Forum: Ruby on Rails Persistence of a model with arbitrary inheritance

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Trejkaz (Guest)
on 2007-04-14 12:20
(Received via mailing list)
I want to write an application where plugins can add new model
objects, and I want these objects to be able to inherit from the basic
ones which will ship with the application.

I have identified a number of possible approaches for this:

1. Use single table inheritance, and some kind of magic to add SQL
columns which don't exist on loading a new model defined in a plugin.
Problem: if two models have fields with the same name and different
types, I run into trouble (potential workaround is postfixing all
field names with their type, and somehow magically mapping them back
to the right ones in each class.)

2. Use concrete table inheritance, and have the plugins define their
own migrations somehow so that they can create their own tables.
Problem: if I add a field in a base class, or if a plugin inherits
from a model in another plugin and that plugin adds a field, then all
subclasses need to have that field added.

3. Store a map of :sym => (string or number or date) as multiple rows
in a second table, with each row having a reference back to the owning
object, a column saying which column the value is actually stored in,
and then a column for each type I want to support.  I'd probably have
to have subclasses explicitly call a method which generates the
getters and setters.

4. Use some kind of native object mapping so that I don't have to
think about how to fit an object model onto an obsolete relational
paradigm.  So far I've investigated DyBase (the .so compiles but bombs
out as soon as it's loaded) and Madeleine (not liking it because
everything that ever reads from or writes to the model needs to be
implemented in a separate class, which makes everything much less
transparent) and am looking for other options.

What are other people doing in this sort of situation?  I imagine that
option #3 is the only feasible one which maintains the ability to use
Active Record for the storage, but I suspect that option #4 would be
the most transparent way to do it.  Problem is I haven't yet found a
decent ODBMS that works with Ruby.

TX
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