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TV Land Active Record Associations Lab


  • Create and modify tables using Active Record migrations.
  • Build associations between models using Active Record macros.


In this lab, we'll be working with a TV show domain model. We will have a show, network, and character model. They will be associated in the following way:

  • An actor has many characters and has many shows through characters.
  • A character belongs to an actor and belongs to a show.
  • A show has many characters and has many actors through characters.

We've given you a few migrations in the db/migrate directory to create the networks and shows table, but you'll have to add additional tables and modify these existing tables as per the guidelines below.

Remember to run rake db:migrate in the terminal before you run your tests and after you make any new migrations!


The tests in this lab are run for each model/migration - actor, character, network (solution already provided), and show. Because of this, when run, you will see all the tests for the Actor model first, then _all the tests for Character, etc... the tricky thing here is that you will not be able to pass all the tests for Actor until the migrations for other models are working.

This makes sense, and mirrors normal development of associations - you can't ask an Actor instance about what characters it has if there isn't characters table or a model configured.


  • Write a migration for the actors table. An actor should have a first_name and a last_name.
  • Write a migration for the characters table. A character should have a name, actor_id, and a show_id––a character will belong to a show (the show migration is already provided) and an actor, and we'll keep track of this relationship with these database table columns.
  • Write a migration that adds the column catchphrase to your character model.


  • Associate the Actor model with the Character and Show model. An actor should have many characters and many shows through characters.

  • Write a method in the Actor class, #full_name, that returns the first and last name of an actor.

  • Write a method in the Actor class, #list_roles, that lists all of the characters that actor has alongside the show that the character is in. So, for instance, if we had an actor, Peter Dinklage, a character, Tyrion Lannister, and a show, Game of Thrones, we with

    peter = => "Peter", :last_name => "Dinklage")
    tyrion = => "Tyrion Lannister") = peter
    thrones = => "Game of Thrones") = thrones

    And then, when we run peter.list_roles, we would get an Array containing a string with both the character and the show:

    ['Tyrion Lannister - Game of Thrones']
  • Define a method in the Character class, #say_that_thing_you_say, using a given character's catchphrase. Using Tyrion as an example again, the returned string should look like the following:

    tyrion.catchphrase = 'A Lannister always pays his debts'
    #=> 'Tyrion Lannister always says: A Lannister always pays his debts'
  • Define a method in the Show class called #actors_list that returns an Array of the full names of each actor associated with the a show. Remember, a show should have many actors through characters.

  • While we've connected shows, characters and actors together, we haven't connected these models to the existing network model. Update the associations so that a show belongs to a network. In the network model, an association has already been added so that a network has many shows.

    Note: Once connected, this allows us to do some interesting things, like chain-building. We could, for instance, create a character, and with that character created, tell Active Record to chain build an associated show. With a show created on the spot, we can immediately tell Active Record to then chain build an associated network.

    rick = => "Rick Grimes")
    rick.build_show(:name => "The Walking Dead").build_network(:call_letters => "AMC")

    This doesn't save these instances, but will set up the right associations for us and when we save our character, the new show and network are also saved.

Final Migrations

For the last couple of tests, update the shows table with a new migration. This migration should add a day column to indicate which day of the week the show is on, a genre column for the show genre, and season to indicate which season the show is currently on. All three should be strings.


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