Desert - It doesn't get any DRYer than this
Desert is a Rails plugin framework that makes it easy to share models, views, controllers, helpers, routes, and migrations across your applications.
With Desert, reusability doesn't come at the cost of extensibility: it's trivial to extend the functionality of a plugin - both in your application and in other plugins.
Classes are automatically mixed in with your own or other plugins' classes. This allows you to make full featured composable components.
Desert is a replacement for Appable Plugins (wiki.pluginaweek.org/Appable_plugins).
Anatomy of a desert plugin
|-- app | |-- controllers | | |-- application.rb | | `-- blogs_controller.rb | |-- helpers | | |-- application_helper.rb | | `-- blogs_helper.rb | |-- models | | `-- user.rb | `-- views | |-- blogs | |-- layouts | | `-- users.html.erb | `-- users | |-- index.html.erb | `-- show.html.erb |-- db | `-- migrate | `-- 001_migrate_users_to_001.rb |-- lib | `-- current_user.rb |-- spec | |-- controllers | | `-- blogs_controller_spec.rb | |-- fixtures | |-- models | |-- spec_helper.rb | `-- views | `-- blogs `-- vendor `-- plugins `-- user |-- app | |-- controllers | | `-- users_controller.rb | |-- helpers | | `-- users_helper.rb | |-- models | | `-- user.rb | `-- views | `-- users | |-- edit.html.erb | |-- index.html.erb | |-- new.html.erb | `-- show.html.erb |-- config | `-- routes.rb |-- db | `-- migrate | `-- 001_create_users.rb |-- init.rb |-- lib | `-- current_user.rb |-- spec | |-- controllers | | `-- user_controller_spec.rb | |-- fixtures | | `-- users.yml | |-- models | | `-- user.rb | |-- spec_helper.rb | `-- views | `-- users `-- tasks
Installation and Usage
Install the gem
sudo gem install desert
Require 'desert' between 'boot' and Rails::Initializer.run in environment.rb
# File: config/environment.rb require File.join(File.dirname(__FILE__), 'boot') require 'desert' Rails::Initializer.run do |config| end
NOTE: you may have to require rubygems before requiring desert.
Generate your desert plugin
script/generate desert_plugin my_plugin_app
Manage Plugin Dependencies
By default, Rails loads plugins in alphabetical order, making it tedious to manage dependencies. Desert will automatically load plugins in the proper order when you declare their dependencies like this:
# File: vendor/plugins/blogs/init.rb require_plugin 'user' require_plugin 'will_paginate'
Here user and will_paginate will always be loaded before <tt>blogs<tt>. Note that any plugin can be declared as a dependency.
When you share controllers, you'll want to share their routes too. If you look in your RAILS_ROOT/config/routes.rb file you will notice that the generator added a new line to the top:
In the user plugin:
# File: vendor/plugins/user/config/routes.rb resource :users
In the blogs plugin:
# File: vendor/plugins/blogs/config/routes.rb resource :blogs
In the application:
# File: config/routes.rb ActionController::Routing::Routes.draw do |map| map.routes_from_plugin :blogs map.routes_from_plugin :user end
Here the application adds the users resource from the user plugin and the blogs resource from the blogs plugin. Notice that there is no need to call methods on map in the plugin route files, because they are instance eval'd in the map object.
All standard routing methods are available in your plugin's routes file, such as:
namespace :admin do |admin| admin.resources :posts end
Desert uses a separate table to manage migration version to maintain backwards compatibility with Rails 1.x. Your plugin app's migration live in your_plugin/db/migrate. To run migrations, follow these steps:
Create a new migration in your main app
script/generate migration migrate_my_plugin_to_045
Add the custom `migrate_plugin` method
class MigrateMyPluginTo045 < ActiveRecord::Migration def self.up migrate_plugin(:my_plugin, 20080530223548) end def self.down migrate_plugin(:my_plugin, 0) end end
Run your migrations normally
rake db:migrate connect "/signup", :controller => "users", :action => "signup"
Sharing models means sharing schema fragments, and that means sharing migrations:
In the user plugin:
In the blogs plugin:
vendor/plugins/blogs/db/migrate/ 001_create_user_table.rb 002_add_became_a_blogger_at_to_user.rb
Here the blogs plugin needs to add a column to the users table. No problem! It just includes a migration in its db/migrate directory, just like a regular Rails application. When the application developer installs the plugin, he migrates the plugin in his own migration:
class InstallUserAndBlogsPlugins < ActiveRecord::Migration def self.up migrate_plugin 'user', 1 migrate_plugin :blogs, 2 end def self.down migrate_plugin 'user', 0 migrate_plugin :blogs, 0 end end
Here the application migrates the user plugin to version 1 and the blogs plugin to version 2. If a subsequent version of the plugin introduces new migrations, the application developer has full control over when to apply them to his schema.
To share views, just create templates and partials in the plugin's app/views directory, just as you would with a Rails application.
<%= @blog.posts.each do |post| %> ... <% end %>
Customize / extend behavior in each installation
Say you want to create a plugin named acts_as_spiffy. Desert allows Spiffy to have a set of features that can be reused and extended in several projects.
The Spiffy project has a:
SpiffyLib library class
The Spiffy plugin acts as its own mini Rails application. Here is the directory structure:
RAILS_ROOT/vendor/plugins/spiffy/app/controllers/spiffy_controller.rb RAILS_ROOT/vendor/plugins/spiffy/app/models/spiffy.rb RAILS_ROOT/vendor/plugins/spiffy/app/helpers/spiffy_helper.rb RAILS_ROOT/vendor/plugins/spiffy/app/views/spiffy/spiffy.rhtml RAILS_ROOT/vendor/plugins/spiffy/lib/spiffy_lib.rb
Now, say there is a Spiffy Store rails application that uses acts_as_spiffy. The Rails app can open up any of the Spiffy classes and override any of the methods.
Say spiffy.rb in the Spiffy plugin is defined as:
class Spiffy < ActiveRecord::Base def why? "I just am Spiffy" end end
The Spiffy#why method can be overridden in RAILS_ROOT/app/models/spiffy.rb
class Spiffy < ActiveRecord::Base def why? "I sell Spiffy stuff" end end
Running plugin tests
You can run your plugin tests/specs like so:
rake desert:testspec:plugins PLUGIN=spiffy
Leaving off the PLUGIN environment variable will cause it to run all the test/specs for all installed plugins, which may not be what you want.
Running Desert Specs
To run specs, you need to:
Make sure you have the necessary gems installed (rr, rspec)
Install git git.or.cz/
Create a database named desert_test
Update the database.yml file in spec/rails_root/config/database.yml
Install the dependencies
Run the specs
Desert is a library that heavily monkey patches Rails. To ensure that Desert works with multiple versions of Rails, its tests are run against the supported versions of Rails.
To set up the different supported versions of Rails, run
This will clone the Rails git repo and export the supported versions of rails into the respective directories.
will update the clones repo on your machine.