How to use arbitrary relationships in Activerecord

How can I ask ActiveRecord to make it’s “has_many” code to work on some
arbitrary relationship between two tables? ie neither field is a primary

The situation is that I am writing a Postfix management application and
one of the tables to manage is the “alias” table. My primary key in the
“mailbox” table is “id”, but the alias table is just a mapping between
two text email address fields. It needs to stay like this for
performance reasons and also because applications querying the DB are
not able to do table joins, finally it’s also because you can setup
aliases for things which aren’t in your database

So I would like to be able to navigate to my “mailbox” object and then
navigate down into the “aliases” collection from that object and find
any related aliases and also have all the nice methods that come as a
result of using the “has_many” macro

Any suggestions? (Or am I misunderstanding exactly what has_many
actually does?)


Ed W

Yeah, you could use a find_sql in the parent class and one in the child
class. Here is some example code. Maybe not perfect, but the basic
idea. Or you could probably link the two tables together with some
definitions in the models, but I’m not real good at that.

class Mailbox < ActiveRecord::Base
has_many :aliases, :class_name => “Alias”, :finder_sql =>
‘SELECT * FROM aliases a, mailboxes, m WHERE a.email_address =

mymailbox = Mailbox.find_by_email(“removed_email_address@domain.invalid”)
mymailbox.aliases.each do |myalias|

class View < ActiveRecord::Base
has_and_belongs_to_many :sessions
has_many :resulting_hosts, :class_name => “Result”, :finder_sql =>
'WHERE r.session_id IN ’ +
'(SELECT s.session_id FROM sessions_views s ’ +
‘WHERE s.view_id = #{id} )’

Overriding Defaults

class Call < ActiveRecord::Base
set_table_name “[HeatAdmin].[CallLog]”
set_primary_key “CallID”
has_many :assignments

Charles L. wrote:

mymailbox = Mailbox.find_by_email(“removed_email_address@domain.invalid”)
mymailbox.aliases.each do |myalias|

This is excellent (and obvious now it’s written down). Thanks

What happens during “saving” though? Is it possible to append new
objects to mymailbox.aliases and then save them back to the database
correctly? This was one thing I wasn’t sure about when deviating from
the standard relationships?

Thanks very much for taking the time to respond

Ed W