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An experimental ORM with emphasis on the R.

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README.md

Orel

Code Climate

An object-relational mapper. It focuses on the relational model more than others.

Goals

The overall goal of Orel is to provide a better DSL for doing relational design. Specifically:

  • The basic structure and syntax emphasizes keys. Emphasis on a "primary key" is reduced.
  • Attributes are NOT NULL by default.
  • There is no strict table/class relationship. This reduces the overhead and object complexity of using higher forms of normalization.
  • Domains (types) are a core part of the model. Though implemented in Ruby, Orel domains act more like attribute constraints.

Integration

Orel is built on top of Arel, which uses ActiveRecord connection adapters. It is compatible with ActiveModel::Naming and borrows support for other basic functionality from ActiveModel.

Status

Orel is experimnental and not at all ready to use. See the cucumber stories for up a look at what's supported.

Features

Following is a summary of the high level features of Orel.

Class-based heading definition.

Relations are defined by their heading, and done so within Ruby classes.

class User
  heading do
    key { first_name / last_name }
    att :first_name, Orel::Domains::String
    att :last_name, Orel::Domains::String
  end
end

This created a relation called users with two string attributes and a composite key of those attributes.

Classes may define more than one heading.

class User
  heading do
    key { first_name / last_name }
    att :first_name, Orel::Domains::String
    att :last_name, Orel::Domains::String
  end
  heading :logins do
    key { User }
    att :ip_address, Orel::Domains::String
  end
end

Which introduces us to references and simple associations. We've defined a relation called user_logins with one string attribute. Orel defines two other attributes for us - first_name and last_name and creates a foreign key relationship between users and user_logins. We have set the key of user_logins as all of the attributes used by the reference to User (first_name, last_name). Put simply, we have written "a user has many logins" by describing the schema and foreign key relationships.

Standard associations are easy to talk about now.

class User
  heading do
    key { first_name / last_name }
    att :first_name, Orel::Domains::String
    att :last_name, Orel::Domains::String
  end
end
class Thing
  heading do
    key { User / name }
    att :name, Orel::Domains::String
    ref User
  end
end

Now we have two separate classes with their own heading. Since Thing references User, we've defined "thing belongs to user" as well as "user has many things". The key on Thing says that a User may only have one thing of any particular name.

Domains (types)

Write about domains later.

Objects

Now that we've defined some relations, we can use Orel to create, update, delete objects that represent data within them. We can also access the foreign key references as associations among those objects.

For the following examples, assume the following classes.

class User
  heading do
    key { first_name / last_name }
    att :first_name, Orel::Domains::String
    att :last_name, Orel::Domains::String
  end
  heading :logins do
    key { User / ip_address }
    att :ip_address, Orel::Domains::String
  end
end
class Thing
  heading do
    key { User / name }
    att :name, Orel::Domains::String
    ref User
  end
end

The basic CRUD operations on an Orel object resemble ActiveRecord. In fact, Orel objects are ActiveModel compatible.

user = User.new :first_name => "John", :last_name => "Smith"
user.valid?
# => true
user.save

Or more succinctly,

user = User.create :first_name => "John", :last_name => "Smith"

Now that we have a user, give him a thing.

thing = Thing.create User => user, :name => "Box"

Associations are described via their class. Similarly, we can ask for information from the user and thing.

user.first_name
# => "John"
thing.name
# => "Box"
user[Thing][0].name
# => "Box"
thing[User].first_name
# => "John"

Simple associations are similar. To create a record in the user_logins relation, we can append add it, then save the user.

user[:logins] << { :ip_address => "192.0.0.1" }
user.save

Simple associations can define one-to-one relationships as well. For example.

class User
  heading do
    key { name }
  end
  heading :account_status do
    key { User }
    att :value, Orel::Domains::String
  end
end

user[:account_status] = { :value => "ok" }
user.save

Here the attributes passed are merged with the current values. Behind the scenes, Orel intelligently adds and updates only the modified records.

As you may have guessed, simple associations are pretty limited but provide a convenient way to model behavior-less one-to-one and one-to-many relationships without the overhead of defining whole classes. As well, they are the only place that Orel cascades the save operation to children.

Retreiving

First we need to implement this...

Inspiration

Reading Database in Depth reminded me how little ActiveRecord does to help you build a traditional relational model. DataMapper does better - basic concepts such as composite keys are possible. Even still, the basic syntax does not encourage good design.

Author

Ryan Carver (@rcarver / ryan@typekit.com)

License

Copyright © 2011 Ryan Carver. Licensed under Ruby/MIT, see LICENSE.

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