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Paper Trail Gem: Track Changes to Your Models Data


Howdy, today I am going to talk about the versioning. How to specifically version your models? So wondering what I am talking about? What is that versioning and my models? Let me explain you with an example. If you have created a specific document that many people can edit; yes, just similar to Google Docs. Let’s say, it’s a client proposal and you want your colleagues to do have a look and if required then make the validate changes. After sharing the document with your colleagues, in case someone does @#$%***&% to your doc or if someone has updated your doc with the required changes, then you will not be able to see all the previous versions of the doc and who changed it. This is the most common scenario as it creates a big mess. How To Track changes to your models’ data To help you out and track all the changes as well as who has done this, we’re going to use Paper Trail gem. It is a simplified version of Google Docs. A very, very simplified. This gem lets you track all the changes, as the purpose of editing and versioning.


And making use of it, you can be able to see all the previous versions of the file and if required you can rollback to a previous version of your choice. You can even undo all the changes after a record has been destroyed so as to restore it completely.

Why Paper trail? It’s a one stop solution for text data: It helps to focus on what to look for. Helps to focus on auditing or versioning. Relevant data is split across directories, multiple apps and systems. So instead of source, they can be managed by username, IP address, message ID. Setup The App

I am not going to build the application from scratch. Instead have pulled the code from Github. Git clone : https://github.com/


Run the migration, bundle and start the app rake db:migrate bundle install rails server If you head over to localhost:3000, you should see the following :

PaperTrail PaperTrail to automatically keep track of what happened to our documents. # Gemfile gem 'paper_trail' Now, 3 steps in one line to get it to work : bundle install && bundle exec rails generate paper_trail:install && bundle exec rake db:migrate Restart your server before continuing.


After that, add PaperTrail to the model we want to version : # app/models/document.rb class Document < ActiveRecord::Base belongs_to :user has_paper_trail def user_name user ? user.name : '‘ end end And that’s it ! Everytime we save our model, we’ll get the previous version saved by PaperTrail : PaperTrail::Version.all # => #<ActiveRecord::Relation [#<PaperTrail::Version id: 1, item_type: "Document", item_id: 1, event: "update", whodunnit: "1", object: "---\nid: 1\nname: Abcz\ncontent: aaa\nuser_id: 1\ncreat...", created_at: "2014-09-26 15:38:14">]>


Listing the previous versions # app/helpers/documents_helper.rb module DocumentsHelper def find_version_author_name(version) user = User.find_version_author(version) user ? user.name : '' end end

# app/models/user.rb class User < ActiveRecord::Base has_many :documents def self.find_version_author(version) find(version.terminator) end end Now, letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s add the actual list of versions to the edit document view as a partial :

Ruby:


And render this partial after the Document form : # app/views/documents/edit.html.erb ... <%= render 'form' %> <%= render 'documents/versionsâ&#x20AC;&#x2DC; ,document: @document %> Now you can udpate any document a few times. You should see the list of versions growing!


Add Diff & Rollback First, we’re going to update the edit document view to add action to the links :

Then we need the routes : # config/routes.rb resources :documents do resources :versions, only: [:destroy] do member do get :diff, to: 'versions#diff‘ patch :rollback, to: 'versions#rollback‘ end end end


And finally, we create the controller :

You can also rollback to a previous version! Pretty cool, huh! So for that weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re going to use the very nice gem Diffy. Diffy gives us an easy way to diff content (files or strings) in Ruby by using Unix diff.


Diff with Diffy Add the gem to your Gemfile : # Gemfile ... gem 'paper_trail‘ gem 'diffy‘ ... bundle install and restart your server.

Now the actual diff view is pretty simple to build. We’re going to create it in app/ views/ versions/ :


If you try it, you should see something like that:.


Very nice! Now, our app is missing one very important feature. Its a way to bring back documents from the graveyard!

Custom Version Class Adding a custom version class is actually quite easy. First, we need to generate a migration : rails g migration create_document_versions You can paste this in it :


The corresponding model:

Note the default_scope I added.

Bring back Documents


The actions in our controllers:


And a view to list the deleted documents : # app/views/documents/deleted.html.erb Bring back documents


Now try it! Delete a document and it will appear in the list of deleted

MetaData

Remember when we created the migration for you custom Document Version model ? Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re going to use those! # app/models/document.rb ... has_paper_trail class_name: 'DocumentVersion', meta: { author_username: :user_name, word_count: :count_word } When PaperTrail generate a new version, it will call the defined methods (user_name) on document an save it in the specified field (author_username). We need to add a method named count_word. def count_word content.split(' ').count end def count_word content.split(' ').count end


And since we added all those information, we should show it in our list of versions.

And save a few versions to see the metadata!


Who needs 100 versions ? The last trick, We probably donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t need the 100 previous versions, 10 to 30 should be enough. You can define that in PaperTrail configuration : # config/initializers/paper_trail.rb PaperTrail.config.version_limit = 10 Source code https://github.com/airblade/paper_trail#1c-basicusage

Features: 1.Stores every update and destroy. 2.Only store updates that has been changed. 3.You can have all the version, including the original, if it even destroyed once. 4.You can get every version even if the schema has since changed. 5.Automatically record a responsible controller current user method. 6.Allows you to set who is responsible at modellevel (useful for migrations). 7.No configuration necessary. 8.Can be turned off/on. 9.Everything can be stored in a single database table. 10.Thoroughly tested.


Interested in installation

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Paper trail gem  

Version your models with PaperTrail.

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