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README.md

Bricks

Bricks is a hybrid Object Builder/Factory implementation. It aims to be a more flexible alternative to the existing Object Factory solutions while remaining as simple as possible.

Usage

We'll use the following domain to describe Brick's features:

# Only ActiveRecord objects are supported right now.

# == Schema Information
#
# Table name: articles
#
#  id              :integer(4)      not null, primary key
#  title           :string(255)
#  author          :string(255)
#  formatted_title :string(510)
#  popularity      :integer(4)
#  publication_id  :integer(4)
#
class Article < ActiveRecord::Base
  belongs_to :publication
  has_many   :readers
end

# == Schema Information
#
# Table name: publications
#
#  id   :integer(4)      not null, primary key
#  name :string(255)
#  type :string(255)
#
class Publication < ActiveRecord::Base
end

class Newspaper < Publication
end

# == Schema Information
#
# Table name: readers
#
#  id         :integer(4)      not null, primary key
#  name       :string(255)
#  birth_date :date
#
class Reader < ActiveRecord::Base
end

At its simplest, you can start using Bricks without declaring any builder (note: it gets less verbose).

article_builder = build(Article)

This will give you a builder for the Article class, which you can then use to build an Article

article_builder.
  title("Why I hate Guybrush Threepwood").
  author("Ghost Pirate LeChuck")

Contrary to the original pattern, builders are stateful (i.e., you don't get a new builder every time you call a method on the current builder).

You can get the underlying instance by calling #generate.

article = article_builder.generate

This will initialize an Article with the attributes you passed the builder. If, instead of initializing, you'd prefer the record to be created right away, use #create instead.

If you don't really care about the builder and just want the underlying instance you can instead use.

article = build(Article).
  title("Why I hate Guybrush Threepwood").
  author!("Ghost Pirate LeChuck") # Note the "!"

When you want to use the default builder, without customizing it any further, you can tack the "!" at the end of the builder method:

build!(Article)
create!(Article)

Building builders

Of course, using builders like described above isn't of much use. Let's create a builder for Article:

Bricks do
  builder Article do
    title  "Why I hate Guybrush Threepwood"
    author "Ghost Pirate LeChuck"
  end
end

You can then use it as you'd expect:

# initializes an Article with default attributes set, and saves it
article = create!(Article)

Deferred initialization

builder Article do
  # ...

  formatted_title { "The formatted title at #{Date.now}." }
end

You can get at the underlying instance from deferred blocks:

builder Article do
  # ...

  formatted_title { |obj| obj.title + " by " + obj.author }
end

Associations

Bricks supports setting association records.

Many-to-one (belongs to)

Bricks do
  builder Publication do
    name "The Caribbean Times"
  end

  builder Article do
    # ...

    publication # instantiate a publication with the default attributes set
  end
end

You can also customize the association builder instance:

builder Article do
  # ...
  publication.name("The Caribeaneer")
end

If you prepend a "~" to the association declaration, the record will be initialized/created only if a record with the given attributes doesn't exist yet:

builder Article do
  # ...
  ~publication # will search for a record with name "The Caribbean Times"
end

The same effect can be achieved in your tests using

~(build(Publication)).name!("The Daily Bugle")

but since this is ugly, you can just use ? instead of ! and you'll get (almost) the same effect:

build(Publication).name?("The Daily Bugle")

There is a slight difference between using ~ and ?. ~ will permanently change the builder, while ? will enable searching only when it's used.

One-to-many, Many-to-many (has many, has and belongs to many)

You can create several objects for a *-to-many association by calling the method #build on the association:

builder Article do
  # readers association will have 3 records
  3.times { readers.build }
end

Upon generation, this will add 3 records with their attributes set to the defaults defined in the association class' builder.

If you want to further customize each builder in the association, you can omit the #build method call:

builder Article do
  # ...

  # readers association will have 3 records
  %w(Tom Dick Harry).each { |r| readers.name(r) }
end

Each call to the *-to-many association name will add a new builder, which you can then further customize:

readers.name("Tom").birth_date(30.years.ago)

(Note that you don't use "!" here. That's only when building the records in your tests.)

Passing the parent to association builder blocks

If you need access to the parent object when building an associated object, you'll find it as the second argument passed to a deferred block.

builder Article do
  # ...

  publication.name { |_, article| "#{article.title}'s publication" }
end

Builder Inheritance

Given the builder:

builder Publication do
  name "The Caribbean Times"
end

you can do something like:

np = build!(Newspaper)
np.class # => Newspaper
np.name  # => "The Caribbean Times"

Traits

The real power of the Builder pattern comes from the use of traits. Instead of declaring name factories in a single-inheritance model, you instead declare traits, which you can then mix and match:

builder Article
  # ...

  trait :alternative_publication do |name|
    publication.name(name)
  end

  trait :by_elaine do
    title  "Why I love Guybrush Threepwood"
    author "Elaine Marley-Threepwood"
  end
end

Use it like this:

article = build(Article).alternative_publication("The Caribeaneer").by_elaine!

Note that if you want to override a *-to-many association inside a trait, you need to clear it first:

builder Article
  # ...

  # this will reset the readers association
  trait :new_readers do
    readers.clear

    %(Charlotte Emily Anne).each { |r| readers.name(r) }
  end

  # this will add to the readers association
  trait :more_readers do
    readers.name("Groucho")
  end
end

For an executable version of this documentation, please see spec/bricks_spec.rb.

Hooks

*Bricks includes a simple, general hook framework. It allows you to do something like this:

builder Article
  # ...

  trait :on_the_bugle do
    publication.name "The Daily Bugle"
    popularity       75
  end

  trait :on_the_planet do
    publication.name "The Daily Planet"
    popularity       85
  end

  after :clone do
    send %w(on_the_bugle on_the_planet)[rand(2)]
  end

  before :save do
    active true
  end
end

Bricks supports only two hooks right now: after(:clone) and before(:save).

The after(:clone) hook will be executed whenever you use any of #build, #build!, #create or #create!, right before you start customizing the resulting builder on your test.

On the other hand, the before(:save) hook will be executed only for #create and #create!.

Installation

Rails 2

Add config.gem "bricks" to environments/test.rb or, as a rails plugin:

$ script/plugin install git://github.com/mojotech/bricks.git # Rails 2

Rails 3

Add gem "bricks" to your Gemfile, or, as a rails plugin:

$ rails plugin install git://github.com/mojotech/bricks.git # Rails 3

RSpec [TODO: add instructions for other frameworks]

# you only need to add the following line if you're using the gem
require 'bricks/adapters/active_record'

# put this inside RSpec's configure block to get access to
# #build, #build!, #create and #create! in your specs
config.include Bricks::DSL

Finally, add a file to spec/support containing your builders. Call it whatever you'd like and make sure it gets loaded (rspec usually loads all .rb files under spec/support).

Copyright

Copyright (c) 2011 Mojo Tech. See LICENSE.txt for further details.

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