1. Allan Davis
  2. RubyLearning

Source

RubyLearning / ProjectTrak / vendor / rails / railties / doc / guides / source / creating_plugins / core_ext.txt

== Extending core classes ==

This section will explain how to add a method to String that will be available anywhere in your rails app by:

 * Writing tests for the desired behavior
 * Creating and requiring the correct files

=== Creating the test ===

In this example you will add a method to String named `to_squawk`.  To begin, create a new test file with a few assertions:

*vendor/plugins/yaffle/test/core_ext_test.rb*

[source, ruby]
--------------------------------------------------------
require File.dirname(__FILE__) + '/test_helper.rb'

class CoreExtTest < Test::Unit::TestCase
  def test_to_squawk_prepends_the_word_squawk
    assert_equal "squawk! Hello World", "Hello World".to_squawk
  end
end
--------------------------------------------------------

Navigate to your plugin directory and run `rake test`:

--------------------------------------------------------
cd vendor/plugins/yaffle
rake test
--------------------------------------------------------

The test above should fail with the message:

--------------------------------------------------------
 1) Error:
test_to_squawk_prepends_the_word_squawk(CoreExtTest):
NoMethodError: undefined method `to_squawk' for "Hello World":String
    ./test/core_ext_test.rb:5:in `test_to_squawk_prepends_the_word_squawk'
--------------------------------------------------------

Great - now you are ready to start development.

=== Organize your files ===

A common pattern in rails plugins is to set up the file structure like this:

--------------------------------------------------------
|-- lib
|   |-- yaffle
|   |   `-- core_ext.rb
|   `-- yaffle.rb
--------------------------------------------------------

The first thing we need to to is to require our 'lib/yaffle.rb' file from 'rails/init.rb':

*vendor/plugins/yaffle/rails/init.rb*

[source, ruby]
--------------------------------------------------------
require 'yaffle'
--------------------------------------------------------

Then in 'lib/yaffle.rb' require 'lib/core_ext.rb':

*vendor/plugins/yaffle/lib/yaffle.rb*

[source, ruby]
--------------------------------------------------------
require "yaffle/core_ext"
--------------------------------------------------------

Finally, create the 'core_ext.rb' file and add the 'to_squawk' method:

*vendor/plugins/yaffle/lib/yaffle/core_ext.rb*

[source, ruby]
--------------------------------------------------------
String.class_eval do
  def to_squawk
    "squawk! #{self}".strip
  end
end
--------------------------------------------------------

To test that your method does what it says it does, run the unit tests with `rake` from your plugin directory.  To see this in action, fire up a console and start squawking:

--------------------------------------------------------
$ ./script/console
>> "Hello World".to_squawk
=> "squawk! Hello World"
--------------------------------------------------------

=== Working with init.rb ===

When rails loads plugins it looks for the file named init.rb.  However, when the plugin is initialized, 'init.rb' is invoked via `eval` (not `require`) so it has slightly different behavior.

Under certain circumstances if you reopen classes or modules in 'init.rb' you may inadvertently create a new class, rather than reopening an existing class.  A better alternative is to reopen the class in a different file, and require that file from `init.rb`, as shown above.

If you must reopen a class in `init.rb` you can use `module_eval` or `class_eval` to avoid any issues:

*vendor/plugins/yaffle/init.rb*

[source, ruby]
---------------------------------------------------
Hash.class_eval do
  def is_a_special_hash?
    true
  end
end
---------------------------------------------------

Another way is to explicitly define the top-level module space for all modules and classes, like `::Hash`:

*vendor/plugins/yaffle/init.rb*

[source, ruby]
---------------------------------------------------
class ::Hash
  def is_a_special_hash?
    true
  end
end
---------------------------------------------------