Add your own rich type

Originally written by Tom on 2008-10-16.

Say your application features currency value, and you’d like them all formatted nicely. A great way to implement this in Hobo is by creating a new type, e.g. Dollars and customising the way those values are displayed. That way your dollar values will be displayed correctly throughout the site and you won’t need to think about that issue again.

Start with a blank app

To make this how-to very concrete let’s start from scratch with a new application:

    $ hobo my_app
    $ cd my_app
    $ ./script/generate hobo_model_resource product name:string

Create the type

Now we’ll dive right in and create the new type. Create app/models/dollars.rb like this:

    class Dollars < DelegateClass(BigDecimal)

      COLUMN_TYPE = :decimal


Let’s talk that through. It’s common with Rich types to create a new subclass of the ‘normal’ type that ActiveRecord would use. For example, Hobo’s HtmlString is a subclass of String. Unfortunately, subclassing BigDecimal is problematic for reasons we won’t bother going in to. Fortunately Ruby saves us with the very nifty DelegateClass. This allows us to walk like a BigDecimal and talk like a BigDecimal, which is perfectly good enough in Ruby.

We then declare

    COLUMN_TYPE = :decimal

which tells the migration generator what type of column to generate for these things. That’s arguably redundant seeing as we already defined these things as being a special kind of BigDecimal. This step might go away in the future.

View layer

To render these dollar values nicely in the app, we need to define a custom <view> tag. So in application.dryml we need:

<def tag="view" for="Dollars">$<%= number_to_currency(this) %></def>

Declare a field with the custom type

Now our type is ready to go. We can edit app/modes/product.rb like this:

    class Product < ActiveRecord::Base


      fields do
        name :string
        price Dollars, :precision => 12, :scale => 2

Notice the type of the price column is given as the class constant Dollars. We can pass the same options that we could to a regular :decimal column

Create the database

If we now run the migration geneartor:

    $ ./script/generate hobo_migration

You’ll see that the price column is :decimal type (the users table has been omitted for brevity):

    ---------- Up Migration ----------
    create_table :products do |t|
      t.string   :name
      t.decimal  :price, :scale => 2, :precision => 12
      t.datetime :created_at
      t.datetime :updated_at

    ---------- Down Migration --------
    drop_table :products

Try it out

That’s it! You can now fire up the app and sign up to become the administrator. Create a product with a price, and see the nice dollar formatting.

Bonus - a custom input for dollars

Add this to app/views/taglibs/application.dryml

    <def tag="input" for="Dollars" attrs="name">
      $ <%= text_field_tag(name, this, attributes) %>

You’ll now have a dollar sign in front of every dollar field in your forms.

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