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Simple Audit Mechanism for Rails Applications

branch: master
README.markdown

simple_audit

Simple auditing solution for ActiveRecord models. Provides an easy way of creating audit logs for complex model associations. Instead of storing audits for all data aggregated by the audited model, you can specify a serializable representation of the model.

  • a helper method is provided to easily display the audit log
  • the Audit object provides a #delta method which computes the differences between two audits

In a nutshell:

class Booking < ActiveRecord::Base
  simple_audit do |record|
    # data to be audited
    {
        :price => record.price,
        :period => record.period, 
        ...
    }
  end
end

# in your view
<%= render_audits(@booking) %>

Why ?

simple_audit is intended as a straightforward auditing solution for complex model associations. In a normalized data structure (which is usually the case when using SQL), a core business model will aggregate data from several associated entities. More often than not in such cases, only the core model is of interest from an auditing point of view.

So instead of auditing every entity separately, with simple_audit you decide for each audited model what data needs to be audited. This data will be serialized on every model update and the available helper methods will render a clear audit trail.

Screenshot of helper result

Installation & Configuration

Rails 2.3.x

Gem

# in your config/environment.rb    
config.gem 'simple_audit'

# then install if you don't already have it
rake gems:install

Plugin

./script/plugin install http://github.com/gtarnovan/simple_audit

Post installation

# generate & run migration
./script/generate simple_audit_migration
rake db:migrate

Rails 3

# in your Gemfile
gem 'simple_audit'

# then install
bundle install

Post installation

# generate & run migration
rails generate simple_audit:migration
rake db:migrate

Usage

Audit ActiveRecord models. Somewhere in your (backend) views show the audit logs.

# in your model
# app/models/booking.rb

class Booking < ActiveRecord::Base
    simple_audit
    ...
end

# in your view
# app/views/bookings/booking.html.erb

...
<%= render_audits(@booking) %>
...     

Sample styling

  .audits {
    clear: both;
  }
  .audit {
    -moz-border-radius:8px;
    -webkit-border-radius: 8px;
    background-color: #dfdfdf;
    padding: 6px;
    margin-bottom: 8px;
    font-size: 12px;
  }
  .audit .action, .audit .user, .audit .timestamp{
    float: left;
    margin-right: 6px;
  }
  .audit .changes {
    clear: both;
    white-space: pre;
  }

  .audit .current {
    margin-left: 6px;
  }
  .audit .previous {
    margin-left: 6px;
    text-decoration: line-through;
  }  

Assumptions and limitations

  • Your user model is called User and the current user User.current See sentient_user for more information.

Customize auditing

By default after each save, all model's attributes and belongs_to associations (their id and to_s on these) are saved in the audits table. You can customize the data which is saved by supplying a block which will return all relevant data for the audited model.

# app/models/booking.rb

class Booking < ActiveRecord::Base
    simple_audit do |record|
      {
        :state  => record.state, 
        :price  => record.price.format,
        :period => record.period.to_s,
        :housing_units => record.housing_units.collect(&:name).join('; '),
        ...
        }
    end
    ...
end

You can also customize the attribute of the User model which will be stored in the audit.

# default is :name
simple_audit :username_method => :email

Rendering audit trail

A helper method for displaying a list of audits is provided. It will render a decorated list of the provided audits; only the differences between revisions will be shown, thus making the audit information easily readable.

Screenshot of helper result

Copyright (c) 2010 Gabriel Târnovan, Cubus Arts, released under the MIT license

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