I stumbled across this validation gotcha a while back, but that was before I had this awesome blog ;) I think this is a pretty big one, hope this help someone!
validates is used for normal validations
length, and the like.
validate is used for custom validation methods
validate_name_starts_with_a, or whatever crazy method you come up with. These methods are clearly useful and help keep data clean.
That’s all well and good, except for one tiny thing:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 #lang: ruby require 'active_record' class Foo include ::ActiveModel::Validations attr_accessor :bar validate :bar, presence: true # Note the validate without an s! end require 'rspec' require 'rspec/autorun' describe 'Foo' do it 'fails to actually validate' do foo = Foo.new foo.valid?.should be_false end end
That test fails.
Go ahead, copy that into a new file and run it for yourself. I'll wait. Yep, it fails. There’s no value set for
bar and yet
foo.valid? still returns
true. This is a problem.
So what’s going on here? I asked stackOverflow, and it turns out there’s a totally reasonable explanation.
validate is written to look for a custom validation method, this time one called
bar. It just so happens there is a
bar method, set from the
attr_accessor :bar line. That
bar method returns doesn’t return
false, nor does it put any error messages on the main object’s body. Therefore
validate interprets the call to
bar as a success and doesn’t invalidate the object.
This explanation also means there’s no way for the code to “fail loudly” - to alert us that we haven’t purposefully defined a custom method when we use
validate. So I'd suggest grepping through your codebase for
validate : and making very sure that’s what you actually want.
So remember folks,
validates is for Rails validators (and custom validator classes ending with
Validator if that’s what you're into), and
validate is for your custom validator methods. Don’t make a typo!