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Rails 2.3: serialize ActiveRecord attributes with the super-fast Marshal library.
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README.rdoc

Marshalize

This Rails plugin provides serialization using Marshal in the same way Rails provides builtin serialization using YAML. In a model, just do

class YourModel < ActiveRecord::Base
  marshalize :attribute
end

and your app will automagically handle the attribute using the binary converter Marshal: dumping when saving to the database, loading when fetching from it.

You can store any kind object (not just arrays and hashes…). Be aware that Marshal defines a binary format which may change in incoming Ruby releases and is currently not portable outside the Ruby world. For portable yet slower alternatives, you may try JSON or XML serializers.

Example

$ script/generate scaffold Robot name:string parameters:text features:text status:text

class Robot < ActiveRecord::Base

  marshalize :parameters               # The "parameters" attribute will be saved as binary data

  marshalize :features,  RobotFeature  # You can define what kind of object is to be marshalized
                                       # An error will be raised if another class is provided for
                                       # this attribute

  serialize  :status,    Array         # Marshalization plays well with YAML classic serialization

end

Installation

recommended – as a local gem dependency:

In your environment.rb, inside the Rails::Initializer, add the following line:

config.gem "chikamichi-marshalize", :lib => 'marshalize', :source => 'http://gems.github.com'

Then run rake gems:install to fetch the plugin in.

as a plugin:

In your Rails application root directory:

script/plugin install git://github.com/chikamichi/marshalize.git

as an standalone gem:

If necessary:

gem sources -a http://gems.github.com

Then:

sudo gem install chikamichi-marshalize

Testing

A very simple test case is provided as test/marshalize_test.rb. Run rake test.

TODO

  • make base64 encoding optionnal for binary attributes (blob), mandatory for text attributes

  • some super stuff to avoid harsh overriding of ActiveRecord internals

  • a method to fetch raw binary and/or encoded data from the db, bypassing unmarshalizing?

  • rake tasks to manage marshalized data recovering in case Marshal went astray (say, a new version breaking things down?)

License

Released under the WTFPL (see COPYING).

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