Adds support in ActiveRecord for foreign_keys, complex indexes and other database-related stuff
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redhillonrails_core was originally created by but it was retired and is no longer supported.

That fork is intended to make redhillonrails_core compatible with edge rails and introduce some new features.

RedHill on Rails Core

Goal of redhillonrails_core is to provided missing ActiveRecord support for database specific features:

  • foreign_keys
  • case-insensitive and partial indexes (pgsql only)
  • views


As a gem

gem install aspgems-redhillonrails_core


  • Ruby - 1.8, 1.9
  • ActiveRecord - 2.X, 3.X
  • Databases - PostgreSQL, MySQL, SQLite3 (most features should also run on others)

Foreign Key Support

The plugin provides two mechanisms for adding foreign keys as well as preserving foreign keys when performing a schema dump. (Using SQL-92 syntax and as such should be compatible with most databases that support foreign-key constraints.)

The first mechanism for creating foreign-keys allows you to add a foreign key when defining a table. For example:

  create_table :orders do |t|
    t.foreign_key :customer_id, :customers, :id

You also have the option of specifying what to do on delete/update using :on_delete/:on_update, respectively to one of: :cascade; :restrict; and :set_null:

  create_table :orders do |t|
    t.foreign_key :customer_id, :customers, :id, :on_delete => :set_null, :on_update => :cascade

The second method allows you to create arbitrary foreign-keys at any time:

  add_foreign_key(:orders, :customer_id, :customers, :id, :on_delete => :set_null, :on_update => :cascade)

In either case, if your database supports deferred foreign keys (for example PostgreSQL) you can specify this as well:

  t.foreign_key :customer_id, :customers, :id, :deferrable => true
  add_foreign_key(:orders, :customer_id, :customers, :id, :deferrable => true)

By default, the foreign key will be assigned a name by the underlying database. However, if this doesn't suit your needs, you can override the default assignment using the :name option:

  add_foreign_key(:orders, :customer_id, :customers, :id, :on_delete => :set_null, :on_update => :cascade, <strong>:name => :orders_customer_id_foreign_key<strong>)

You can also query the foreign keys for a model yourself by calling foreign_keys():


Or for an arbitrary table by calling foreign_keys(table_name) on a database adapter.

Either method returns an array of the following meta-data:

  • +name+ - The name of the foreign key constraint;
  • +table_name+ - The table for which the foreign-key was generated;
  • +column_names+ - The column names in the table;
  • +references_table_name+ - The table referenced by the foreign-key; and
  • +references_column_names+ - The columns names in the referenced table.

If you need to drop a foreign-key, use:

  remove_foreign_key :orders, :orders_ordered_by_id_fkey

The plugin also ensures that all foreign keys are output when performing a schema dump. This happens automatically when running rake migrate or rake db:schema:dump. This has particular implications when running unit tests that contain fixtures. To ensure the test data is correctly reset after each test, you should list your fixtures in order of parent->child. For example:

  fixtures :customers, :products, :orders, :order_lines

Rails will then set-up and tear-down the fixtures in the correct sequence.

Some databases (PostgreSQL and MySQL for example) allow you to set a comment for a table. You can do this for existing tables by using:

  set_table_comment :orders, "All pending and processed orders"

or even at the time of creation:

  create_table :orders, :comment => "All pending and processed orders" do |t|

You can clear table comments using:

  clear_table_comment :orders

There is also a rake tasks to show all database tables and their comments:

rake db:comments

The plugin fully supports and understands the following active-record configuration properties:

  • config.active_record.pluralize_table_names
  • config.active_record.table_name_prefix
  • config.active_record.table_name_suffix

View Support

The plugin provides a mechanism for creating and dropping views as well as preserving views when performing a schema dump:

  create_view :normal_customers, "SELECT * FROM customers WHERE status = 'normal'"
  drop_view :normal_customers

Model Indexes

ActiveRecord::Base already provides a method on connection for obtaining the indexes for a given table. This plugin now makes it possible to obtain the indexes for a given model--ActiveRecord::Base--class. For example:


Would return all the indexes for the +invoices+ table.

Schema Defining

The plugin also adds a method--defining?()--to ActiveRecord::Schema to indicate when define() is running. This is necessary as some migration plugins must change their behaviour accordingly.

Case-insensitive Indexes

For PostgreSQL, you can add an option :case_sensitive => false to add_index which will generate an expression index of the form:


This means finder queries of the form:

WHERE LOWER(column_name) = LOWER(?)

are able to use the indexes rather require, in the worst case, full-table scans.

Note also that this ties in well with Rails built-in support for case-insensitive searching:

  validates_uniqueness_of :name, :case_sensitive => false

See Also

  • Foreign Key Migrations (foreign_key_migrations)