Thursday, January 14, 2010

Scaffolds from existing tables

I find it hard to believe how often I see experienced, skilled and intelligent programmers who when faced with a tiny feature they would like to see in an OSS product resort to whining on forums or to colleagues instead of checking if there's already an existing solution

Granted this doesn't seem to come up in the Ruby world as much as it does a few other language circles I'm involved in (I suspect it's because it's usually faster to write the Ruby code to do what you want than to log into a forum...), but there are a few of these "requests" that you see over and over again, even when a good solution already exists and is freely and openly available. In rails it tends to be the "I have an existing schema but I want scaffolding!" one.

I had that thought trigger while dealing with a CRUD app I've been working on that deals with a large, legacy schema. It's not because I like scaffolding all that much (I don't) but because I wanted to get a working prototype up and running really fast and Ruby is much better at writing boilerplate code than I am.

In an attempt to become more like the programmers I look up to I didn't whine, I didn't log into a tech forum or post to a google group (where they are undoubtedly already 500 emails requesting the same thing already) I just started coding. Here's the "simplest thing that might work", it uses eval, it's not altogether elegant, but it fits all of the requirements.

We don't need to Google everything, there's nothing wrong with programmers that actually write code to solve problems...