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Settingslogic

Settingslogic is a simple configuration / settings solution that uses an ERB enabled YAML file. It has been great for our apps, maybe you will enjoy it too. Settingslogic works with Rails, Sinatra, or any Ruby project.

So here is my question to you.….is Settingslogic a great settings solution or the greatest?

Helpful links

* Documentation: rdoc.info/projects/binarylogic/settingslogic * Repository: github.com/binarylogic/settingslogic/tree/master

Installation

Install from rubyforge/gemcutter:

sudo gem install settingslogic

Or as a Rails plugin:

script/plugin install git://github.com/binarylogic/settingslogic.git

Settingslogic does not have any dependencies on Rails. Installing as a gem is recommended.

Usage

1. Define your class

Instead of defining a Settings constant for you, that task is left to you. Simply create a class in your application that looks like:

class Settings < Settingslogic
  source "#{Rails.root}/config/application.yml"
  namespace Rails.env
end

Name it Settings, name it Config, name it whatever you want. Add as many or as few as you like. A good place to put this file in a rails app is app/models/settings.rb

I felt adding a settings file in your app was more straightforward, less tricky, and more flexible.

2. Create your settings

Notice above we specified an absolute path to our settings file called “application.yml”. This is just a typical YAML file. Also notice above that we specified a namespace for our environment. A namespace is just an optional string that corresponds to a key in the YAML file.

Using a namespace allows us to change our configuration depending on our environment:

# config/application.yml
defaults: &defaults
  cool:
    saweet: nested settings
  neat_setting: 24
  awesome_setting: <%= "Did you know 5 + 5 = #{5 + 5}?" %>

development:
  <<: *defaults
  neat_setting: 800

test:
  <<: *defaults

production:
  <<: *defaults

Note: Certain Ruby/Bundler versions include a version of the Psych YAML parser which incorrectly handles merges (the `<<` in the example above.) If your default settings seem to be overwriting your environment-specific settings, including the following lines in your config/boot.rb file may solve the problem:

require 'yaml'
YAML::ENGINE.yamler= 'syck'

3. Access your settings

>> Rails.env
=> "development"

>> Settings.cool
=> "#<Settingslogic::Settings ... >"

>> Settings.cool.saweet
=> "nested settings"

>> Settings.neat_setting
=> 800

>> Settings.awesome_setting
=> "Did you know 5 + 5 = 10?"

You can use these settings anywhere, for example in a model:

class Post < ActiveRecord::Base
  self.per_page = Settings.pagination.posts_per_page
end

4. Optional / dynamic settings

Often, you will want to handle defaults in your application logic itself, to reduce the number of settings you need to put in your YAML file. You can access an optional setting by using Hash notation:

>> Settings.messaging.queue_name
=> Exception: Missing setting 'queue_name' in 'message' section in 'application.yml'

>> Settings.messaging['queue_name']
=> nil

>> Settings.messaging['queue_name'] ||= 'user_mail'
=> "user_mail"

>> Settings.messaging.queue_name
=> "user_mail"

Modifying our model example:

class Post < ActiveRecord::Base
  self.per_page = Settings.posts['per_page'] || Settings.pagination.per_page
end

This would allow you to specify a custom value for per_page just for posts, or to fall back to your default value if not specified.

5. Suppressing Exceptions Conditionally

Raising exceptions for missing settings helps highlight configuration problems. However, in a Rails app it may make sense to suppress this in production and return nil for missing settings. While it's useful to stop and highlight an error in development or test environments, this is often not the right answer for production.

class Settings < Settingslogic
  source "#{Rails.root}/config/application.yml"
  namespace Rails.env
  suppress_errors Rails.env.production?
end

>> Settings.non_existent_key
=> nil

Note on Sinatra / Capistrano / Vlad

Each of these frameworks uses a set convention for settings, which actually defines methods in the global Object namespace:

set :application, "myapp"  # does "def application" globally

This can cause collisions with Settingslogic, since those methods are global. Luckily, the solution is to just add a call to load! in your class:

class Settings < Settingslogic
  source "#{Rails.root}/config/application.yml"
  namespace Rails.env
  load!
end

It's probably always safest to add load! to your class, since this guarantees settings will be loaded at that time, rather than lazily later via method_missing.

Finally, you can reload all your settings later as well:

Settings.reload!

This is useful if you want to support changing your settings YAML without restarting your app.

Author

Copyright © 2008-2010 Ben Johnson of Binary Logic, released under the MIT license. Support for optional settings and reloading by Nate Wiger.

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