Jake Worth

Code Club: Rails Console

August 19, 20142 min read

Another week, another showdown in the Code Club.

Still being challenged by the one-hundred line requirement. We keep it (generally) because it seems like a reasonable goal for an hour of time.

This week we decided to get into Rails, with the ‘console’ command. The Rails console is a tool for interacting with the database using all the power of Rails. The file rails/railties/lib/rails/commands/console.rb is one-hundred and thirteen lines of Ruby code that create most of this functionality.

Here are some concepts we explored during our meeting, and my description as I attempt to grok:

OptionParser. Required in the first line of the file, OptionParser is a Ruby class for command-line analysis. The big benefit I see to using this Class is that it allows you to specify an argument and explain how to handle it in one place. Explained in detail here.

class << self. Opens up the singleton class of ‘self’, allowing you to specify the behavior of methods called on that specific object. You can then redefine methods for whatever the current ‘self’ object is.

The Ruby ‘splat’ (*args) operator in a method definition. Allows the method to take any number of arguments.

Ruby ‘rescue’. I forgot that ‘rescue’ can take an argument like ‘LoadError’, which will only run the code for that specific type of error.

exit(0), exit(1), and exit(127). All of these allow you to break from a program and convey a status to other programs. Roughly, exit(0) == command succeeded, exit(1) == catchall for general errors, exit(127) == command not found. A few more: exit(2) == misuse of shell, exit(126) == command invoked but cannot execute, and exit(130) == script terminated by CTRL-C.

Anything Rails-related is gigantic, so it’s hard to not feel like we just scratched the surface during out meeting. But that is part of this process.

The big breakthrough was a general agreement that we both want to know a lot more about Rack. Rack is an important part of the stack, but it’s something I haven’t had to deal with or really understand. This week we will be reading rack/rack and trying to pick a point of entry for some active code reading.

Thanks to my code partner, the Rails core team for maintaining this important file, and Google Hangouts for facilitating the club meeting.

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Jake Worth

I'm Jake Worth, a web developer. Home About Now Newsletter