I'm new to rails and have built a multi-model form. It's working, but some of the code doesn't feel right.

The model code is below. I'm using Devise for my user authentication:

# models/signup.rb
class Signup < ActiveRecord::Base
  has_one :company
  accepts_nested_attributes_for :company

# models/company.rb
class Company < ActiveRecord::Base
  belongs_to  :signup
  has_many    :users

  accepts_nested_attributes_for :users

# models/user.rb
class User < ActiveRecord::Base
  devise :database_authenticatable, :confirmable, :recoverable, 
    :rememberable, :trackable, :validatable, :registerable

  attr_accessible :email, :password, :password_confirmation

  belongs_to :company

My view is fairly standard and follows the typical pattern for multiple models. The most important code is the initial Signup creation which is done via the following helper:

# signup is created via signups#new 
def setup_signup(signup)
  signup.company ||= Company.new
  if signup.company.users[0] == nil
    1.times { signup.company.users.build }

I had to add a condition to not create additional users, because if the form validation failed it would create another user.

Finally my controller code looks like this:

# controllers/signups_controller.rb
class SignupsController < ApplicationController
  respond_to :html

  def new
    @signup = Signup.new

  def create
    @signup = Signup.new(params[:signup])

    # The first user to signup for a company should be an admin user 
    # But this feels really awkward
    @signup.company.users.first.admin = true

    # Skip confirmation for the first user to signup

    if @signup.save
      render :action => "new" 

This is what feels wrong to me:

  • When signing up to my website, there will only ever be a single User created. However, because a user is associated via a Company, and a Company has_many users I have to access this user in an awkward manner: signup.company.users.first. Obviously I could create an instance variable user = signup.company.users.first, and if that's the best solution, I'll take it, but it feels like there should be a better solution.
  • The setup_signup helper method requires checking if a user has already been created so a second user isn't created: if signup.company.users[0] == nil. To me if feels like Rails ought to have a cleaner way of handling this.
  • It feels like my create action is too fat for a controller, and that there ought to be a better way to set the admin boolean.

Am I right? Are there cleaner ways to accomplish these tasks?

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Any reason you're using a Signup model and controller, instead of doing it directly from Company? \$\endgroup\$ – Dogbert Apr 12 '11 at 17:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Dogbert - yes. I haven't gotten there yet, but I will be adding an additional model under the signup model. \$\endgroup\$ – Gavin Miller Apr 12 '11 at 18:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ I was going to suggest a solution that would do away with the signup model completely. Could you explain a bit more about what kind of things you would be adding to the signup model, that can't be added to Company or Users? \$\endgroup\$ – Dogbert Apr 12 '11 at 18:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Dogbert - I'll be adding an ActiveMerchant model when I get around to the credit card processing part of the application. So a Signup will have a Company and a CreditCard model. \$\endgroup\$ – Gavin Miller Apr 12 '11 at 18:22

Firstly (and yes I did read the comments) the signup model seems unessential.

So firstly we should do away with that, if you need to associate payment details then that could easily be done directly on the company model.

Secondly you controller is getting a bit cuddly. In favour of having "fat model, skinny controller" let's move all that signup logic into the company model in the form of a Company::register method.

So far we have changes like this:

# app/models/company.rb
class Company < ActiveRecord::Base
  has_many :users
  accepts_nested_attributes_for :users

  def self.register(params)
    company = self.new(params)

    company.users.first.admin = true

    if company.save

Now your controller can look like this:

# app/controllers/companies_controller.rb
class CompaniesController < ApplicationController

  def new
    @company = Company.new

  def create
    if @company = Company.register(params[:company])
      render :new

I'm also pretty sure that it's unessential to use that helper you have above. The form builder should be able to work it out from the model accepting nested attributes.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.