Need architectural help avoiding render :component

I'm writing a CMS/portal system, and I'm having trouble coming up with
a way of routing requests that feels right without using render
:component (which I've read should never be used). The system works
like this:

Each user has a set of "pages" which are shown as navigation tabs on
the page. The user may rename, reorder, add, or delete pages for a
custom view of the site. Pages can be of a number of types (calendars,
blogs, links pages, to do lists, etc).

If the user, joe, makes a page called "My Calendar" it's URL would be
http://thesiteurl/joe/my-calendar

Once a request comes in for that URL, I need to hit the database in
order to figure out how to route it. I have to figure out what type of
page "my-calendar" maps to and ensure that joe has permission to view
that page. As far as I can tell, it's not possible to handle this in
routes.rb, so I put it in a controller, PageController.

Once the app determines what kind of controller is required, it needs
to pass on the request to the appropriate controller (a
CalendarController, BlogController, ToDoController, etc). It seems
like the most straightforward way of doing this is to have the last
line of PageController's routing function be "render :component => ..."

I have managed to use what I consider to be a gigantic hack to get
around this. PageController figures out which controller needs to
handle the final request, instantiates it, calls the appropriate
function on it, reflects all of that function's local variables into
its own, and then calls the appropriate render :action. The code for
this is pretty ugly, and reflecting private variables like that makes
the software engineer part of me want to cry.

So, what's the proper way of handling this without using render
:component? What am I doing wrong?

Hi~-

I'm writing a CMS/portal system, and I'm having trouble coming up with
a way of routing requests that feels right without using render
:component (which I've read should never be used). The system works
like this:

<snip>

I have managed to use what I consider to be a gigantic hack to get
around this. PageController figures out which controller needs to
handle the final request, instantiates it, calls the appropriate
function on it, reflects all of that function's local variables into
its own, and then calls the appropriate render :action. The code for
this is pretty ugly, and reflecting private variables like that makes
the software engineer part of me want to cry.

So, what's the proper way of handling this without using render
:component? What am I doing wrong?

Hey there-

  I am working on a plugin for this exact purpose. render_component does suck hard and is way slow because it has to instantiate a whole new request/response and controller object. But I do think there is a need for a light weight way of making small ajax applets or page parts that can get rendered in a view in a similar way to render_component without all the baggage but also need to be able to handle ajax callbackls in the controller. So I have a plugin called 'cells' that aims to solve this problem. I haven't released it anywhere yet but you can grab it form svn and see what you think.

  It works by piggybacking off of ActionController::Base or ActionView::Base depending on whether its handling a request or whether it is being rendered within another view sort of like a component. Keep in mind that this plugin is not about sharable betweek apps reusable high level components that everyone hates. Cells are about encapsualting small page parts and giving them a way to remain independent from other controllers. Using this technique you can accomplish something akin to render_component in a view, only its around 21 times faster :wink: It also makes you add only one ActionController c lass to you app. This controller is a dispatcher for all your cell controllers. Each cell is a small MVC stack that lives in its own folder. So in your app you add a directory called RAILS_ROOT/app/cells. And in cells/ you can have your cell's views, models and mini controller.

  Here is the svn url. It is a full rails app with a small todolist sample 'cell' included so you can see how it works. PLay with it and lt me know how it works for you. When i get some more time I will make a it a more genrally available plugin. I am getting a lot of good use out of it and I think it solves a problem that a lot of folk struggle to do in a clean way with rails.

svn co http://svn.devjavu.com/cells

Cheers-
-Ezra