Dont write code! Write code to write your code!
Okay, funny meta statements aside, I noticed this week that in a side project I was doing a whooole lot of copy and pasting. To me this was a clear sign I could, and should, try to automate what I was doing. Clearly copy and pasting is pretty error prone and has caused me enough fuss that I try to avoid it when possible. As much as I would like to believe I am as consistent as a computer, unfortunately, I am not… Enter in Thor! There may be something better out there for this task but given I wanted to whip up something quick and always wanted to give Thor a go I figured why not. After all, if its good enough for Rails I am sure its good enough for me :).
A little background on the task at hand. The project is only a simple Rack API (which is why I am not extending
or creating a Rails generator). When I am making a resource, for example
Companies, I have have a good few files in common
that in turn share a good bit of general functionality. Those files in the case of a
- Creating a Grape::Entity
- Setting up accessible attributes for both public and admin use
- extras like versioning and ordering
- Migration for the
- Setting uuids and general attributes
company_version.rb(Version class for use with the PaperTrail gem)
Migration for the
company_spec.rb(RSpec Model Spec)
- attributes specs
- validation specs
- relationship specs
company_factory.rb(Factory Girl Factory for the resource)
- Nice field definitions based on the attribute type
This begins to look a lot like a scaffolding in Rails, so it made sense to use a
Thor::Group, which will run through
Thor::Group sequentially running each method. Perfect! Just the thing I was looking for, why bother
manually creating these files and filling it with a bunch of repeated boilerplate that I know I will need?
Thor makes it easy to generate files to your preference using familiar
erb templates. This was both really cool and
a point of pain for me. It was really awesome to have a common syntax to write these templates in, but holy crap was it
ugly looking. A lot of the things I had to do, for example formatting line indentation, was really hacky and removed a
good bit of nice formatting from the files in order to preserve nice formatting in the generated files. Take these criticisms
with a grain of salt since there very well may be a nicer templating system for use in Thor or just a better way in general
(if so leave me a comment about it!) I admittedly only did a quick Google search for an alternative to no avail. It would
be really cool to see something similar to handlebars/mustache or jinja2 style adapted for use.
Overall the experience was very enjoyable and help make development faster and more consistent, exactly the goal hooray! Take a look at the code for all the details and feel free to ask questions in the comments below!