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= Userstamp Plugin (v 2.0)
== Overview
The Userstamp Plugin extends ActiveRecord::Base[] to add automatic updating of 'creator',
'updater', and 'deleter' attributes. It is based loosely on the ActiveRecord::Timestamp[] module.
Two class methods (<tt>model_stamper</tt> and <tt>stampable</tt>) are implemented in this plugin.
The <tt>model_stamper</tt> method is used in models that are responsible for creating, updating, or
deleting other objects. The <tt>stampable</tt> method is used in models that are subject to being
created, updated, or deleted by 'stampers'.
== Installation
Installation of the plugin can be done using the built in Rails plugin script. Issue the following
command from the root of your application:
script/plugin install git://
Once installed you will need to restart your application for the plugin to be loaded into the Rails
You might also be interested in using Piston[] to manage the
importing and future updating of this plugin.
== Usage
In this new version of the Userstamp plug-in, the assumption is that you have two different
categories of objects; those that mani˝pulate, and those that are manipulated. For those objects
that are being manipulated there's the Stampable module and for the manipulators there's the
Stamper module. There's also the actual Userstamp module for your controllers that assists in
setting up your environment on a per request basis.
To better understand how all this works, I think an example is in order. For this example we will
assume that a weblog application is comprised of User and Post objects. The first thing we need to
do is create the migrations for these objects, and the plug-in gives you a <tt>userstamps</tt>
method for very easily doing this:
class CreateUsers < ActiveRecord::Migration
def self.up
create_table :users, :force => true do |t|
def self.down
drop_table :users
class CreatePosts < ActiveRecord::Migration
def self.up
create_table :posts, :force => true do |t|
def self.down
drop_table :posts
Second, since Users are going to manipulate other objects in our project, we'll use the
<tt>model_stamper</tt> method in our User class:
class User < ActiveRecord::Base
Finally, we need to setup a controller to set the current user of the application. It's
recommended that you do this in your ApplicationController:
class ApplicationController < ActionController::Base
include Userstamp
If all you are interested in is making sure all tables that have the proper columns are stamped
by the currently logged in user you can stop right here. More than likely you want all your
associations setup on your stamped objects, and that's where the <tt>stampable</tt> class method
comes in. So in our example we'll want to use this method in both our User and Post classes:
class User < ActiveRecord::Base
class Post < ActiveRecord::Base
Okay, so what all have we done? The <tt>model_stamper</tt> class method injects two methods into the
User class. They are #stamper= and #stamper and look like this:
def stamper=(object)
object_stamper = if object.is_a?(ActiveRecord::Base)
Thread.current["#{self.to_s.downcase}_#{self.object_id}_stamper"] = object_stamper
def stamper
The big change with this new version is that we are now using Thread.current to save the current
stamper so as to avoid conflict with concurrent requests.
The <tt>stampable</tt> method allows you to customize what columns will get stamped, and also
creates the +creator+, +updater+, and +deleter+ associations.
The Userstamp module that we included into our ApplicationController uses the setter method to
set which user is currently making the request. By default the 'set_stampers' method works perfectly
with the RestfulAuthentication[] plug-in:
def set_stampers
User.stamper = self.current_user
If you aren't using ActsAsAuthenticated, then you need to create your own version of the
<tt>set_stampers</tt> method in the controller where you've included the Userstamp module.
Now, let's get back to the Stampable module (since it really is the interesting one). The Stampable
module sets up before_* filters that are responsible for setting those attributes at the appropriate
times. It also creates the belongs_to relationships for you.
If you need to customize the columns that are stamped, the <tt>stampable</tt> method can be
completely customized. Here's an quick example:
class Post < ActiveRecord::Base
acts_as_stampable :stamper_class_name => :person,
:creator_attribute => :create_user,
:updater_attribute => :update_user,
:deleter_attribute => :delete_user
If you are upgrading your application from the old version of Userstamp, there is a compatibility
mode to have the plug-in use the old "_by" columns by default. To enable this mode, add the
following line to the RAILS_ROOT/config/environment.rb file:
Ddb::Userstamp.compatibility_mode = true
If you are having a difficult time getting the Userstamp plug-in to work, I recommend you checkout
the sample application that I created. You can find this application on GitHub[]
== Uninstall
Uninstalling the plugin can be done using the built in Rails plugin script. Issue the following
command from the root of your application:
script/plugin remove userstamp
== Documentation
RDoc has been run on the plugin directory and is available in the doc directory.
== Running Unit Tests
There are extensive unit tests in the "test" directory of the plugin. These test can be run
individually by executing the following command from the userstamp directory:
ruby test/compatibility_stamping_test.rb
ruby test/stamping_test.rb
ruby test/userstamp_controller_test.rb
== Bugs & Feedback
Bug reports and feedback are welcome via my email address. I also
encouraged everyone to clone the git repository and make modifications--I'll be more than happy
to merge any changes from other people's branches that would be beneficial to the whole project.
== Credits and Special Thanks
The original idea for this plugin came from the Rails Wiki article entitled
{Extending ActiveRecord}[].
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