Hidden Features of Ruby on Rails

Ruby on-Rails

Ruby on-Rails Problem Overview

As a companion to Hidden features of Ruby.

Try to keep it to Rails since the other is a better place for Ruby-specific examples. One per post please.

Ruby on-Rails Solutions

Solution 1 - Ruby on-Rails

To avoid duplicate form submissions, Rails has a nice option for submit tags:

submit_tag "Submit", :disable_with => "Saving..."

This adds behavior to the submit button to disable it once clicked, and to display "Saving..." instead of "Submit".

Rails 4+

 DEPRECATION WARNING: :disable_with option is deprecated and 
 will be removed from Rails 4.1. Use 'data: { disable_with: 'Text' }' instead.

Thus the above becomes:

submit_tag 'Submit', data: { disable_with: 'Text' }

Solution 2 - Ruby on-Rails

integer.ordinalize is one little method that I just stumbled upon not to long ago.

1.ordinalize = "1st"
3.ordinalize = "3rd"

Solution 3 - Ruby on-Rails

I'm currently in love with div_for and content_tag_for

<% div_for(@comment) do %>
  <!-- code to display your comment -->
<% end %>

The above code renders this:

<div id="comment_123" class="comment">
  <!-- code to display your comment -->

Want the CSS class to be comment other_class? No problem:

<% div_for(@comment, :class => 'other_class') do %>
  <!-- code to display your comment -->
<% end %>

Want a span and not a div? No problem, content_tag_for to the rescue!

<% content_tag_for(:span, @comment) do %>
<% end %>

# Becomes...

<span id="comment_123" class="comment">
  <!-- code to display your comment -->

content_tag_for is also great if you want to prefix you id. I use it for loading gifs.

<% content_tag_for(:span, @comment, 'loading') do %>
  <%= image_tag 'loading.gif' -%>
<% end %>

# Becomes...

<span id="loading_comment_123" class="comment">
  <img src="loading.gif" />

Solution 4 - Ruby on-Rails

To see a list of gems that are installed, you can run:

gem server

Then point your browser at:


You get a nicely formatted list of your gems with links to rdoc, the web and any dependencies. Much nicer than:

gem list

Solution 5 - Ruby on-Rails

You can take advantage of the fact that Ruby class definitions are active and that Rails caches classes in the production environment, to ensure that constant data is only fetched from the database when your application starts up.

For example, for a model that represents countries you'd define a constant that performs a Country.all query when the class is loaded:

class Country < ActiveRecord::Base
  COUNTRIES = self.all

You can use this constant within a view template (perhaps within a select helper) by referring to Country::COUNTRIES. For example:

<%= select_tag(:country, options_for_select(Country::COUNTRIES)) %>

Solution 6 - Ruby on-Rails

in your environment.rb, you can define new date/time formats e.g.

[Time::DATE_FORMATS, Date::DATE_FORMATS].each do |obj|
  obj[:dots] = "%m.%d.%y"

so then in your views you can use:

Created: <%= @my_object.created_at.to_s(:dots) %>

which will print like:

Created: 06.21.09

Solution 7 - Ruby on-Rails

If you have a model with some class methods and some named scopes:

class Animal < ActiveRecord::Base
  named_scope 'nocturnal', :conditions => {'nocturnal' => true}
  named_scope 'carnivorous', :conditions => {'vegetarian' => true}

  def self.feed_all_with(food)
    self.all.each do |animal|

Then you can call the class methods through the named scope:

if night_time?

Solution 8 - Ruby on-Rails

Rails 2.3.x now allows you to do:

render @items

much simpler..

Solution 9 - Ruby on-Rails

I'll start with one of my favorites. When calling a partial with a collection, instead of looping through your collection and calling it for each item, you can use this:

render :partial => 'items', :collection => @items

This will call the partial once per item, and pass a local variable item each time. You don't have to worry about nil checking @items either.

Solution 10 - Ruby on-Rails

You can change the behaviour of a model for your test suite. Say you have some after_save method defined and you do not want it to happen in your unit tests. This is how it works:

# models/person.rb
class Person < ActiveRecord::Base
  def after_save
    # do something useful

# test/unit/person_test.rb
require 'test_helper'

class PersonTest < ActiveSupport::TestCase
  class ::Person
    def after_save
      # do nothing
  test "something interesting" do
    # ...

Solution 11 - Ruby on-Rails

Funny feature is that array has special method for accessing its 42 element

a = []


Solution 12 - Ruby on-Rails

If you add routing for a resource:

ActionController::Routing::Routes.draw do |map|
  map.resources :maps

And register additional mime-types:

Mime::Type.register 'application/vnd.google-earth.kml+xml', :kml

You don't need a respond_to block in your controller to serve these additional types. Instead, just create views for the specific types, for example 'show.kml.builder' or 'index.kml.erb'. Rails will render these type-specific templates when requests for '/maps.kml' or '/maps/1.kml' are received, setting the response type appropriately.

Solution 13 - Ruby on-Rails

ActionView::Base.default_form_builder = MyFormBuilderClass

Very useful when you're creating your own form builders. A much better alternative to manually passing :builder, either in your views or in your own custom_form_for helper.

Solution 14 - Ruby on-Rails

The returning block is a great way to return values:

def returns_a_hash(id)
  returning Hash.new do |result|
   result["id"] = id

Will return a hash. You can substitute any other types as well.

Solution 15 - Ruby on-Rails

Get everything printed with rake routes programmatically:



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Content TypeOriginal AuthorOriginal Content on Stackoverflow
QuestionBrianView Question on Stackoverflow
Solution 1 - Ruby on-RailsJo HundView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 2 - Ruby on-RailsDan FradeView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 3 - Ruby on-RailsMatt GrandeView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 4 - Ruby on-RailsBrianView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 5 - Ruby on-RailsJohn TopleyView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 6 - Ruby on-RailsjemmingerView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 7 - Ruby on-RailstomafroView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 8 - Ruby on-RailsRic8ardView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 9 - Ruby on-RailsBrianView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 10 - Ruby on-RailsericteubertView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 11 - Ruby on-RailsFivellView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 12 - Ruby on-RailstomafroView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 13 - Ruby on-RailsAugust LilleaasView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 14 - Ruby on-RailsBrianView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 15 - Ruby on-RailsnurettinView Answer on Stackoverflow