Saturday, March 24, 2007

Rails: ActiveRecord Unit Testing part II

Back in December I wrote about unit testing ActiveRecord models. Following that post, we started using that pattern to unit test our models. It quickly became obvious that the"digits", nil, "string", false) statements were largely static and we wrapped this behavior in a fluent interface.

This worked, but some developers on the team didn't like the (arguably) unnecessary additional syntax. These developers argued that since none of our Unit Tests hit the database we should simply override the new method and handle stubbing the columns method.

You can argue that adding magic to the new method could be confusing, but our team has the standard that no unit test can hit the database. Therefore, everyone is very aware that, despite the standard syntax, we are injecting our own column handling mechanism.

The code to make this work is fairly straightforward. The usual alias method gotchas apply so I chose to use an alternative. Adding the following code will allow you to create disconnected models in your unit tests simply by calling new.
class << ActiveRecord::Base

new_method = instance_method :initialize
define_method :initialize do |*attributes|
attributes = attributes.empty? ? nil : attributes.first
new_method.bind(self).call attributes

def no_db_columns attributes
return [] if attributes.nil?
attributes.keys.collect do |attribute|
sql_type = case attributes[attribute].class
when " " then "integer"
when "Float" then "float"
when "Time" then "time"
when "Date" then "date"
when "String" then "string"
when "Object" then "boolean"
end, nil, sql_type, false)

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