Naming Conventions for Associations

Hi Everyone,

I seem to continually have this internal debate on how I should
approach naming certain associations on models. For example, let's
say I have a User model and a User has one Status. Although, let's
also say that in my system that 'Status' would be ambiguous with other
types of statuses, so I want to name the model UserStatus. The
problem that I face now, is that when I say a user has one UserStatus,
the way I would refer to the associated model would, by default, look


I feel that in this context, the double 'user' references are
redundant. Something like this would be more natural:

@user.status (where status is UserStatus)

I realize that I can achieve the second syntax in a couple of ways.
In the User model, I can change the association name, like:

belongs_to :status, :class_name => 'UserStatus', :foreign_key =>

This works, but it creates the getters/setters:


I would expect for it to also let me change the id through something
like @user.status_id, not @user.user_status_id. So, this only cleans
things up half-way.

I realize too, that I can rename the actual database foreign key to
status_id instead of user_status_id, and then do something like this
in my user model:

belongs_to :status, :class_name => 'UserStatus'

This let's me access the status and status_id setters/getters as I
would expect. The thing about both of these changes though is that I
feel like I'm straying from the conventions, which I really want to
try to avoid. I wanted to get a survey of how other people usually
approach this. Any advice with this would be appreciated.


Sounds like you want a polymorphic association.

Thank you both for your suggestions. For one reason or another, these
options didn't occur to me originally in this situation, even though I
was familiar with both. Both make a lot of sense -- you've given me a
lot to think about for now. Thanks!