The problem with this method is: if @person and @dog are valid and save correctly but @dog fails due to validation, then you end up with a person and cat in your database when you don’t want them. This leads to infinite amounts of problems, as rSpec has happily announced on more than one occassion.
The second thing I tried was checking that all the models are valid first then saving them:
if @person.valid? && @cat.valid? && @dog.valid? @person.save @cat.save @dog.save else // Epic fail end
While this looks good on the controller side, it actually sucks. If person is invalid then the errors are shown on the page as expected, but you don’t to see if any of the other models have any errors because
valid? doesn’t get called on them. Aaargh!
Did you know you could pass in more than one model to
error_messages_for? No, neither did I? What about
fields_for? It’s a life saver. Let’s look at an example form for a
Cat and a
<% form_for @person do |f| %> <%= error_messages_for :object => [@person, @cat, @dog] %> <fieldset> <legend>Person Details</legend> <ol> <li> <%= f.label :name %> <%= f.text_field :name %> </li> </ol> </fieldset> <% fields_for :cat do |cat| %> <fieldset> <legend>Cat Details</legend> <ol> <li> <%= cat.label :breed %> <%= cat.text_field :breed %> </li> </ol> </fieldset> <% end %> <% fields_for :dog do |dog| %> <fieldset> <legend>Dog Details</legend> <ol> <li> <%= dog.label :breed %> <%= dog.text_field :breed %> </li> </ol> </fieldset> <% end %> <%= f.submit 'Pow!' %> <% end %>
The main things to look out for here are
fields_for. We pass in an array of the objects we want to display errors for into
:object. This will display all the errors for those models, in our case the person cat and dog errors. Although you need to make sure all the errors for these models are being raised. We’ll look at this later on.
The other thing to take a look at is
fields_for. I’ll let the API docs explain this for you:
Creates a scope around a specific model object like form_for, but doesnÃ«t create the form tags themselves. This makes fields_for suitable for specifying additional model objects in the same form.
So that’s our views done. On to the controller:
This is the way we’ve been coping with the problem of validating all the models. I’m sure other people will have other suggestions, but this is what we’re rocking:
def new @person = Person.new @cat = Cat.new @dog = Dog.new end def create @person = Person.new(params[:person]) @cat = Cat.new(params[:cat]) @dog = Dog.new(params[:dog]) # Run valid? on each model and check for failures if [@person, @cat, @dog].all?(&:valid?) Person.transaction do @person.save! @cat.save! @dog.save! end else // Epic fail end end
The only line that you really need to checkout here is the line that runs valid? on each model and check results:
if [@person, @cat, @dog].all?(&:valid?)
This line runs through each model and runs the
valid? method and checks that all the results are true.
As pointed out in the comments, this line could be replaced with:
if @person.valid? & @cat.valid? & @dog.valid?
Person.transaction block makes sure that if one of the models fails to save then the other models aren’t saved as well. This stops you ending up with random saved models that shouldn’t be there.
Jim Neath is a Freelance Ruby on Rails & Facebook app developer from Manchester, UK, currently working for Engine Yard.