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Comma

== DESCRIPTION:

Comma is a CSV (ie. comma separated values) generation extension for Ruby objects, that lets you seamlessly define a CSV output format via a small DSL. Comma works well on pure Ruby objects with attributes, as well as complex ones such as ActiveRecord objects with associations, extensions, etc. It doesn't distinguish between attributes, methods, associations, extensions, etc - they all are considered equal and invoked identically via the Comma DSL description. Multiple different CSV output descriptions can also be defined.

When multiple objects in an Array are converted to CSV, the output includes generation of a header row reflected from names of the properties requested, or specified via the DSL.

CSV can be a bit of a boring format - the motivation behind Comma was to have a CSV extension that was simple, flexible, and would treat attributes, methods, associations, etc, all the same without the need for any complex configuration, and also work on Ruby objects, not just ActiveRecord or other base class derivatives.

An example Comma CSV enabled ActiveRecord class:

class Book < ActiveRecord::Base

  # ================
  # = Associations =
  # ================
  has_many   :pages
  has_one    :isbn
  belongs_to :publisher

  # ===============
  # = CSV support =
  # ===============
  comma do

    name
    description

    pages :size => 'Pages'
    publisher :name
    isbn :number_10 => 'ISBN-10', :number_13 => 'ISBN-13'
    blurb 'Summary'

  end

end

Annotated, the comma description is as follows:

# starts a Comma description block, generating 2 methods #to_comma and #to_comma_headers for this class.
comma do

  # name, description are attributes of Book with the header being reflected as 'Name', 'Description'
  name
  description

  # pages is an association returning an array, :size is called on the association results, with the header name specifed as 'Pages'
  pages :size => 'Pages'

  # publisher is an association returning an object, :name is called on the associated object, with the reflected header 'Name'
  publisher :name

  # isbn is an association returning an object, :number_10 and :number_13 are called on the object with the specified headers 'ISBN-10' and 'ISBN-13'
  isbn :number_10 => 'ISBN-10', :number_13 => 'ISBN-13'

  # blurb is an attribute of Book, with the header being specified directly as 'Summary'
  blurb 'Summary'

end

In the above example, any of the declarations (name, description, pages, publisher, isbn, blurb, etc), could be methods, attributes, associations, etc - no distinction during configuration is required, as everything is invoked via Ruby's #send method.

You can get the CSV representation of any object by calling the to_comma method, optionally providing a CSV description name to use.

Object values are automatically converted to strings via tos allowing you to reuse any existing tos methods on your objects (instead of having to call particular properties or define CSV specific output methods). Header names are also automatically humanized when reflected (eg. replacing _ characters with whitespace). The 'isbn' example above shows how multiple values can be added to the CSV output.

Multiple CSV descriptions can also be specified for the same class, eg:

class Book < ActiveRecord::Base

  # ================
  # = Associations =
  # ================
  has_many   :pages
  has_one    :isbn
  belongs_to :publisher

  # ===============
  # = CSV support =
  # ===============
  comma do

    name
    description

    pages :size => 'Pages'
    publisher :name
    isbn :number_10 => 'ISBN-10', :number_13 => 'ISBN-13'
    blurb 'Summary'

  end

  comma :brief do

    name
    description
    blurb 'Summary'

  end

end

You can specify which output format you would like to use via an optional parameter to to_comma:

Book.limited(10).to_comma(:brief)

Specifying no description name to to_comma is equivalent to specifying :default as the description name.

When used with Rails (ie. add 'comma' as a gem dependency), Comma automatically adds support for rendering CSV output in your controllers:

class BooksController < ApplicationController

  def index
    respond_to do |format|
      format.csv { render :csv => Book.limited(50) }
    end
  end

end

If you have any questions or suggestions for Comma, please feel free to contact me at crafterm@redartisan.com, all feedback welcome!

Vitals

Home http://github.com/crafterm/comma
Repository git://github.com/crafterm/comma.git
License Rails' (MIT)
Rating (1 vote)
Owner Marcus Crafter
Created 15 June 2009

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