Database Retrieval - user interface - is there a ?gem? that already does this?


although I have about 25 years in the software/IT business as a
Federal Government employee, somehow I have avoided Web development
all this time… until now… I have an application at work that I
want to tackle, and decided it would be a fantastic time to learn Ruby
and RoR - for my continuing adult education…

I was first exposed to Ruby at an Open Source conference in Portland 2
years ago - saw the PickAxe authors give a brief intro to Ruby and
RoR… that was very exciting/stimulating/interesting… Bought the
PickAxe book but only read a portion of it and never used it… Been
doing quite abit of perl programming lately, but not Web apps…

I recently bought and am going through the Simply Rails 2 book… like
what I am reading/seeing, trying to understand/etc… although it is
abit daunting due to my very limited knowledge of Web programming/etc
(no prior PHP, JavaScript, etc experience)…

At any rate, that is all background stuff…

What I am wondering is if anybody has built a ??gem?? that gives you
most of what you need to get a user front-end to a database
application in place…

What I picture is something that first asks the user which table (if
there are multiple ones that are linked up/ready to be used in the RoR

  • that is defined in a yml file, I guess) to use - from a drop down
    list… this could also default to a commonly use one, etc…

Next the user is given a choice of first (most popularly used - known
in advance by the programming/me) column in the table to retrieve from

  • using a drop down list… Based on the characteristics of the field,
    the user is given choices of operator - for int/number columns choices
    like “> , <, >=, <=, etc”, for dates choices like “within a range,
    before, after”… the user is given a field to enter their criteria…
    now the user can execute that retrieval, OR - they can choose to add
    to the retrieval - with an AND or an OR - I guess another checkbox,
    and/or dropdown menu… And they go ahead and build a query that way
    (a column at a time/etc), and execute it… they can modify the
    entries in this query and/or save the query… It would allow for
    parenthesized booleans - to allow the user to build advanced

This seems to be very basic database retrieval stuff - and I am
guessing that others have implemented something that gives you this
functionality already and would prevent me from reinventing the wheel
to get this sort of useful/slick interface using RoR…

So that is my question to the group…

The other question is if the Aptana Studio and RadRails (free
versions) are a good/recommended IDE to use… Or should I use Eclipse
(already have a version downloaded) with the RadRails plugIN? I like
the idea of IDEs - and had a small bit of experience (mostly in a Java
course I took) using Eclipse with Java in my last job… And before
that, decades ago - Borland Turbo Pascal and Turbo C…

thanks TONs for any assistance!!,