RESTful resource with multiple view representations


Could somewhat offer guidance on this situation.

Say I have a Product model and an associated resource reference defined:

map.resources :products, :collection => { :search => :get }

I need to access the search action but have a different view (generally RJS) rendered depending on the context of the call.

For example, if called from an order assembly page I might need the resulting product collection displayed with add to basket links. Whereas on another page I might need them rendered with add to purchase order links.

I see to obvious solutions:

1. Define multiple actions within a single resource. They would essentially have the same code but would call different RJS view code to render the result.

       map.resources :products, :collection => { :sales_order_search => :get, :purchase_order_search => :get }

2. Have multiple resources such as as:

       map.resources :sales_order_products, :collection => { :search => :get }        map.resources :purchase_order_products, :collection => { :search => :get }

If going down route 2 I'd probably just repurpose the index action to check for a search_string param to narrow the results returned.

Both seem less than perfect, although I'm tended towards solution 1. Although I've only highlighted two view contexts there could be more, I would suggest 3 or 4 could be common. How would you handle this situation?

Thanks, Andrew

First off, what about using the same search action for each, and using query parameters to specify the desired behavior? That way you won't need a new custom action every time you need a new "flavor" of search call. It's perfectly RESTful to append any query parameters you need to your actions (/products/search?mode=purchase, or whatever).

However, maybe you really need a separate controller entirely, like a ProductSearchesController, whose index action can take whatever parameters you think are appropriate. That might help encapsulate all of your searching functionality and keep the ProductsController restful and clean.

Just some ideas....


Thanks, I think I looked at something similar to a mode/context param previously but seemed to drift away. I might have another look.

In this scenario are you suggesting sticking the conditional logic against the mode param in the action RJS view?

@display_context = params[:context]

respond_to do |format|      format.js end

Is there a way to specify the specific RJS file in the action?

Concept (format.js lines not necessarily valid, just to show intention):

display_context = params[:context]

respond_to do |format|      if display_context == "sales"         format.js { :render => 'sales_products' }      if display_context == "purchase"         format.js { :render => 'purchase_products' }      else         format.js { :render => 'products' }      end end

G'day Andrew. I agree with Jeff that you should refactor searching out of ProductsController.

I was in a similar situation to yours, where I needed to search for [real estate] properties. At first, I created #filter in the Property model, as well as #filter in PropertiesController. However, as time went on, this became cumbersome, and filled up the Property model with many methods that were only loosely related. To make life simpler, I moved #filter from Property and PropertiesController into a new model, called PropertyFilter.

Now when I want to search for properties with varying parameters, I simply create a PropertyFilter instance, and let that work its magic to perform the search.

If you decide to do this, I recommend having your new model inherit from ActiveRecord::BaseWithoutTable : It gives the model all of the fancy ActiveRecord methods (like #find, #validates_*, etc) without the need for a database table behind it.

I hope that helps. Cheers, Nick