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Her is an ORM (Object Relational Mapper) that maps REST resources to Ruby objects. It is designed to build applications that are powered by a RESTful API instead of a database.
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README.md

Her

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Her is an ORM (Object Relational Mapper) that maps REST resources to Ruby objects. It is designed to build applications that are powered by a RESTful API instead of a database.

Installation

In your Gemfile, add:

gem "her"

That’s it!

Usage

First, you have to define which API your models will be bound to. For example, with Rails, you would create a new config/initializers/her.rb file with these lines:

# config/initializers/her.rb
Her::API.setup url: "https://api.example.com" do |connection|
  connection.use Faraday::Request::UrlEncoded
  connection.use Her::Middleware::DefaultParseJSON
  connection.use Faraday::Adapter::NetHttp
end

And then to add the ORM behavior to a class, you just have to include Her::Model in it:

class User
  include Her::Model
end

After that, using Her is very similar to many ActiveRecord-like ORMs:

User.all
# GET https://api.example.com/users and return an array of User objects

User.find(1)
# GET https://api.example.com/users/1 and return a User object

@user = User.create(fullname: "Tobias Fünke")
# POST "https://api.example.com/users" with the data and return a User object

@user = User.new(fullname: "Tobias Fünke")
@user.occupation = "actor"
@user.save
# POST https://api.example.com/users with the data and return a User object

@user = User.find(1)
@user.fullname = "Lindsay Fünke"
@user.save
# PUT https://api.example.com/users/1 with the data and return+update the User object

ActiveRecord-like methods

These are the basic ActiveRecord-like methods you can use with your models:

class User
  include Her::Model
end

# Update a fetched resource
user = User.find(1)
user.fullname = "Lindsay Fünke"
# OR user.assign_attributes(fullname: "Lindsay Fünke")
user.save

# Update a resource without fetching it
User.save_existing(1, fullname: "Lindsay Fünke")

# Destroy a fetched resource
user = User.find(1)
user.destroy

# Destroy a resource without fetching it
User.destroy_existing(1)

# Fetching a collection of resources
User.all
User.where(moderator: 1).all

# Create a new resource
User.create(fullname: "Maeby Fünke")

# Save a new resource
user = User.new(fullname: "Maeby Fünke")
user.save

You can look into the her-example repository for a sample application using Her. For a complete reference of all the methods you can use, check out the documentation.

Middleware

Since Her relies on Faraday to send HTTP requests, you can choose the middleware used to handle requests and responses. Using the block in the setup call, you have access to Faraday’s connection object and are able to customize the middleware stack used on each request and response.

Authentication

Her doesn’t support authentication by default. However, it’s easy to implement one with request middleware. Using the connection block, we can add it to the middleware stack.

For example, to add a token header to your API requests in a Rails application, you could use the excellent request_store gem like this:

# app/controllers/application_controller.rb
class ApplicationController < ActionController::Base
  before_filter :set_user_api_token

  protected
  def set_user_api_token
    RequestStore.store[:my_api_token] = current_user.api_token # or something similar based on `session`
  end
end

# lib/my_token_authentication.rb
class MyTokenAuthentication < Faraday::Middleware
  def call(env)
    env[:request_headers]["X-API-Token"] = RequestStore.store[:my_api_token]
    @app.call(env)
  end
end

# config/initializers/her.rb
require "lib/my_token_authentication"

Her::API.setup url: "https://api.example.com" do |connection|
  connection.use MyTokenAuthentication
  connection.use Faraday::Request::UrlEncoded
  connection.use Her::Middleware::DefaultParseJSON
  connection.use Faraday::Adapter::NetHttp
end

Now, each HTTP request made by Her will have the X-API-Token header.

OAuth

Using the faraday_middleware and simple_oauth gems, it’s fairly easy to use OAuth authentication with Her.

In your Gemfile:

gem "her"
gem "faraday_middleware"
gem "simple_oauth"

In your Ruby code:

# Create an application on `https://dev.twitter.com/apps` to set these values
TWITTER_CREDENTIALS = {
  consumer_key: "",
  consumer_secret: "",
  token: "",
  token_secret: ""
}

Her::API.setup url: "https://api.twitter.com/1/" do |connection|
  connection.use FaradayMiddleware::OAuth, TWITTER_CREDENTIALS
  connection.use Her::Middleware::DefaultParseJSON
  connection.use Faraday::Adapter::NetHttp
end

class Tweet
  include Her::Model
end

@tweets = Tweet.get("/statuses/home_timeline.json")

See the Authentication middleware section for an example of how to pass different credentials based on the current user.

Parsing JSON data

By default, Her handles JSON data. It expects the resource/collection data to be returned at the first level.

// The response of GET /users/1
{ "id" : 1, "name" : "Tobias Fünke" }

// The response of GET /users
[{ "id" : 1, "name" : "Tobias Fünke" }]

However, if you want Her to be able to parse the data from a single root element (usually based on the model name), you’ll have to use the parse_root_in_json method (See the JSON attributes-wrapping section).

Also, you can define your own parsing method using a response middleware. The middleware should set env[:body] to a hash with three symbol keys: :data, :errors and :metadata. The following code uses a custom middleware to parse the JSON data:

# Expects responses like:
#
#     {
#       "result": {
#         "id": 1,
#         "name": "Tobias Fünke"
#       },
#       "errors": []
#     }
#
class MyCustomParser < Faraday::Response::Middleware
  def on_complete(env)
    json = MultiJson.load(env[:body], symbolize_keys: true)
    env[:body] = {
      data: json[:result],
      errors: json[:errors],
      metadata: json[:metadata]
    }
  end
end

Her::API.setup url: "https://api.example.com" do |connection|
  connection.use MyCustomParser
  connection.use Faraday::Adapter::NetHttp
end

Caching

Again, using the faraday_middleware and memcached gems makes it very easy to cache requests and responses.

In your Gemfile:

gem "her"
gem "faraday_middleware"
gem "memcached"

In your Ruby code:

Her::API.setup url: "https://api.example.com" do |connection|
  connection.use FaradayMiddleware::Caching, Memcached::Rails.new('127.0.0.1:11211')
  connection.use Her::Middleware::DefaultParseJSON
  connection.use Faraday::Adapter::NetHttp
end

class User
  include Her::Model
end

@user = User.find(1)
# GET /users/1

@user = User.find(1)
# This request will be fetched from memcached

Advanced Features

Here’s a list of several useful features available in Her.

Associations

You can define has_many, has_one and belongs_to associations in your models. The association data is handled in two different ways.

  1. If Her finds association data when parsing a resource, that data will be used to create the associated model objects on the resource.
  2. If no association data was included when parsing a resource, calling a method with the same name as the association will fetch the data (providing there’s an HTTP request available for it in the API).

For example:

class User
  include Her::Model
  has_many :comments
  has_one :role
  belongs_to :organization
end

class Comment
  include Her::Model
end

class Role
  include Her::Model
end

class Organization
  include Her::Model
end

If there’s association data in the resource, no extra HTTP request is made when calling the #comments method and an array of resources is returned:

@user = User.find(1)
# {
#   "id": 1,
#   "name": "George Michael Bluth",
#   "comments": [
#     { "id": 1, "text": "Foo" },
#     { "id": 2, "text": "Bar" }
#   ],
#   "role": { "id": 1, "name": "Admin" },
#   "organization": { "id": 2, "name": "Bluth Company" }
# }
@user.comments
# [#<Comment id=1 text="Foo">, #<Comment id=2 text="Bar">]
@user.role
# #<Role id=1 name="Admin">
@user.organization
# #<Organization id=2 name="Bluth Company">

If there’s no association data in the resource, Her makes a HTTP request to retrieve the data.

@user = User.find(1)
# { "id": 1, "name": "George Michael Bluth", "organization_id": 2 }

# has_many association:
@user.comments
# GET /users/1/comments
# [#<Comment id=1>, #<Comment id=2>]

@user.comments.where(approved: 1)
# GET /users/1/comments?approved=1
# [#<Comment id=1>]

# has_one association:
@user.role
# GET /users/1/role
# #<Role id=1>

# belongs_to association:
@user.organization
# (the organization id comes from :organization_id, by default)
# GET /organizations/2
# #<Organization id=2>

Subsequent calls to #comments, #role and #organization will not trigger extra HTTP requests and will return the cached objects.

Notes about paths

Resources must always have all the required attributes to build their complete path. For example, if you have these models:

class User
  include Her::Model
  collection_path "organizations/:organization_id/users"
end

class Organization
  include Her::Model
  has_many :users
end

Her expects all User resources to have an :organization_id (or :_organization_id) attribute. Otherwise, calling mostly all methods, like User.all, will thrown an exception like this one:

Her::Errors::PathError: Missing :_organization_id parameter to build the request path. Path is `organizations/:organization_id/users`. Parameters are `{ … }`.

Validations

Her includes ActiveModel::Validations so you can declare validations the same way you do in Rails.

However, validations must be triggered manually — they are not run, for example, when calling #save on an object, or #create on a model class.

class User
  include Her::Model

  attributes :fullname, :email
  validates :fullname, presence: true
  validates :email, presence: true
end

@user = User.new(fullname: "Tobias Fünke")
@user.valid? # => false

@user.save
# POST /users&fullname=Tobias+Fünke will still be called, even if the user is not valid

Dirty attributes

Her includes ActiveModel::Dirty so you can keep track of the attributes that have changed in an object.

class User
  include Her::Model

  attributes :fullname, :email
end

@user = User.new(fullname: "Tobias Fünke")
@user.fullname_changed? # => true
@user.changes # => { :fullname => [nil, "Tobias Fünke"] }

@user.save
# POST /users&fullname=Tobias+Fünke

@user.fullname_changed? # => false
@user.changes # => {}

Callbacks

You can add before and after callbacks to your models that are triggered on specific actions. You can use symbols or blocks.

class User
  include Her::Model
  before_save :set_internal_id
  after_find { |u| u.fullname.upcase! }

  def set_internal_id
    self.internal_id = 42 # Will be passed in the HTTP request
  end
end

@user = User.create(fullname: "Tobias Funke")
# POST /users&fullname=Tobias+Fünke&internal_id=42

@user = User.find(1)
@user.fullname # => "TOBIAS FUNKE"

The available callbacks are:

  • before_save
  • before_create
  • before_update
  • before_destroy
  • after_save
  • after_create
  • after_update
  • after_destroy
  • after_find

JSON attributes-wrapping

Her supports sending and parsing JSON data wrapped in a root element (to be compatible with Rails’ include_root_in_json setting), like so:

Sending

If you want to send all data to your API wrapped in a root element based on the model name.

class User
  include Her::Model
  include_root_in_json true
end

class Article
  include Her::Model
  include_root_in_json :post
end

User.create(fullname: "Tobias Fünke")
# POST { "user": { "fullname": "Tobias Fünke" } } to /users

Article.create(title: "Hello world.")
# POST { "post": { "title": "Hello world." } } to /articles

Parsing

If the API returns data wrapped in a root element based on the model name.

class User
  include Her::Model
  parse_root_in_json true
end

class Article
  include Her::Model
  parse_root_in_json :post
end

# POST /users returns { "user": { "fullname": "Tobias Fünke" } }
user = User.create(fullname: "Tobias Fünke")
user.fullname # => "Tobias Fünke"

# POST /articles returns { "post": { "title": "Hello world." } }
article = Article.create(title: "Hello world.")
article.title # => "Hello world."

Of course, you can use both include_root_in_json and parse_root_in_json at the same time.

Custom requests

You can easily define custom requests for your models using custom_get, custom_post, etc.

class User
  include Her::Model
  custom_get :popular, :unpopular
  custom_post :from_default
end

User.popular
# GET /users/popular
# [#<User id=1>, #<User id=2>]

User.unpopular
# GET /users/unpopular
# [#<User id=3>, #<User id=4>]

User.from_default(name: "Maeby Fünke")
# POST /users/from_default?name=Maeby+Fünke
# #<User id=5 name="Maeby Fünke">

You can also use get, post, put or delete (which maps the returned data to either a collection or a resource).

class User
  include Her::Model
end

User.get(:popular)
# GET /users/popular
# [#<User id=1>, #<User id=2>]

User.get(:single_best)
# GET /users/single_best
# #<User id=1>

Also, get_collection (which maps the returned data to a collection of resources), get_resource (which maps the returned data to a single resource) or get_raw (which yields the parsed data return from the HTTP request) can also be used. Other HTTP methods are supported (post_raw, put_resource, etc.).

class User
  include Her::Model

  def self.popular
    get_collection(:popular)
  end

  def self.total
    get_raw(:stats) do |parsed_data|
      parsed_data[:data][:total_users]
    end
  end
end

User.popular
# GET /users/popular
# [#<User id=1>, #<User id=2>]
User.total
# GET /users/stats
# => 42

You can also use full request paths (with strings instead of symbols).

class User
  include Her::Model
end

User.get("/users/popular")
# GET /users/popular
# [#<User id=1>, #<User id=2>]

Custom paths

You can define custom HTTP paths for your models:

class User
  include Her::Model
  collection_path "/hello_users/:id"
end

@user = User.find(1)
# GET /hello_users/1

You can also include custom variables in your paths:

class User
  include Her::Model
  collection_path "/organizations/:organization_id/users"
end

@user = User.find(1, _organization_id: 2)
# GET /organizations/2/users/1

@user = User.all(_organization_id: 2)
# GET /organizations/2/users

@user = User.new(fullname: "Tobias Fünke", organization_id: 2)
@user.save
# POST /organizations/2/users

Custom primary keys

If your record uses an attribute other than :id to identify itself, specify it using the primary_key method:

class User
  include Her::Model
  primary_key :_id
end

user = User.find("4fd89a42ff204b03a905c535") # GET /users/1 returns { "_id": "4fd89a42ff204b03a905c535", "name": "Tobias" }
user.save # PUT /users/4fd89a42ff204b03a905c535

Inheritance

If all your models share the same settings, you might want to make them children of a class and only include Her::Model in that class.

module MyAPI
  class Model
    include Her::Model

    parse_root_in_json true
    include_root_in_json true
  end
end

class User < MyAPI::Model
end

User.find(1)
# GET /users/1

Multiple APIs

It is possible to use different APIs for different models. Instead of calling Her::API.setup, you can create instances of Her::API:

# config/initializers/her.rb
MY_API = Her::API.new
MY_API.setup url: "https://my-api.example.com" do |connection|
  connection.use Her::Middleware::DefaultParseJSON
  connection.use Faraday::Adapter::NetHttp
end

OTHER_API = Her::API.new
OTHER_API.setup url: "https://other-api.example.com" do |connection|
  connection.use Her::Middleware::DefaultParseJSON
  connection.use Faraday::Adapter::NetHttp
end

You can then define which API a model will use:

class User
  include Her::Model
  use_api MY_API
end

class Category
  include Her::Model
  use_api OTHER_API
end

User.all
# GET https://my-api.example.com/users

Category.all
# GET https://other-api.example.com/categories

SSL

When initializing Her::API, you can pass any parameter supported by Faraday.new. So to use HTTPS, you can use Faraday’s :ssl option.

ssl_options = { ca_path: "/usr/lib/ssl/certs" }
Her::API.setup url: "https://api.example.com", ssl: ssl_options do |connection|
  connection.use Her::Middleware::DefaultParseJSON
  connection.use Faraday::Adapter::NetHttp
end

Testing

Suppose we have these two models bound to your API:

# app/models/user.rb
class User
  include Her::Model
  custom_get :popular
end

# app/models/post.rb
class Post
  include Her::Model
  custom_get :recent, :archived
end

In order to test them, we’ll have to stub the remote API requests. With RSpec, we can do this like so:

# spec/spec_helper.rb
RSpec.configure do |config|
  config.include(Module.new do
    def stub_api_for(klass)
      klass.use_api (api = Her::API.new)

      # Here, you would customize this for your own API (URL, middleware, etc)
      # like you have done in your application’s initializer
      api.setup url: "http://api.example.com" do |connection|
        connection.use Her::Middleware::FirstLevelParseJSON
        connection.adapter(:test) { |s| yield(s) }
      end
    end
  end)
end

Then, in your tests, we can specify what (fake) HTTP requests will return:

# spec/models/user.rb
describe User do
  before do
    stub_api_for(User) do |stub|
      stub.get("/users/popular") { |env| [200, {}, [{ id: 1, name: "Tobias Fünke" }, { id: 2, name: "Lindsay Fünke" }].to_json] }
    end
  end

  describe :popular do
    subject { User.popular }
    its(:length) { should == 2 }
    its(:errors) { should be_empty }
  end
end

We can redefine the API for a model as many times as we want, like for more complex tests:

# spec/models/user.rb
describe Post do
  describe :recent do
    before do
      stub_api_for(Post) do |stub|
        stub.get("/posts/recent") { |env| [200, {}, [{ id: 1 }, { id: 2 }].to_json] }
      end
    end

    subject { Post.recent }
    its(:length) { should == 2 }
    its(:errors) { should be_empty }
  end

  describe :archived do
    before do
      stub_api_for(Post) do |stub|
        stub.get("/posts/archived") { |env| [200, {}, [{ id: 1 }, { id: 2 }].to_json] }
      end
    end

    subject { Post.archived }
    its(:length) { should == 2 }
    its(:errors) { should be_empty }
  end
end

Upgrade

See the UPGRADE.md for backward compability issues.

Her IRL

Most projects I know that use Her are internal or private projects but here’s a list of public ones:

History

I told myself a few months ago that it would be great to build a gem to replace Rails’ ActiveResource since it was barely maintained (and now removed from Rails 4.0), lacking features and hard to extend/customize. I had built a few of these REST-powered ORMs for client projects before but I decided I wanted to write one for myself that I could release as an open-source project.

Most of Her’s core codebase was written on a Saturday morning of April 2012 (first commit at 7am!).

Contribute

Yes please! Feel free to contribute and submit issues/pull requests on GitHub.

See CONTRIBUTING.md for best practices.

Contributors

These fine folks helped with Her:

License

Her is © 2012-2013 Rémi Prévost and may be freely distributed under the MIT license. See the LICENSE file.

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