Database Retrieval - user interface - is there a ?gem? that already does this?


although I have about 25 years in the software/IT business as a
Federal Government employee, somehow I have avoided Web development
all this time... until now... I have an application at work that I
want to tackle, and decided it would be a fantastic time to learn Ruby
and RoR - for my continuing adult education...

I was first exposed to Ruby at an Open Source conference in Portland 2
years ago - saw the PickAxe authors give a brief intro to Ruby and
RoR... that was very exciting/stimulating/interesting... Bought the
PickAxe book but only read a portion of it and never used it... Been
doing quite abit of perl programming lately, but not Web apps...

I recently bought and am going through the Simply Rails 2 book... like
what I am reading/seeing, trying to understand/etc... although it is
abit daunting due to my very limited knowledge of Web programming/etc
(no prior PHP, JavaScript, etc experience)...

At any rate, that is all background stuff...

What I am wondering is if anybody has built a ??gem?? that gives you
most of what you need to get a user front-end to a database
application in place...

What I picture is something that first asks the user which table (if
there are multiple ones that are linked up/ready to be used in the RoR
- that is defined in a yml file, I guess) to use - from a drop down
list... this could also default to a commonly use one, etc...

Next the user is given a choice of first (most popularly used - known
in advance by the programming/me) column in the table to retrieve from
- using a drop down list... Based on the characteristics of the field,
the user is given choices of operator - for int/number columns choices
like "> , <, >=, <=, etc", for dates choices like "within a range,
before, after"... the user is given a field to enter their criteria...
now the user can execute that retrieval, OR - they can choose to add
to the retrieval - with an AND or an OR - I guess another checkbox,
and/or dropdown menu... And they go ahead and build a query that way
(a column at a time/etc), and execute it... they can modify the
entries in this query and/or save the query... It would allow for
parenthesized booleans - to allow the user to build advanced

This seems to be very basic database retrieval stuff - and I am
guessing that others have implemented something that gives you this
functionality already and would prevent me from reinventing the wheel
to get this sort of useful/slick interface using RoR...

So that is my question to the group...

The other question is if the Aptana Studio and RadRails (free
versions) are a good/recommended IDE to use... Or should I use Eclipse
(already have a version downloaded) with the RadRails plugIN? I like
the idea of IDEs - and had a small bit of experience (mostly in a Java
course I took) using Eclipse with Java in my last job.... And before
that, decades ago - Borland Turbo Pascal and Turbo C...

thanks TONs for any assistance!!,