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Default Model Attributes In Rails

Posted by Weston Ganger

Sometimes it is helpful to have default values for an attribute. You have two options when it comes to this
Option 1: Default value contraint in database:

class AddPublished < ActiveRecord::Migration
  def change
    change_column :posts, :description, :string, default: "My default value"

Option 2: after_initialize callback:

class Post < ActiveRecord::Base
  after_initialize :set_defaults

  def set_defaults
    self.description = "My Default Value" if self.new_record?

I added the if self.new_record? portion because after_initialize runs when building a new record or after fetching a record. I only want the value to be set on newly built records.

I think that Option 2 is more flexible but Option 1 has its perks too

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Article Topic:Software Development - Rails

Date:March 18, 2015

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