I'm just learning Rails and am starting out by reading LOTS of books and websites and converting a simple system (4 tables, 32 fields including keys and timestams, 3 web screens and 4 "admin" screens written in 4th Dimension) but a few questions still remain with how someone with Rails experience would approach a problem. If someone can either point me in the right direction or feels like building a new demo (I can send specs, screen shots of current system, etc if interested) that would cover these, it would be much appreciated.
The main system in question is a visitor check-in system where a host (the person they're visiting) has an admin enter visitor info. Once entered, it shows up at the guard station where they're checked in and then proceed to pick up a visitor badge.
1. The guard station system is very simple. It shows a list of the expected visitors and beside each is a check box. The guard checks off all the visitors arriving in a vehicle (sometimes one, sometimes a busload) and presses submit. All the examples I've seen process a single record and that doesn't work in this case.
2. For some views or for actions to be completed, I want certain fields to be required but in others, I do not want them to be required. At least at first glance, the controller seems to enforce this for all views. As an example, lets say I want users to come in and start an order with the ability to save it as a draft with no checking but before they can submit it, it has to have all the required stuff entered.
3. Everything I've seen so far relates to pulling data from a single web page on submit. In most of my databases, I'm pulling in LOTS of data (6 pages minimum) and then going to the next page. How are people handling intermediate page saves? Cookies is an option but I'd rather have it in the database since the user may move from one computer to another.
4. In some views, I want a login to be required and in other cases, I don't. For example, I want to allow anonymous entries but I want an admin to have to view them before they're officially posted. I haven't quite gotten to the point in any book that covers authentication so this may be trivial.
5. Not quite related to Rails (or maybe it is) but what are others using for reporting -- both built reports and ad hoc reports? Are you using Rails to generate the file and convert to PDF or are you using some other tool that works on the lower level database? While something like Crystal Reports would work great, it's significant overkill and costs quite a bit.
6. I haven't yet seen any way to encrypt data before it gets saved to the database and we collect some data that would be considered sensitive. What I do now i(not in Rails) s use a second pub/priv keypair to encrypt the data when it first comes in and then save that to a blob.
If you're interested in building the demo, email me off-list and I'll send you more info.