Thoughts on controllers

I am new to Rails. I have read a couple books and ran through a few
tutorials as well. I have been using scaffolding a bit to structure a
few projects that I am building for learning purposes. I am curious what
your take on adding additional actions to the default RESTful actions in
the generated controllers is.

Is it best to somehow only use the generated controller actions? Is this
even feasible, depending on what your app is trying to accomplish? Or is
it fairly common to add numerous custom actions that either expand on
the default seven or add completely new functionality to the controller?

Thanks for your input.

Personally, I try to keeping my applications restful. It may require
me to rethink how I am going to accomplish a task, but I find it
usually forces the most elegant solution in the end.

That's not so say I haven't added extra actions to my controllers, but
they really shouldn't have too much clutter in them

My $0.02.

Hi Elliott Golden…,

If you want to use Restful you can ,And even if you want to add more actions you can but they need to be defined as those seven methods only…,

if the controller is small then better to do with out RESTful …

Enjoy and Gud luck

Regards
hafeez

Thanks for the the thoughts on this so far.

Here's a further question...

With Rails, I will primarily be building dynamic sites powered by my own
custom Rails CMS, which I will build in the near future. Also I don't
plan on these sites or CMS being accessed as services. With this in
mind, should I even build these using the REST architecture at all, and
if so what would the benefits be?

Thanks heaps!

Take a forum system, hypothetically. You have topics and posts controllers which both contain the 7 default RESTful actions. Then you realise "Oh, I want to add in a functionality that allows me to split topics based on the positioning of certain posts". Ah! A conundrum! So what do you do and where do you put it?

Well, since you're going to be splitting a *topic* based on *certain posts* I would put this functionality not in the topics controller, but the posts controller. The reason for this is because most likely we're going to want to split a topic based on a particular post. How we split it isn't really important right now. So we create a new action called split in our posts controller which has two ways of operating, first it will prompt a user how to split a post and then it'll undertake the task. So firstly we add it to our routes.rb file:

map.resources :posts, :member => { :split => [:get, :post] }

Notice how we're specifying the :member option here, signifying we only want a single post and then after that specifying an array of methods that our action will respond to.

When we click the link to go to this split we'll assume that the user gets prompted with a form on how they want to split the post (like, do they want to split the topic with all the posts after this post, before this post and if the new topic should include the post that is our candidate) and then when they submit this form it undertakes the actual splitting.

Now that's (what I'd like to think of as a) good example of adding a "RESTful" action that's not one of "The Seven" to your controller.

A bad example would be going into the topics controller and adding actions such as new_post, create_post, edit_post, etc. because post is its own resource. The creation, listing, showing, editing and destroying of separate resources should be kept separate.

Just a short description :slight_smile:

Hi --

Personally, I try to keeping my applications restful. It may require
me to rethink how I am going to accomplish a task, but I find it
usually forces the most elegant solution in the end.

That's not so say I haven't added extra actions to my controllers, but
they really shouldn't have too much clutter in them

Keep in mind, though, that the resource routing is designed with hooks
to let you create extra methods, and they're just as RESTful as the
seven canonical methods. REST per se is method-name neutral.

Still, I think it's good to be conservative about adding extra
actions. Whenever I find myself writing a new-named method in a
controller, I try to think whether I'm actually creating/updating/
etc. something. For example, instead of having a borrow_book action in
a users controller, I would probably favor a create action in a loans
controller, simply because it converges more predictably on the
CRUD-related semantics of the resource routing.

David