STI, polymorphism and base_class?

So a while back, I stumbled over here:

Turns out I was having problems because what seemed to me a bug: with a polymorphic relationship that also uses STI, Rails stores the type field as the base class, not as the STI child class.

I can see the argument that this is "right" because that's where the table name comes from. But here's my major problem: if you don't store the actual STI class, how can you possibly recreate it? You can always go down the chain, but can't go up. I.e. a child class can use class.base_class to get the base, but if you are at the base class, you can't "infer" the proper child class.

For example, in Pratik's example here: if you set up that code (with DB tables), then do:

video = Video.create attachment = Attachment.create video.attachment = attachment

The "attachable_type" field in the "attachments" table is: "Asset", and not "Video".

So later, if you do:

Attachment.find(x).attachable # => Asset(...)

I.e. it returns an Asset object, and NOT a Video object.

I just tried this in Rails 2.1.0.

I'm trying to figure out if I'm missing something or if there is legitimately a concern here. Wouldn't you want to store "Video" for "attachable_type"? What is the argument for storing "Asset"?

And it gets really messy for me because I have some code where the base class is abstract. The subclasses using STI each have their own table. So in Pratik's example, Asset wouldn't have an "assets" table. But there'd be a "photos" table, for example. And without getting the right class in the "attachable_type" field, you get SQL errors for non- existent tables.

Can anyone help shed some light on this? Or do I need to continue the monkeypatching I did with Rails 2.0.2 (which is when I discovered this)



Yikes! Replying to my own post!

Well, I did some more banging around. *sheepish grin*

It looks like it will set the child class if the base class is abstract.

Also, if you set a "type" field on the base class' table (if it's not abstract), it will set that to the type and use that.

So, apparently, I just wasn't understanding exactly how to set this up right.

Yay Rails!

Just in case my voluminous time spent on this might be useful to someone else. Here's a quick summary:

1. If you want to store the base class on the polymorphic table (but why would you?), leave off the extra "type" field on the STI table.

2. If you want to store the inherited type on the polymorphic table, add in a "type" (string) field on the STI table.

3. If you want to use child tables and leave the parent base class as tableless, you need to:   a) explicitly set the base class' model to be abstract: self.abstract_class = true   b) explicitly set the child class' model to use a different table: set_table_name :photos

Ok. Good. I can toss out my monkeypatching. Whew!


can u give an overview of ure table fields? i am trying to do something similar but im not really sure how to go about it!