema and its indexes

Rails 5 changed the way they register db indexes on db/schema.rb file. Now it’s nested to create_table method.

rails 5

create_table "users", force: :cascade do |t|
  t.index ["username"],
    name: "index_users_on_username", using: :btree

rails 4

add_index "users", ["username"],
  name: "index_users_on_username", using: :btree

Foreign keys are registered the same way as before:

ActiveRecord::Schema.define(version: 20160524224020) do
  add_foreign_key "sessions", "users"

HTTP Request Methods Limiting Arguments

Check out this RSpec test from a Rails application:

# spec/controllers/chapters_controller_spec.rb
describe ChaptersController do
  describe '#create' do
    it 'creates a chapter' do
      expect do
        post :create, chapter: FactoryGirl.attributes_for(:chapter) change(Chapter, :count).by(1)

The code after :create will soon be deprecated.

5.0+ versions of Rails will only accept keyword arguments for ActionController::TestCase HTTP request methods.

Here’s that same test, minus the deprecation warnings I encountered upgrading to the first Rails 5 release candidate:

# spec/controllers/chapters_controller_spec.rb
describe ChaptersController do
  describe '#create' do
    it 'creates a chapter' do
      expect do
        post :create, params: { chapter: { title: 'Change', body: 'Change is coming!' } } change(Chapter, :count).by(1)

Rails 5 - Use limit on ActiveRecords with OR

Rails 5 comes released a new ActiveRecord or but it still have some constraints you should know.

limit, offset, distinct should be on both queries, otherwise:

irb(main):001:0> Session.where(user_id: 1).or(
                   Session.where(provider: 'github').limit(10)
=> ArgumentError: Relation passed to #or must be structurally compatible.
   Incompatible values: [:limit]

You need to add limit to both sides of the query, like:

irb(main):002:0> puts Session.where(user_id: 1).limit(10).or(
                   Session.where(provider: 'github').limit(10)
=> "SELECT  "sessions".*
    FROM "sessions"
    WHERE ("sessions"."user_id" = 1 OR "sessions"."provider" = 'github')
    LIMIT 10"

Rails 5 API and CORS

So if you have your frontend and backend on different domains you’ll need to allow CORS (cross-origin HTTP request).

Rails 5 with --api mode will prepare the setup for you. You just need to uncomment the following:

# Gemfile
gem 'rack-cors'
# config/initializers/cors.rb
Rails.application.config.middleware.insert_before 0, Rack::Cors do
  allow do
    origins 'localhost:4200'
    resource '*',
      headers: :any,
      methods: %i(get post put patch delete options head)

Time Travel by Rails

Rails have travel, travel_to, travel_back Testing Helper Methods to travel in time and then test your app with exact dates and times.

include ActiveSupport::Testing::TimeHelpers

=> Tue, 17 May 2016 12:31:52 UTC +00:00

travel_to, 11, 24, 01, 04, 44)
=> Wed, 24 Nov 2004 06:04:44 UTC +00:00

=> Tue, 17 May 2016 12:32:17 UTC +00:00

Another nice alternative is to use gems like:

Rails 5 API mode

You can build a rails API with the --api mode on Rails 5.

rails _5.0.0.rc1_ new rails5-api --api

Gems removed with api mode:

  • coffee-rails
  • jquery-rails
  • sass-rails
  • uglifier
  • turbolinks
  • jbuilder

Files removed with api mode:

  • app/assets
  • lib/assets
  • vendor/assets
  • app/helpers
  • app/views/layouts/application.hmtl.erb


app/controller/application_controller.rb has changed to inherit from ActionController::API

Rack middleware list changed with api mode:

5 middlewares were removed, including Cookies and Flash.

use Rack::MethodOverride
use WebConsole::Middleware
use ActionDispatch::Cookies
use ActionDispatch::Session::CookieStore
use ActionDispatch::Flash

Check their changelog

Rails 5 changed belongs_to default validation

New Rails 5 applications comes with this initializer:

# config/initializers/active_record_belongs_to_required_by_default.rb
Rails.application.config.active_record.belongs_to_required_by_default = true

So now, belongs_to associations require presence by default.

In order to make this relation optional you can change the initializer value for the whole app, or add optional: true to your relation:

belongs_to :user, optional: true

That’s the code change.

Rails 5 deprecation warning for Controller tests

Rails 5 has changed its ActionController::TestCase::Behavior to methods we use in controller tests and now you need to specify params key to the requests.

So if you had this in you tests:

get :show, id: 1

You’ll need to change to:

get :show, params: { id: 1 }

There is a warning message like this:

ActionController::TestCase HTTP request methods will accept only
keyword arguments in future Rails versions.
  get :show, params: { id: 1 }, session: { user_id: 1 }
  process :update, method: :post, params: { id: 1 }

Even if you use Rpsec you will need to change because rspec-rails uses this module to create the requests to the controllers.

Perform SQL Explain With ActiveRecord

Want to check out the performance characteristics of some SQL query from within a Pry session? ActiveRecord allows you to perform a SQL explain on any ActiveRecord::Relation object. After chaining some Arel functions together, add an #explain.

Here is an example:

  Recipe Load (0.9ms)  SELECT "recipes".* FROM "recipes" INNER JOIN "ingredient_amounts" ON "ingredient_amounts"."recipe_id" = "recipes"."id"
=> EXPLAIN for: SELECT "recipes".* FROM "recipes" INNER JOIN "ingredient_amounts" ON "ingredient_amounts"."recipe_id" = "recipes"."id"
                                 QUERY PLAN
 Hash Join  (cost=1.09..26.43 rows=22 width=148)
   Hash Cond: (ingredient_amounts.recipe_id =
   ->  Seq Scan on ingredient_amounts  (cost=0.00..21.00 rows=1100 width=4)
   ->  Hash  (cost=1.04..1.04 rows=4 width=148)
         ->  Seq Scan on recipes  (cost=0.00..1.04 rows=4 width=148)
(5 rows)


Rails: Start Resque Worker for Async Mail Delivery

QUEUE=mailers rake resque:work

Assuming you have properly configured Resque to work with ActiveJob, you will now have a worker waiting to execute mail delivery requests. Read more about how to execute these deliveries to take full advantage of the feature.

If you want to run the worker as a background process simply set the BACKGROUND environment variable before running the rake task:

BACKGROUND=1 QUEUE=mailers rake resque:work

Create Migrations Faster with Vim-Rails

Not only can we create database migrations with vim-rails, it’s faster than using a generator. I counted the steps today and realized I was wasting precious keystrokes by underutilizing this great plugin.

Here’s how I was setting up a migration:

  • Generate the migration:
$ rails g migration add_diameter_to_wheels
  • Load the migration in Vim with :Emigration (vim-rails)
  • Replace change method with up and down methods

Here’s my improved method:

  • Generate a migration (in Vim) with :Emigration AddDiameterToWheels!
  • Create up and down methods

Less steps and characters, and best of all, we never have to leave Vim.

h/t Chris Erin

Demodulize A Class Name

If you call on an instance of some class, the fully qualified name will be returned, module names and all. Consider the following example class:

module One
  module Two
    class Three
#=> "One::Two::Three"

If you just want the unqualified class name; modules not included, you can use the #demodulize method provided by ActiveSupport.

#=> "Three"

Rails nested forms

You can use rails Nested Forms even with plain form objects.

You just need to use form.fields_for and then declare the params name and the object for validation errors.


= form_for @foo_form, as: :foo, url: foo_path do |form|
  = form.text_field :name
  = form.fields_for :bar_params, do |nested_form|
    = nested_form.text_field :description


class FooForm
  include ActiveModel::Model

  attr_accessor :name, :bar_params, :bar
  validates :name, presence: true

  def initialize(attributes = {})
    super attributes  =

  def save
    valid? && Foo.create(name: name)&&
class BarForm
  include ActiveModel::Model

  attr_accessor :description
  validates :description, presence: true

  def save
    valid? && Bar.create(description: description)


class FooController < ApplicationController
  def edit
    @foo_form =

  def create
    @foo_form =[:foo])
      redirect_to root_path
      render :edit

So the bar params will be scoped into bar_params node, and the validations will work.

Write and Read Rails Attributes with Aliases

Lately I’ve been using a nice alias for writing record attributes in Rails, []=. Behold:

[1] pry(main)> d =
=> #<Developer:0x007ff7130f8ef0
[2] pry(main)> d[:username] = 'isaacemard'
=> "isaacemard"
[3] pry(main)> d.username
=> "isaacemard"

That’s all it takes. There’s a getter variant, too:

[4] pry(main)> d[:username]
=> "isaacemard"

Here’s how I used it today:

# app/models/developer.rb
before_create :generate_slug

def generate_slug
   self[:slug] ||= SecureRandom.hex(5)

To me this code reads a lot more nicely than write_attribute(attr_name, value). These aliases have been a part of Rails since at least 2012.


h/t Mike Chau and Chris Erin

Attach A File With Capybara

There are two ways to attach a file with Capybara. The more conventional way is with the attach_file method.

Assuming there is a form with a file input similar to the following:

<label for='data-file'>Data File</label>
<input type='file' name='data-file' />
attach_file('data-file', 'path/to/file.csv')

The first argument to attach_file is a locator which refers to the name attribute on the input tag.

If for some reason there is no name attribute on the input tag, the file can be attached with a standard find and set.

find('form input[type="file"]').set('path/to/file.csv')

Custom Validation Message

When using Rails validations, a standard error message will be provided whenever there is a violation. Consider the scenario when there is a uniqueness validation on the email attribute and it is violated:

# User model
validates_uniqueness_of :email

# Users controller
#=> ["Email has already been taken"]

Sometimes you don’t want the default validation message. The validation declaration can be given a message option to specify an alternate validation message.

# User model
validates_uniqueness_of :email, message: 'is not available'

# Users controller
#=> ["Email is not available"]

Keep in mind that full_messages will prepend the model name to the front of the message. You’ll want to ensure that the resulting message is coherent.

Advanced Search with Textacular

Textacular exposes full text search capabilities from PostgreSQL, extending ActiveRecord with scopes making search easy and fun!

We wanted an advanced search, but that should also work as autocomplete.

So we end up using the gem textacular and the PostgreSql tsquery with the :* for prefixed searches

Game.advanced_search(title: 'street fi:*')

Thanks @mrmicahcooper!


Truncate Almost All Tables

The database_cleaner gem is a handy way to make sure you have a consistent database context for each test example or suite. One database_cleaner strategy that can be used is the truncation strategy. This truncates the data from all the tables by default. This is not ideal for fixed tables that contain domain-specific data because you end up having to do way more test setup than should be necessary. Fortunately, specific tables can be excepted by the truncation strategy using the except option.

For instance, if we have a standard set of roles for users of our application, we can except that table from truncation with a line like the following in our rails_helper.rb file:

DatabaseCleaner.strategy = :truncation, {:except => %w[roles]}

Interact with Rails via Runner

The rails runner feature of the Ruby on Rails command line interface is pretty awesome.

The documentation states:

runner runs Ruby code in the context of Rails non-interactively.

Use it like the ruby command to execute Ruby code in the context of your Rails environment. Take this file:

# rails_runner_in_action.rb
puts Developer.count # 5
puts Post.count # 40
puts Channel.count # 17

And run it with:

$ rails runner rails_runner_in_action.rb

It also runs Ruby code right in the terminal, so this works (rails r is an alias):

$ rails r "puts Developer.count"

after_commit callback in active_record

We use ActiveRecord callbacks at times to sync data between systems but if you’re using transactions you don’t want to have called a callback like after_create and then have the whole transaction roll back, then you’d have out of sync systems! Rails conveniently includes an after_commit hook for such a case.

class Fruit < ActiveRecord::Base
  after_commit :sync_to_fruitstand

ActiveRecord::Base.transaction do
  Fruit.create(name: 'Banana')
  Fruit.create(name: 'Kiwi')
  Fruit.create(name: 'Rasberry')

Now, the callback is called (for all 3 times) only when the final Fruit creation for a Rasberry succeeds.

Set Schema Search Path

By default the schema search path for a PostgreSQL database is going to be "$user", public. Tables created by a Rails migration are going to end up on the public schema by default. If your application has other schemas in play, then you may want to ensure that those schemas are also on the schema search path. This can be accomplished by adding the schema_search_path setting to your database.yml file. For instance, to include both the legacy and public schema in the Postgres search path, add the following line:

schema_search_path: "legacy,public"

h/t Jack Christensen

Change Rails validation message completely

Rails always appends field name to validation messages, and when setting message: on a validation statement it gets appended to the humanized name of the field.

If you want to change the validation message completely use the locales file:

# config/locales/en.yml
        email: "E-mail address"
              blank: "is required"

This was particularly useful with the ValidatesTimeliness gem which does not support a lambda.

🎉Happy 500 post to TIL 🎉

Rails Sandbox 🏖

When you are working with a complicated database structure, and find yourself needing to debug a complex or dangerous (delete) action, you might be hesitant to experiment. Keep experimenting! Don’t want to setup all that data again? No worries. You can use a sandbox $ rails c -s

Usage: rails console [environment] [options]
  -s, --sandbox      Rollback database modifications on exit.

The sandbox flag will keep all database changes in a database transaction when you start the rails console and automatically issue a rollback when you quit the console.

Generate a Rails Secret Key

Have you ever wondered about those secret keys found in config/secrets.yml of your Rails app? The comments generated in that file describe the keys as such:

‘Your secret key is used for verifying the integrity of signed cookies.’

Great… but what if they become compromised? Or we need to change them? We can generate new ones.

Rails provides rake secret for just this purpose.

The source code is here. It’s pretty simple; the code simply requires SecureRandom and spits out a string. If you want to be really clever, you can pipe the string directly into your Vim buffer for the config file, with :.! rake secret.

Check out rake -T | grep secret inside a Rails root directory for more information.