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Generates DRY and specifically extendable CRUD controller, views and helpers for Rails applications
Ruby CSS

README.rdoc

DRY CRUD

dry_crud generates simple and extendable controllers, views and helpers that support you to DRY up the CRUD code in your Rails projects. List, search, sort, show, create, edit and destroy any model entries in just 5 minutes. Start with these artifacts and build a clean base to efficiently develop your application upon.

Installation

Create your Rails application directly with the dry_crud application template:

rails new APP_NAME -m https://raw.github.com/codez/dry_crud/master/template.rb

If your application already exists or you prefer the DIY way, then install the Gem (gem install dry_crud), add it to your Gemfile and run the generator. You may remove the Gemfile entry again afterwards, it is not required anymore.

rails generate dry_crud [--templates haml] [--tests rspec]

By default, dry_crud generates ERB templates and Test::Unit tests. Pass the options above to generate HAML templates and/or RSpec examples instead.

We recommend to use dry_crud as a generator as described above for the best understanding and the most flexibility. When you are familiar with dry_crud, it is now also possible to use it directly as a Rails Engine. Simply add the gem to your Gemfile. You may still generate single files to adapt them:

rails generate dry_crud:file list/index.html.erb

If a dry_crud file exists in your application, it will be used, if not, the one from the engine is used. This holds for controllers, helpers and view templates.

Integration

To integrate dry_crud into your code, only a few additions are required:

  • For uniform CRUD functionality, just subclass your controllers from CrudController and define the permitted_attrs (for StrongParameters).

  • Overwrite the to_s method of your models for a human-friendly representation in captions.

  • Optionally define a list scope in your models to be used in the index action.

  • Optionally define a options_list scope in your models to be used in select dropdowns.

From version 3.0, only the latest released Rails version will be supported, which currently is 4.2. Version 2.0 and higher are compatible with Rails 4 and Rails 3.2. dry_crud is tested with Ruby 1.9.3, 2.1.5 and JRuby. If you are using Ruby 1.8.7, please refer to version 1.7.0.

Background

In most Rails applications, you have some models that require basic CRUD (create, read, update, delete) functionality. There are various possibilities like Rails scaffolding, Inherited Resources or Rails Admin. Still, various parts in your application remain duplicated. While you might pull up common methods into a common superclass controller, most views still contain very similar code. And then you also have to remember the entire API of these frameworks.

Enter dry_crud.

The main idea of dry_crud is to concentrate basic functionality of your application, like CRUD actions, uniform formatting, forms and tables into specifically extendable units. dry_crud generates various foundation classes that you may browse easily and adapt freely to your application's needs. For each model, you may transparently customize arbitrary parts or just fallback to the general behavior. This applies not only for controllers, but also for view templates and helpers. There is no black box your code depends on. You lay the foundation that fits your application best.

dry_crud is a Rails generator. All code resides in your application and is open for you to inspect and to extend. You may pick whatever you consider useful or adapt what is not sufficient. Even if you do not require any CRUD functionality, you might find some helpers simplifying your work. There are no runtime dependencies to the dry_crud gem. Having said this, dry_crud does not want to provide a maximum of functionality that requires a lot of configuration, but rather a clean and lightweight foundation to build your application's requirements upon. This is why dry_crud comes as a generator and not as a Rails plugin.

dry_crud does not depend on any other plugins, but easily allows you to integrate them in order to unify the behavior of your CRUD controllers. You might even use the plugins mentioned above to adapt your generated CrudController base class. All classes come with thorough tests that provide you with a solid foundation for implementing your own adaptions.

A basic CSS gets you started with your application's layout. For advanced needs, dry_crud supports the styles and classes used in Bootstrap 3. A great design never was so close.

If you find yourself adapting the same parts of dry_crud for your applications over and over, please feel free to fork me on Github.

See the Examples section for some use cases and the Generated Files section below for details on the single classes and templates.

Examples

Controller with CRUD functionality

Say you want to manage a Person model. Overwrite the to_s method of your model for a human-friendly representation used in page titles.

app/models/person.rb:

class Person
  def to_s
    "#{lastname} #{firstname}"
  end
end

Then create the following controller. The permitted_attrs define the attribute parameters allowed when creating or updating a model entry (see Strong Paramters).

app/controllers/people_controller.rb:

class PeopleController < CrudController
  self.permitted_attrs = [:firstname, :lastname, :birthday, :sex, :city_id]
end

That's it. You have a sortable overview of all people, detail pages and forms to edit and create people. Of course, you may delete people as well. By default, all attributes are displayed and formatted according to their column type wherever they appear. This applies for the input fields as well.

Customize single views

Well, maybe there are certain attributes you do not want to display in the people list, or others that are not editable in the form. No problem, simply create a _list partial in app/views/people/_list.html.erb to customize this:

<%= crud_table :lastname, :firstname, :city, :sex %>

This only displays these three attributes in the table. All other templates, as well as the main index view, fallback to the ones in app/views/crud.

Adapt general behavior

Next, let's adapt a part of the general behavior used in all CRUD controllers. As an example, we include pagination with kaminari in all our overview tables:

In app/controllers/list_controller.rb, change the list_entries method to

def list_entries
  model_scope.page(params[:page])
end

In app/views/list/index.html.erb, add the following line for the pagination links:

<%= paginate entries %>

And we are done. All our controllers inheriting from ListController, including above PeopleController, now have paginated index views. Because our customization for the people table is in the separate _list partial, no further modifications are required.

Special formatting for selected attributes

Sometimes, the default formatting provided by format_attr will not be sufficient. We have a boolean column sex in our model, but would like to display 'male' or 'female' for it (instead of 'no' or 'yes', which is a bit cryptic). Just define a method in your view helper starting with format_, followed by the class and attribute name:

In app/helpers/people.rb:

def format_person_sex(person)
  person.sex ? 'female' : 'male'
end

Should you have attributes with the same name for multiple models that you want to be formatted the same way, you may define a helper method format_{attr} for these attributes.

By the way: The method f in FormatHelper uniformly formats arbitrary values according to their class.

Sorting and filtering the index list

The entries listed on the index page are automatically sortable by each displayed database column. To apply a default sorting order, define a list scope in your model:

In app/models/person.rb:

scope :list, -> { order('lastname, firstname').includes(:city) }

Alternatively, set the following class attribute in the controller:

In app/controllers/people_controller.rb:

self.default_sort = 'lastname, firstname'

When you display computed values in your list table, you may define sort mappings to enable sorting of these columns:

In app/controllers/people_controller.rb:

self.sort_mappings = {age: 'birthday', city_id: 'cities.name'}

There is also a simple search functionality (based on SQL LIKE queries) implemented in Crud::Searchable. Define an array of columns in your controller's search_columns class variable to make the entries searchable by these fields:

In app/controllers/people_controller.rb:

self.search_columns = [:firstname, :lastname]

If you have search columns defined, a search box will be displayed in the index view that enables filtering of the displayed entries.

Standard Tables and Forms

dry_crud provides two builder classes for update/create forms and tables for displaying entries of one model. They may be used all over your application to DRY up the form and table code. Normally, they are used with the corresponding methods from TableHelper and FormHelper. In there are generic helper methods (plain_table and plain_form/standard_form) and slightly enhanced ones for views of subclasses of CrudController (crud_table and crud_form).

Tables

The following code defines a table with some attribute columns for a list of same-type entries. Columns get a header corresponding to the attribute name:

<%= plain_table(@people) do |t|
      t.sortable_attrs :lastname, :firstname
    end %>

If entries is empty, a basic 'No entries found' message is rendered instead of the table.

To render custom columns, use the col method with an appropriate block:

<%= plain_table(@people) do |t|
      t.sortable_attrs :lastname, :firstname
      t.col('', class: 'center') {|entry| image_tag(entry.picture) }
      t.attr :street
      t.col('Map') {|entry| link_to(entry.city, "http://maps.google.com/?q=#{entry.city}" }
    end %>

For views of subclasses of ListController, you can directly use the crud_table helper method, where you do not have to pass the @people list explicitly and actions are added automatically.

Forms

Forms work very similar. In the most simple case, you just have to specify which attributes of a model to create input fields for, and you get a complete form with error messages, labeled input fields according the column types and a save button:

<%= standard_form(@person, :firstname, :lastname, :age, :city) -%>

Of course, custom input fields may be defined as well:

<%= standard_form(@person, url: custom_update_person_path(@person.id)) do |f| %>
  <%= f.labeled_input_fields :firstname, :lastname %>
  <%= f.labeled(:sex) do %>
    <%= f.radio_button :sex, true %> female
    <%= f.radio_button :sex, false %> male
  <% end %>
  <%= f.labeled_integer_field :age %>
  <%= f.labeled_file_field :picture %>
<% end %>

Even belongs_to associations are automatically rendered with a select field. By default, entries returned from the options_list scope of the associated model are used as options (if defined, all otherwise). To customize this, either define an instance variable with the same name as the association in your controller, or pass a list option:

<%= f.belongs_to_field :hometown, list: City.where(country: @person.country) %>

Yes, it's bad practice to use finder logic in your views! Define the variable @hometowns in your controller instead (as shown in the example above), and you do not even have to specify the list option.

Optionally, has_and_belongs_to_many and has_many associations can be rendered with a multi-select field. Similar to a belongs_to association, all entries from the associated model are used, but can be overwritten using the list option:

<%= f.has_many_field :visited_cities, list: City.where(is_touristic: true) %>

And yes again, the same advice for where to put finder logic applies here as well.

Note: has_and_belongs_to_many and has_many associations are not automatically rendered in a form, you have to explicitly include these attributes. You might also want to stylize the multi-select widget, for example with a jQuery UI Multiselect.

Nested Resources

In case you define nested resources, your CrudController subclass should know. Listing and creating entries as well as displaying links for these resources is dependent on the nesting hierarchy. This is how you declare the namespaces and parent resources in your controller:

self.nesting = :my_namspace, ParentResource

This declaration is for a controller nested in parent_resources within a :my_namespace scope. ParentResource is the corresponding ActiveRecord model. The request param :parent_resource_id is used to load the parent entry, which in turn is used to filter the entries listed and created in your controller. For all parent resources, a corresponding instance variable is created.

The Crud::Nestable module defines this basic behaviour. For more complex setups, have a look there and adjust it to your needs.

CRUD controller callbacks

As a last example, let's say we have added a custom input field that must specially processed. Instead of overwriting the entire update action, it is possible to register callbacks for the create, update, save (= create and update) and destroy actions. They work very similarliy like the callbacks on ActiveRecord. For each action, before and after callbacks are run. Before callbacks may also prevent the action from being executed when returning false. Here is some code:

In app/controllers/people_controller.rb:

after_save :upload_picture
before_destroy :delete_picture

def upload_picture
  store_file(params[:person][:picture]) if params[:person][:picture]
end

def delete_picture
  if !perform_delete_picture(entry.picture)
    flash.alert = 'Could not delete picture'
    false
  end
end

Beside these “action” callbacks, there is also a set of before_render callbacks that are called whenever a certain view is rendered. They are available for the index, show, new, edit and form (= new and edit) views. These callbacks are not only called for the corresponding action, but, for example, also when the new view is going to be rendered from an unsuccessfull create action. Say you need to prepare additional variables whenever the form is rendered:

In app/controllers/people_controller.rb:

before_render_form :set_hometowns

def set_hometowns
  @hometowns = City.where(country: entry.country)
end

Internationalization (I18N)

All text strings used are externalized to an english locale yaml. The keys are organized by controller and template name plus a generic global scope.

To represent your controller hierarchy, a special translation helper ti looks up keys along the hierarchy in the following order:

{controller_name}.{template_name}.{key}
{controller_name}.{action_name}.{key}
{controller_name}.global.{key}
{parent_controller_name}.{template_name}.{key}
{parent_controller_name}.{action_name}.{key}
{parent_controller_name}.global.{key}
...
global.{key}

In order to change the title for your PeopleController's index action, you do not need to override the entire template, but simply define the following key:

people.index.title = "The People"

Otherwise, the lookup for the title would fallback on the ListController's key list.index.title.

This lookup mechanism also allows you to easily define per-controller overridable text snippets in your views.

Example Code

To see an example application built on dry_crud, have a look at these directories. Only certain methods and templates are overriden, all the 'missing' files are provided by dry_crud.

Generated Files

All generated files are supposed to provide a reasonable foundation for the CRUD functionality. You are encouraged to adapt them to fit the needs of your application. They're yours!

Controller

controller/crud_controller.rb

Abstract controller providing basic CRUD actions. This implementation mainly follows the one of the Rails scaffolding controller and responses to HTML and JSON requests. Some enhancements were made to ease extendability. Several protected helper methods are there to be (optionally) overriden by subclasses. With the help of additional callbacks, it is possible to hook into the action procedures without overriding the entire method. This class is based on ListController.

controller/list_controller.rb

Abstract controller providing a basic list action. Use this controller if you require read-only functionality. It includes the following modules.

controller/dry_crud/generic_model.rb

Work with the model whose name corrsponds to the controller's name.

controller/dry_crud/nestable.rb

Provides functionality to easily nest controllers/resources.

controller/dry_crud/rememberable.rb

Remembers certain params of the index action in order to return to the same list after an entry was viewed or edited.

controller/dry_crud/searchable.rb

Search functionality for the index table.

controller/dry_crud/sortable.rb

Sort functionality for the index table.

controller/dry_crud/render_callbacks.rb

Provide before_render callbacks to controllers.

controller/dry_crud/responder.rb

Responder used by the CrudController to handle the path_args.

Helpers

helpers/dry_crud/form/builder.rb

A form builder that automatically selects the corresponding input type for ActiveRecord columns. Input elements are rendered together with a label by default.

helpers/dry_crud/form/control.rb

Representation of a single form control consisting of a label, input field, addon or help text.

helpers/dry_crud/table/builder.rb

A helper object to easily define tables listing several rows of the same data type.

helpers/dry_crud/table/col.rb

Helper class representing a single table column.

helpers/dry_crud/table/actions.rb

Module to add support for uniform CRUD actions in tables.

helpers/dry_crud/table/sorting.rb

Module to add support for sort links in table headers.

helpers/form_helper.rb

Create forms to edit models with Crud::FormBuilder. Contains a standardized and a custom definable form.

helpers/table_helper.rb

Create tables to list multiple models with Crud::TableBuilder. Contains a standardized and a custom definable table.

helpers/format_helper.rb

Format attribute and basic values according to their database or Ruby type.

helpers/actions_helper.rb

Uniform action links for the most common crud actions.

helpers/i18n_helper.rb

Translation helpers extending Rails' translate helper to support translation inheritance over the controller class hierarchy.

helpers/utility_helper.rb

View helpers for basic functions used in various other helpers.

Views

All templates in the list and crud folders may be 'overriden' individually in a respective view folder. Define the basic structure of your CRUD views here and adapt it as required for each single model. Actually, the _list.html.erb partial from the list folder gets overriden in the crud folder already.

All templates are available as HAML as well.

List

views/list/index.html.erb

The index view displaying a sortable table with all entries. If you have search_columns defined for your controller, then a search box is rendered as well.

views/list/_list.html.erb

A partial defining the table in the index view. To change the displayed attributes for your list model, just create an own _list.html.erb in your controller's view directory.

views/list/_search.html.erb

A partial defining a simple search form that is displayed when search_columns are defined in a subclassing controller.

views/list/_actions_index.html.erb

The action links available in the index view. None by default.

Crud

views/crud/show.html.erb

The show view displaying all the attributes of one entry and the various actions to perform on it.

views/crud/_attrs.html.erb

A partial defining the attributes to be displayed in the show view.

views/crud/_list.html.erb

A partial defining the table in the index view with various links to manipulate the entries.

views/crud/new.html.erb

The view to create a new entry.

views/crud/edit.html.erb

The view to edit an existing entry.

views/crud/_form.html.erb

The form used to create and edit entries. If you would like to customize this form for various models, just create an own _form.html.erb in your controller's view directory.

views/crud/_actions_index.html.erb

The action links available in the index view.

views/crud/_actions_show.html.erb

The action links available in the show view.

views/crud/_actions_edit.html.erb

The action links available in the edit view.

Various

views/shared/_labeled.html.erb

Partial to define the layout for an arbitrary content with a label.

views/shared/_error_messages.html.erb

Partial to display the validation errors in Rails 2 style.

views/layouts/application.html.erb

An example layout showing how to use the @title and flash.

views/layouts/_flash.html.erb

An simple partial to display the various flash messages. Included from crud.html.erb.

views/layouts/_nav.html.erb

An empty file to put your navigation into. Included from crud.html.erb.

app/assets/stylesheets/crud.scss

A simple SCSS with all the classes and ids used in the CRUD code.

app/assets/images/action/*.png

Some sample action icons from the Open Icon Library.

Tests

test/support/crud_test_model.rb

A dummy model to run CRUD tests against.

test/support/custom_assertions.rb

A handful of convenient assertions. Include this module into your test_helper.rb file.

test/support/crud_controller_test_helper.rb

A module to include into the functional tests for your CrudController subclasses. Contains a handful of CRUD functionality tests for the provided implementation. So for each new CRUD controller, you get 20 tests for free.

test/controllers/crud_test_models_controller_test.rb

Functional tests for the basic CrudController functionality.

test/helpers/*_test.rb

Tests for the provided helper implementations and a great base to test your adaptions of the CRUD code.

Specs

spec/support/crud_controller_examples.rb

A whole set of shared exampled to include into your controller specs. See spec/controllers/crud_test_models_controller_spec.rb for usage. So for each new CRUD controller, you get all the basic specs for free.

spec/support/crud_controller_test_helper.rb

Convenience methods used by the crud controller examples.

spec/support/crud_test_model.rb

A dummy model to run CRUD tests against.

spec/controllers/crud_test_models_controller_spec.rb

Controller specs to test the basic CrudController functionality.

spec/helpers/*_spec.rb

The specs for all the helpers included in dry_crud and a great base to test your adaptions of the CRUD code.

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