ActiveRecord objects with a customizable persistence strategy.
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README.markdown

Active Nomad

ActiveRecord objects with a customizable persistence strategy.

Why

Sometimes you want an Active Record object that does not live in the database. Perhaps it never needs to be persisted, or you'd like to store it in a cookie, or a key-value store, but it would still be handy to have ActiveRecord's ability to cast values, run validations, or fire callbacks.

If only the persistence strategy was pluggable...

How

Subclass from ActiveNomad::Base and declare your attributes with the attribute class method. The arguments look just like creating a column in a migration:

class Thing < ActiveNomad::Base
  attribute :name, :string, :limit => 20
end

To persist the record, Active Nomad calls persist, which calls a Proc registered by to_save. For example, here's how you could persist to a cookie:

thing = Thing.from_json(cookies[:thing])
thing.to_save do |thing|
  cookies[:thing] = thing.to_ordered_json
  true
end

Things to note:

  • The proc should return true if persistence was successful, false otherwise. This will be the return value of save, etc.
  • Active Nomad defines to_ordered_json and from_json which will serialize to and from a JSON string with predictable attribute order (i.e., appropriate for a cookie).
  • You may alternatively override persist in a subclass if you don't want to register a proc for every instance.

Serialization formats

Active Nomad provides serialization to and from:

  • JSON (to_ordered_json and from_json)
  • Query string (to_ordered_query_string and from_query_string)

You can define your own formats easily using to_serialized_attributes and from_serialized_attributes. The former returns an ActiveSupport::OrderedHash of attribute names to serialized values (Strings or nils).

Destruction

You may use #to_destroy to define a destruction strategy:

thing = Thing.from_json(cookies[:thing])
thing.to_destroy do |thing|
  cookies.delete(:thing)
end

Or simply override #destroy in a subclass.

Transactions

In addition to customizing persistence, you can also customize transaction semantics by overriding the transaction class method in a base class. Here's an example that implements transactions with Redis:

class RedisNomad < ActiveNomad::Base
  def self.transaction
    redis.multi
    begin
      yield
      redis.exec
    rescue Exception => e
      redis.discard
      raise
    end
  end

  def self.redis
    @redis ||= Redis.new
  end
end

ActiveNomad::Base.transaction simply calls the given block with no real transaction semantics.

Notes

Only ActiveRecord 2.3 compatible. ActiveRecord 3.0 has a more modular architecture which makes this largely unnecessary.

Contributing

Copyright

Copyright (c) 2010 George Ogata. See LICENSE for details.

Credit

Inspired by Jonathan Viney's ActiveRecord::BaseWithoutTable.