SQL/Paginate help needed for has_many :through relationship

Hey all. I’m doing a paginated find with will_paginate, with a fairly
complex set of associations and ordering clauses.

Here’s the associations relevant to this example:

belongs_to :subject
#standard acts_as_taggable setup
has_many :taggings, :conditions => [“taggable_type => ?”, “Question”]
has_many :tags, :through_taggings

What i’m trying to do, is, for a given tag, order the results so that
the ones with that tag are at the top, and then the other ones in
alphabetical order.

Here’s an example of one of the generated find calls:

Question.find(:all, {:per_page=>30,
:conditions=>[“questions.subject_id = ?”, “9”],
:order=>"(tags.name = ‘piano’) desc, tags.name",
:include=>[:subject, {:taggings=>:tag}]})

For the resultant sql, rails splits it into two sql calls. The first
uses just the associations referred to in the order list, and gets the
ids of the questions. This is where the problem is occurring: here’s
the first sql which rails generates:

taggings ON taggings.taggable_id = questions.id AND
taggings.taggable_type = ‘Question’ LEFT OUTER JOIN tags ON
tags.id = taggings.tag_id WHERE (questions.subject_id = ‘9’) ORDER
BY (tags.name = ‘piano’) desc, tags.name LIMIT 0, 30

I can copy and run this myself in mysql and see that it’s not having the
desired result: the 30 question ids that it brings back don’t belong to
questions which have the ‘piano’ keyword.

I think that this is a grouping issue, or something similar: i think the
‘distinct questions.id’ part is interacting with the joined table of
questions and taggings in such a way as to cut out the right ids. I
think that if i had a working version of the above sql query i could
work backwards and set up my find options appropriately.

Any advice, anyone? thanks, max


How about something like…

:order=>“(CASE WHEN tags.name = ‘piano’ THEN 1 ELSE 0 END) desc,

Anthony C.

Anthony C. wrote:

How about something like…

:order=>"(CASE WHEN tags.name = ‘piano’ THEN 1 ELSE 0 END) desc,

Thanks Anthony but that’s just a different way of getting the same
result. I think my ordering needs to take the join into account
somehow, maybe with a ‘group by’ or something but i can’t get my head
around it :confused:

How about creating a method in your model that
will do two finds. The first will return all questions with
that tag. The second will return those without that

Have this model return the sum of the two finds.

Using two named_scopes called with_tag and without_tag
might be a nice way of doing this, and then in your class

def self.with_tag_on_top(tag)
self.with_tag(tag) + self.without_tag(tag)

so in your controller you can have something like

@questions = Question.with_tag_on_top(params[:tag]).paginate(:page =>


Anthony C. wrote:


How about something like…

:order=>“(CASE WHEN tags.name = ‘piano’ THEN 1 ELSE 0 END) desc,

Anthony C.

Hi Max!

I have the same problem of this post

How did you solve that?

Thanks in advance,
Raphael Costa