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Skip ActiveRecord Callbacks

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Do you miss update_without_callbacks from Rails 2? You shouldn't, because ActiveRecord callbacks are not a particularly good way to implement system behavior. If you have to skip them routinely in the course of doing business, something smells.

If you're upgrading a Rails 2 app though, you've probably got a bunch of smells to contend with, so this plugin lets you put off the inevitable a little while longer. I'm sorry.




The update_without_callbacks method edits the model's metaclass, hides the original run_callbacks method, and inserts a replacement. The replacement method calls the original, unless its argument is :save, in which case it deletes itself, replaces the original run_callbacks method, and yields to the given block to do the work of saving the model.

The destroy_without_callbacks method does the same ninja editing for destroy.


Yeah, I know. But it seems to work just fine. The undecoration is the first thing that happens when running the :save callbacks, so it would seem the only way this could not work is if ActiveRecord failed to call the run_callbacks method on save, or if ActiveSupport needed to call the method twice in a save for some reason. Or if ActiveSupport stopped implementing callbacks with the run_callbacks method, but the tests should catch that.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

destroy_without_callbacks seems to behave a little bit differently than the Rails 2 version. In Rails 2, it would apparently not call the model's destroy method if it happened to define one. In the project for which I wrote this, we had a guard protecting models from being destroyed except via destroy_without_callbacks:

def destroy
  raise "hell"

This is trivially fixable by moving the guard to a before_destroy callback, or more correctly by moving the persistent object lifecycle concerns up into a service model.

update_without_callbacks used to save the model without updating its dirty attribute changes hash. This is no longer the case. I regard the new behavior as more correct, to the extent that a hack built on a pile of hacks can be considered to exhibit correctness, but if it's problematic, it would be relatively easy to clone the changes hash and push it back afterwards.

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