Turbo-charged counter caches for your Rails app.
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README.md

counter_culture

Turbo-charged counter caches for your Rails app. Huge improvements over the Rails standard counter caches:

  • Updates counter cache when values change, not just when creating and destroying
  • Supports counter caches through multiple levels of relations
  • Supports dynamic column names, making it possible to split up the counter cache for different types of objects
  • Executes counter updates after the commit, avoiding deadlocks

Installation

Add counter_culture to your Gemfile:

gem 'counter_culture', '~> 0.1.7'

Then run bundle update

Database Schema

You will need to manually create the necessary columns for all counter caches. Use code like the following in your migration:

add_column :categories, :products_count, :integer, :null => false, :default => 0

It is important to make the column NOT NULL and set a default of zero for this gem to work correctly.

If you are adding counter caches to existing data, you must manually populate their values.

Usage

Simple counter-cache

class Product < ActiveRecord::Base
  belongs_to :category
  counter_culture :category
end

class Category < ActiveRecord::Base
  has_many :products
end

Now, the Category model will keep an up-to-date counter-cache in the products_count column of the categories table.

Multi-level counter-cache

class Product < ActiveRecord::Base
  belongs_to :sub_category
  counter_culture [:sub_category, :category]
end

class SubCategory < ActiveRecord::Base
  has_many :products
  belongs_to :category
end

class Category < ActiveRecord::Base
  has_many :sub_categories
end

Now, the Category model will keep an up-to-date counter-cache in the products_count column of the categories table. This will work with any number of levels.

Customizing the column name

class Product < ActiveRecord::Base
  belongs_to :category
  counter_culture :category, :column_name => "products_counter_cache"
end

class Category < ActiveRecord::Base
  has_many :products
end

Now, the Category model will keep an up-to-date counter-cache in the products_counter_cache column of the categories table. This will also work with multi-level counter caches.

Dynamic column name

class Product < ActiveRecord::Base
  belongs_to :category
  counter_culture :category, :column_name => Proc.new {|model| "#{model.product_type}_count" }
  # attribute product_type may be one of ['awesome', 'sucky']
end

class Category < ActiveRecord::Base
  has_many :products
end

Now, the Category model will keep two up-to-date counter-caches in the awesome_count and sucky_count columns of the categories table. Products with type 'awesome' will affect only the awesome_count, while products with type 'sucky' will affect only the sucky_count. This will also work with multi-level counter caches.

Conditional counter cache

class Product < ActiveRecord::Base
  belongs_to :category
  counter_culture :category, :column_name => Proc.new {|model| model.special? ? 'special_count' : nil }
end

class Category < ActiveRecord::Base
  has_many :products
end

Now, the Category model will keep the counter cache in special_count up-to-date. Only products where special? returns true will affect the special_count.

Dynamically over-writing affected foreign keys

class Product < ActiveRecord::Base
  belongs_to :category
  counter_culture :category, :foreign_key_values => 
      Proc.new {|category_id| [category_id, Category.find_by_id(category_id).try(:parent_category).try(:id)] }
end

class Category < ActiveRecord::Base
  belongs_to :parent_category, :class_name => 'Category', :foreign_key => 'parent_id'
  has_many :children, :class_name => 'Category', :foreign_key => 'parent_id'

  has_many :products
end

Now, the Category model will keep an up-to-date counter-cache in the products_count column of the categories table. Each product will affect the counts of both its immediate category and that category's parent. This will work with any number of levels.

Manually populating counter cache values

You will sometimes want to populate counter-cache values from primary data. This is required when adding counter-caches to existing data. It is also recommended to run this regularly (at BestVendor, we run it once a week) to catch any incorrect values in the counter caches.

Product.counter_culture_fix_counts
# will automatically fix counts for all counter caches defined on Product

Product.counter_culture_fix_counts :except => :category
# will automatically fix counts for all counter caches defined on Product, except for the :category relation

Product.counter_culture_fix_counts :only => :category
# will automatically fix counts only on the :category relation on Product

# :except and :only also accept arrays

counter_culture_fix_counts returns an array of hashes of all incorrect values for debugging purposes. The hashes have the following format:

{ :entity => which model the count was fixed on,
  :id => the id of the model that had the incorrect count,
  :what => which column contained the incorrect count,
  :wrong => the previously saved, incorrect count,
  :right => the newly fixed, correct count }

counter_culture_fix_counts is optimized to minimize the number of queries and runs very quickly.

Handling dynamic column names

Manually populating counter caches with dynammic column names requires additional configuration:

class Product < ActiveRecord::Base
  belongs_to :category
  counter_culture :category, 
      :column_name => Proc.new {|model| "#{model.product_type}_count" },
      :column_names => {
          ["products.product_type = ?", 'awesome'] => 'awesome_count',
          ["products.product_type = ?", 'sucky'] => 'sucky_count'
      }
  # attribute product_type may be one of ['awesome', 'sucky']
end

Handling over-written, dynamic foreign keys

Manually populating counter caches with dynamicall over-written foreign keys (:foreign_key_values option) is not supported. You will have to write code to handle this case yourself.

Contributing to counter_culture

  • Check out the latest master to make sure the feature hasn't been implemented or the bug hasn't been fixed yet.
  • Check out the issue tracker to make sure someone already hasn't requested it and/or contributed it.
  • Fork the project.
  • Start a feature/bugfix branch.
  • Commit and push until you are happy with your contribution.
  • Make sure to add tests for it. This is important so I don't break it in a future version unintentionally.
  • Please try not to mess with the Rakefile, version, or history. If you want to have your own version, or is otherwise necessary, that is fine, but please isolate to its own commit so I can cherry-pick around it.

Copyright

Copyright (c) 2012 BestVendor. See LICENSE.txt for further details.