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This Rails plugin extends ActiveRecord::Base to add automatic updating of created_by and updated_by attributes of your models in much the same way that the ActiveRecord::Timestamp module updates created_(at/on) and updated_(at/on) attributes.

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Fork Details

This is a fork of the grosser fork of the original userstamp plugin created by delynn.

This fork has been created to combine the grosser changes that enable use of the plugin within applications that perform soft deletes but are not using the original acts_as_paranoid plugin/gem so this fork can now be used in conjunction with the new acts_as_paranoid gem.

This fork also includes changes to perform the model stamping before validation is performed so that the model can enforce the presence of stamp attribute values eg.

validates :created_by, :presence => true
validates :updated_by, :presence => true

This fork also includes changes to the stampable method for further compatibility with the new acts_as_paranoid gem to accept a :with_deleted option so that the creator, updater and deleter associations will return objects that have been soft deleted eg.

stampable :with_deleted => true

results in associations defined like so:

belongs_to :creator, :class_name => "::User", :foreign_key => :created_by, :with_deleted => true

This fork also includes a change so that the creator attribute is only set if the value is blank allowing for a manual override.

Using the Fork

To use this fork add the following to your application gemfile:

gem 'userstamp', :git => "git://"


Userstamp extends ActiveRecord::Base to add automatic updating of 'creator', 'updater', and 'deleter' attributes. It is based loosely on the ActiveRecord::Timestamp module.

Two class methods (model_stamper and stampable) are implemented in this plugin. The model_stamper method is used in models that are responsible for creating, updating, or deleting other objects. The stampable method is used in models that are subject to being created, updated, or deleted by 'stampers'.


The assumption is that you have two different categories of objects; those that manipulate, and those that are manipulated. For those objects that are being manipulated there's the Stampable module and for the manipulators there's the Stamper module. There's also the actual Userstamp module for your controllers that assists in setting up your environment on a per request basis.


Assume a weblog application has User and Post objects.

# 1: Create the migrations for these objects

class CreateUsers < ActiveRecord::Migration
  def self.up
    create_table :users, :force => true do |t|
      t.userstamps # use t.userstamps(true) if you also want 'deleter_id'
  def self.down
    drop_table :users
class CreatePosts < ActiveRecord::Migration
  def self.up
    create_table :posts, :force => true do |t|
      t.userstamps # use t.userstamps(true) if you also want 'deleter_id'
  def self.down
    drop_table :posts

# 2: Users are going to manipulate Post's, use the model_stamper:

class User < ActiveRecord::Base

# 3: Set the current user in the ApplicationController:

class ApplicationController < ActionController::Base
  include Userstamp

If all you are interested in is making sure all tables that have the proper columns are stamped by the currently logged in user you can stop right here. More than likely you want all your associations setup on your stamped objects, and that's where the stampable class method comes in. So in our example we'll want to use this method in both our User and Post classes:

class User < ActiveRecord::Base
class Post < ActiveRecord::Base

Okay, so what all have we done? The model_stamper class method injects two methods into the User class. They are #stamper= and #stamper and look like this:

def stamper=(object)
  object_stamper = if object.is_a?(ActiveRecord::Base)
  Thread.current["#{self.to_s.downcase}_#{self.object_id}_stamper"] = object_stamper
def stamper

The stampable method allows you to customize what columns will get stamped, and also creates the creator, updater, and deleter associations.

The Userstamp module that we included into our ApplicationController uses the setter method to set which user is currently making the request. By default the 'set_stampers' method works perfectly with the RestfulAuthentication plug-in:

def set_stampers
  User.stamper = self.current_user

If you aren't using ActsAsAuthenticated, then you need to create your own version of the set_stampers method in the controller where you've included the Userstamp module.

Now, let's get back to the Stampable module (since it really is the interesting one). The Stampable module sets up before_* filters that are responsible for setting those attributes at the appropriate times. It also creates the belongs_to relationships for you.

If you need to customize the columns that are stamped, the stampable method can be completely customized. Here's an quick example:

class Post < ActiveRecord::Base
  stampable :stamper_class_name => :person,
            :creator_attribute  => :create_user,
            :updater_attribute  => :update_user,
            :deleter_attribute  => :delete_user,
            :deleter => true,
            :with_deleted => true

Upgrade from 1.x

# config/environment.rb
Ddb::Userstamp.compatibility_mode = true

Example userstamp application

Running Unit Tests

All: rake
One: ruby test/compatibility_stamping_test.rb


DeLynn Berry

The original idea for this plugin came from the Rails Wiki article entitled Extending ActiveRecord.

Contributors / maintenance / enhancement

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