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API consumable error messages with ActiveModel::Errors drop-in compatibility.
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README.md

ActiveModel Better Errors

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active_model-better_errors is a ActiveModel::Errors compatible library to help you customize the presentation of your error messages.

Why Better Errors

In ActiveModel::Errors, when an error is added, it is pre translated into human readable string. However, this becomes less ideal when output error messages in JSON or XML in your API. Most of the times, we want error codes instead of human readable strings. This will allow API consumers to translate them in their own application and provide more flexibility for your API.

How Better Errors Work

active_model-better_errors works by separating the concerns of error message storage and presentation. ActiveModel::Errors really handles four tasks in a single class:

  • error data storage
  • presenting human readable errors using #full_messages
  • presenting errors in Array / XML format with #to_a and #to_xml
  • presenting errors in Hash / JSON format with #to_hash and #as_json

This gem seperates these concerns and allows users to plugin various reporters for different presentation needs.

Setup

With Bundler

# in Gemfile
gem 'active_model-better_errors', '>= 1.4.0'
# in console
bundle install

With RubyGems

gem install active_model-better_errors

Configure

By default, active_model-better_errors is a drop-in replacement for ActiveModel::Errors and will mostly function without modifications. This is because the default reporters are set like the following:

ActiveModel::BetterErrors.set_reporter :message,  :human
ActiveModel::BetterErrors.set_reporter :array,    :human
ActiveModel::BetterErrors.set_reporter :hash,     :human

If you want to output API friendly JSON / XML by default, you can use the following config.

ActiveModel::BetterErrors.set_reporter :message,  :human
ActiveModel::BetterErrors.set_reporter :array,    :machine
ActiveModel::BetterErrors.set_reporter :hash,     :machine

Note: The configurations above determines default reporters to use, you can always switch to any reporters you want during runtime by invoking errors.set_reporter

Usage

user.errors # returns an instance of ActiveModel::BetterErrors::Errors

# Use MachineArrayReporter to output API friendly error messages
user.errors.set_reporter(:array, :machine)
user.errors.to_a   # API Friendly
user.errors.to_xml # API Friendly

# Use HumanArrayReporter to output Human friendly error messages.
# This is ActiveModel::Errors behavior
user.errors.set_reporter(:array, :human)
user.errors.to_a   # Human Friendly
user.errors.to_xml # Human Friendly

# Use MachineHashReporter to output API friendly error messages
user.errors.set_reporter(:hash, :machine)
user.errors.to_hash # API Friendly
user.errors.as_json # API Friendly
user.errors.to_json # API Friendly


# Use HumanHashReporter to output Human friendly error messages.
# This is ActiveModel::Errors behavior
user.errors.set_reporter(:hash, :human)
user.errors.to_hash # Human Friendly
user.errors.as_json # Human Friendly
user.errors.to_json # Human Friendly

# Use MyHashReporter to output Human friendly error messages.
# This is ActiveModel::Errors behavior
user.errors.set_reporter(:hash, MyHashReporter)
user.errors.to_hash # custom behavior
user.errors.as_json # custom behavior
user.errors.to_json # custom behavior

In Depth

This library creates three types of reporters to take care of some presentation aspects of ActiveModel::Errors, and they are:

Message Reporters

This is responsible for handling the following methods in ActiveModel::Errors

  • #full_messages
  • #full_message
  • #generate_message

Due to the conventional use of these methods, they are mostly intended for human consumption.

This library implements the following reporters of this type:

  • HumanMessageReporter

Array Reporters

This is responsible for handling the following methods in ActiveModel::Errors

  • #to_a

This library implements the following reporters of this type:

  • HumanArrayReporter
  • MachineArrayReporter

Hash Reporters

This is responsible for handling the following methods in ActiveModel::Errors

  • #to_hash

This library implements the following reporters of this type:

  • HumanHashReporter
  • MachineHashReporter

Creating Custom Reporters

Creating a custom reporter is easy. Here is an example to create a hash reporter

class MyHashReporter < ActiveModel::BetterErrors::HashReporter
  def to_hash
    # you have access to #collection and #base
  end
end

# set it to use it.
ActiveModel::BetterErrors.set_reporter :hash, MyHashReporter

Contributing to active_model-better_errors

  • Check out the latest master to make sure the feature hasn't been implemented or the bug hasn't been fixed yet.
  • Check out the issue tracker to make sure someone already hasn't requested it and/or contributed it.
  • Fork the project.
  • Start a feature/bugfix branch.
  • Commit and push until you are happy with your contribution.
  • Make sure to add tests for it. This is important so I don't break it in a future version unintentionally.
  • Please try not to mess with the Rakefile, version, or history. If you want to have your own version, or is otherwise necessary, that is fine, but please isolate to its own commit so I can cherry-pick around it.

Copyright

Copyright (c) 2013 Aaron Qian. See LICENSE.txt for further details.

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