This is step one of a walkthrough for building a new app with rom-rails. I’ll talk about my justifications and philosophy in another post; my intention here is to walk through the initial creation of a rom-rails application.

The end goal of this application is to serve as a file repository for use with another site. As I work throgh building the app, I’ll list out followons for some specific subjects of interest. This post highlights the initial generation and through to pulling some ‘hello world’ content from a data store.

Some things will look simliar to the normal rails setup, but there are some variations that I’ll be illuminating here. As I’ve worked with Ruby and Rails for a long, long time, I (like Rails itself) Have Opinions, and since this is my blog, I’ll not be shy about sharing them. Hopefully, some of that will serve as jumping off points for posts I’ve been meaing to write for ages.

Step the first: Generation

The stock Rails generator is what we’ll use here, with a few options specified:

flip@kona:~/src$ rails new rom-rails-demo --skip-active-record  --skip-spring --skip-coffee --skip-test
      create  Rakefile
# ... gobs of output elided

flip@kona:~/src$ cd rom-rails-demo/
flip@kona:~/src/rom-rails-demo (master #)$ git add .
flip@kona:~/src/rom-rails-demo (master +)$ git commit -m 'initial app generation'

I’ve skipped activerecord for what I hope are obvious reasons. coffeescript has never been a JS flavor I’m wild about, and I suspect there are better options these days. I’ve skipped minitest so that I can install rspec.

Skipping spring is a big one. I consider it a band-aid that often causes more problems than it helps with. ROM’s interctions with rails autoloading is still finiky at best, and adding another layer of load confusion … as maintainer of rom-rails, I’ve done basically nothing to support spring. If it’s a thing you need, contributions are encouraged.

We now have an intial app generated. At present, it’s nothing a web router and renderer; we have no storage, and no tests (because rails won’t generate rspec installs). Let’s fix that:

gem "pg"
gem "rom-rails"
gem "rom-sql"
gem "rom-repository"

group :development, :test do
  gem "dotenv-rails"
  gem "rspec-rails", "~> 3.0"

  • dotenv is useful for loading environment variable configurations from configuration files; we’ll use it in development and test to configure things, while production will have to rely on real environment configurations.

  • rspec-rails because I have strong affinity for rspec’s testing philosophies, and every test::spec suite I’ve ever seen has expended great effort on reinventing things from rspec, poorly.

  • pg because postgres. We’re going to be using some embedded JSON down the way, and postgres makes this easy to work with. Ordinarily, the rails generator allows you to specify via -d postgres but since we --skip-active-record, the rails installer ignores our database preference.

  • rom-rails gives us basic rom dependencies, integration with rails, and a few handy generators. It does not assume which backends we’re going to use, and so:

  • rom-sql implements an SQL adapter and relation, which we will use to access our database. There are other adapters available, covering things from cassandra to yaml to REST api calls. At first, we’re simply interested in our database.

  • rom-repository implements a nicer interface on top of the rom relation backends. Repositories serve as a fantastic place to translate between your storage implementations and the language of your domain.

We’ll finish off the gem installations by generating our rspec configuration and comitting:

flip@kona:~/src/rom-rails-demo (master)$ bin/rails g rspec:install
      create  .rspec
      create  spec
      create  spec/spec_helper.rb
      create  spec/rails_helper.rb

Configuring rom-rails

The next part is, unfortuntely, very twitchy. Ordering is important, or exceptions will be thrown.

First, ensure your databases have been created. I’m going to wave the flag and call configuring your postgres install out of scope for this tutorial; at the end, you want to have both a test and development instance accessible.

Here’s the commands I threw locally:

flip@kona:~/src/rom-rails-demo (master)$ createdb rom_rails_demo_development
flip@kona:~/src/rom-rails-demo (master)$ createdb rom_rails_demo_test

Next, we’ll add some environment configuration:

# .env.development
# .env.test

rom-sql generally prefers to use a connection_uri string for determining how to connect to your database. If you specified a username and password then the string will look more like: postgres://user:pass@localhost/rom_rails_demo_development

To access migration generators1, add this line to your rakefile:

# Rakefile
require "rom/sql/rake_task"

The migration syntax is using the Sequel gem; nothing changes from there.

Finally, we generate our configurations and commit:

flip@kona:~/src/rom-rails-demo (master)$ bin/rails g rom:install
      create  config/initializers/rom.rb
      create  lib/types.rb
      create  app/models/application_model.rb

This last step generates the configurations necessary to tell rom about it’s database gateways. The generator could be smarter; at the moment, it assumes that there is an sql adapter loaded and that you’d like for it to be the default gateway. config/initializers/rom.rb is the file to edit if you are adding additional gateways, or if you need to set any additional configurations.

Finally, we can verify see if everything is wired by running our specs:

flip@kona:~/src/rom-rails-demo (master +)$ bundle exec rspec -rrails_helper
No examples found.

Finished in 0.00039 seconds (files took 1.3 seconds to load)

If everything has been wired correctly, and the database exists, than the specs will run. If an exception is thrown, then either ROM does not know where the database can be found (check your .envs) or the database does not exist.

Adding Profiles

As a final step, we’re going to add a profiles table to the database, add some content to it, and display it in a barebones controller.

First, we create the migration:

flip@kona:~/src/rom-rails-demo (master)$ bin/rails db:create_migration[create-profiles]

<= migration file created db/migraate/20180413141632_create-profiles.rb
flip@kona:~/src/rom-rails-demo (master)$

This creates a new migration file in the familiar timestamped form. The syntax of the migration comes from Sequel:

ROM::SQL.migration do
  change do
    create_table :profiles do
      primary_key :id

      column :email, String, null: false, unique: true, index: true
      column :display_name, String

      column :private_email, TrueClass, default: true

      column :bio, :text
      column :state, String, default: 'active', index: true

running the familiar rake db:migrate will create our table.

Now, let’s generate a relation and a repository so we can access the table:

flip@kona:~/src/rom-rails-demo (master)$ be rails g rom:relation profiles
      create  app/relations/profiles_relation.rb
flip@kona:~/src/rom-rails-demo (master)$ bin/rails g rom:repository profiles
      create  app/repositories/profile_repository.rb
flip@kona:~/src/rom-rails-demo (master)$

Now if we crack open the console, we’ll be able to add some quick test data to the table:

irb(main):001:0> profiles =
=> #<ProfileRepository struct_namespace=rom-rails-demo auto_struct=true>
irb(main):004:0> profiles.create([
{email: '', display_name: "Test Guy"},
{email: '', display_name: "Old profile", state: 'disabled'}

=> #<rom-rails-demo::Profile id=1 email="" display_name="Test Guy" private_email=true bio=nil state="active">
irb(main):005:0> ROM.env.relations[:profiles].count

=> 2

By default, there are no reader methods defined in a repository; we want to tune those specficially for our project domain, something I will go over in a later post.

Next steps

This is the bare bones; The initial app configuration is done, but there is not yet anything useful going on. In the next step, we’re going to demonstrate commands by adding authentication to the application.

  1. I definatly need to fix this in the rom-rails code; it should be part of the normal installation, or even pushed into the “normal” generator flow.