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Natural-looking Finder Queries for ActiveRecord
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Thoughtbot is no longer supporting this project, it hasn't been tested or used since at least Rails 2.x.

We recommend exploring Searchlogic ( and Arel ( for dynamic scopes.


SQL Simplification Plugin for ActiveRecord

This plugin extends the ActiveRecord::Base#find method to be able to take a block of Ruby which will get parsed into a nice SQL string and have its results returned.


Jon Yurek (


Copyright© 2008 thoughtbot, inc.


Distributes under the same terms as Ruby


Squirrel is a plugin for ActiveRecord which attempts to make SQL querier a much more natural prospect. You can write your queries in Ruby code and they get translated, including all proper table joins, into relevant SQL code and executed, returning your results.

User.find(:all) do
  first_name.contains? params[:first_name]
  posts.created_at >= 1.week.ago

This query will return all Users that have a first_name that contains whatever was passed in as the “first_name” parameter, and that has any Posts that were created“in the past week. Both columns and associations are referenced as methods. Columns are referenced exactly as they are in the database, and associations are referenced exactly as they are specified in their respective has_many, belongs_to, etc calls. For example, in the snippet above, the User has_many :posts, and so we use ”posts“ as the method to refer to that association.

This mechanism works for all of ActiveRecord's associations, because it piggybacks on AR's eager loading functionality, which always produces the joins necessary for getting the columns required.

By default, all conditions specified in the query are ANDed together. If it is necessary to have any condition match, you can group your conditions together using the “any” method, which takes a block containing the conditions. For example:

Playlist.find(:all) do
  any do
    name == "Party Mix"
    total_length > 3600

… will find all Playlists that either have a name of “Party Mix” or that have a total length of 1 hour (3600 seconds). There is also an “all” method that works similarly, but joins with “AND”. These groups are nestable.“

Currenly, there is no allowance in Squirrel for either grouping or fetching columns that aren't part of any of the included tables.

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