I've been furiously porting my Ramaze CRUD helper from DataMapper to ActiveRecord and I've been quite surprised to find that it's only taken a couple of hours. I should hastily point out for non-programmer types, that CRUD stands for Create Read Update Delete – the four basic operations you can perform on a data entity.

My helper makes it super-easy to produce basic CRUD web pages for any data entity, with just a couple of lines of code in your helper – a bit like Rails scaffolds but without the scaffolding! Sounds like magic, I hear you yell! Well yes, but it's my magic that I wrote from scratch so it's not magic to me :-)

It's been an easy port between ORMs mostly because the concepts and syntax map over with relatively little fuss, and actually 98% of my CRUD helper code is not concerned with the DB, but rather with running the web UI. So the few places that actually perform a DB operation needed a bit of tweaking to use the right syntax, but it's been pretty smooth sailing. Hopefully it will be easier with AR to neatly deal with many-to-many associations without having to explicitly fool around with the join table. We shall see, as that's what foxed me with DataMapper and caused me to switch.

One very important thing to mention is that when using ActiveRecord outside of Rails you have to know that it was originally written for the single-threaded Rails world. Hence it just maintains a very small connection pool (say 3) and those connections quickly run out in a threaded environment – Ramaze in my case. This leads to strange pauses of several seconds as your request handling thread waits for a connection to come free. They come free after about 5 seconds of inactivity, so you get one reasonably soon, but the multi-second pause is infuriating and very confusing. A neatly packaged solution is handily presented and well explained here: http://coderrr.wordpress.com/2009/01/16/monkey-patching-activerecord-to-automatically-release-connections/. Note that there is a link at the bottom to the single-file patch that just sorts everything out for you, so if you can't be bothered to read the explanations, head straight for that, require it in your project and you're away.

You must be logged in to leave a reply.