Nice way to set attributes to nil if blank


#1

I’ve got a form for editing a model called Property. Property has two
fields, web_color and thumbnail_path, that are nil by default, and the
model has some behaviour to generate defaults for them when nil, which
is the usual case.

When the form is submitted, the text fields for these attributes come
through as empty strings, and so these attributes are changed to be
empty strings instead of nil.

I can think of some hacky ways to stop this, such as doing something
like this in the controller:

params[:property][:web_color] = nil if
params[:property][:web_color].blank?

But, it would be better if this behaviour lived in the model. One way
would be to set up a before_save callback like this:

before_save :set_nils

def set_nils
self.web_color = nil if self.web_color.blank?
self.thumbnail_path = nil if self.thumbnail_path.blank?
end

But, this feels kind of hacky and i’d like a cleaner way. Can anyone
show me one?

thanks
max


#2

On Thu, May 28, 2009 at 11:06 AM, Max W.
removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

I can think of some hacky ways to stop this, such as doing something
def set_nils
self.web_color = nil if self.web_color.blank?
self.thumbnail_path = nil if self.thumbnail_path.blank?
end

But, this feels kind of hacky and i’d like a cleaner way. Can anyone
show me one?

thanks
max

In your model do

def web_color(web_color)
web_color = nil if web_color.blank?
write_attribute(:web_color, web_color)
end

and the same for thumbnail_path

Andrew T.
http://ramblingsonrails.com

http://MyMvelope.com - The SIMPLE way to manage your savings


#3

Andrew T. wrote:

In your model do

def web_color(web_color)
web_color = nil if web_color.blank?
write_attribute(:web_color, web_color)
end

and the same for thumbnail_path

Andrew T.
http://ramblingsonrails.com

http://MyMvelope.com - The SIMPLE way to manage your savings

Thanks Andrew - presumably you meant

def web_color=(web_color)

I ended up doing this:

before_validation :set_nils

def set_nils
self.web_color = nil if self.web_color.blank?
self.thumbnail_path = nil if self.thumbnail_path.blank?
end

Originally i had it using a before_save callback but this didn’t work as
the object state with web_color = “” was failing the validation before
getting to the before_save, but with the before_validation it works.

However your way is cleaner so i’ll do that instead.

thanks!
max


#4

BTW, this seems like the sort of behaviour that one might want to have
quite often in a model, to prevent form submission from changing ‘nil’
to “”. Maybe i’ll put it into a macro, i’ll post up my code here if i
do.

cheers
max


#5

On Thu, May 28, 2009 at 4:32 PM, Max W.
removed_email_address@domain.invalid wrote:

Thanks Andrew - presumably you meant

def web_color=(web_color)

Sorry, I did mean web_color=(…

Andrew T.
http://ramblingsonrails.com

http://MyMvelope.com - The SIMPLE way to manage your savings


#6

Philip H. wrote:

BTW, this seems like the sort of behaviour that one might want to have
quite often in a model, to prevent form submission from changing ‘nil’
to “”. Maybe i’ll put it into a macro, i’ll post up my code here if i
do.

I don’t recall the name, but there is a plugin on
agilewebdevelopment.com/plugins that does this automatically.

This may have been it… looks like it will do what you want in any
case.

http://agilewebdevelopment.com/plugins/stripattributes

-philip

Nice - thanks for that philip!


#7

BTW, this seems like the sort of behaviour that one might want to have
quite often in a model, to prevent form submission from changing ‘nil’
to “”. Maybe i’ll put it into a macro, i’ll post up my code here if i
do.

I don’t recall the name, but there is a plugin on
agilewebdevelopment.com/plugins that does this automatically.

This may have been it… looks like it will do what you want in any
case.

http://agilewebdevelopment.com/plugins/stripattributes

-philip