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Active Record in Rails

Let’s dive into the Rails active record, which is an integral part of the Ruby on Rails framework. Active Record in Rails symbolizes the ‘Model’ in the MVC (Model-View-Controller) paradigm. In essence, it signifies the layer of the system responsible for encapsulating the business data and logic.

In the world of web development, it serves as an implementation of the Active Record pattern, connecting rich objects in an application to tables within a database management system.

Interfacing with Relational Databases

Active Record uses Object Relational Mapping (ORM) to establish robust connections between application objects and tables in database management systems. Such an interface allows application developers to work with databases while writing less SQL (Structured Query Language).

Active Record Naming Conventions

One advantageous feature of the rails active record is its naming conventions. Following these conventions allows developers to write minimal to no configuration when creating Active Record models.

For example, developers must use the snake_case form for table names, and model class names should adhere to Ruby conventions.

Active Record Models Creation

Developers create Active Record models by subclassing the ApplicationRecord class. These models inherit several helpful methods from the ActiveRecord::Base, the superclass of ApplicationRecord. Developers can also customize the table name that should be used by using the ActiveRecord.table_name=method.

Working with Active Record

Data Manipulation with Active Record

You can use Active Record models to read and manipulate data stored in relational databases. It allows the creation, reading, updating, and deletion of records stored in database tables. After retrieval, an Active Record object can even be destroyed, removing it from the database.

Creation and Saving Objects

Active Record offers a rich API that allows you to instantiate an object even without saving it. After making the desired modifications, calling user.save will commit the record to the database.

Model Validation

Active Record enables validation of a model before writing it into the database, enhancing the integrity of the stored data. If a model fails to pass the validation phase, these methods return false and stop further database operations.

Active Record Callbacks

Callbacks offer a means to attach code to various events in the life cycle of your models. With callbacks, you can execute code at specific points in an object’s lifecycle, such as during validation, creation, update, deletion, and more.

Understanding Migrations in Active Record

Migrations are another important aspect of the Ruby on Rails Active Record. They allow developers to make changes to the database schema over time, making the alterations independent of the kind of database being used.

Running Migrations

Active Record supports running migrations against any database. To create a table, one would just need to run a command like bin/rails db:migrate, and to roll it back, simply run the same command with a different option.

Active Record Associations

The definition of relationships between models is made possible through Active Record associations. These associations depict how the models connect to each other and allow developers to map their model objects to their respective database tables effectively.


To sum up, the Rails active record is a robust part of the Ruby on Rails MVC framework. The Active Record layer serves as the bridge between business logic and database manipulation, facilitating seamless data interfacing and manipulation.

From the creation and validation of models to the execution of migrations, Active Record establishes solid groundwork for complex web development tasks.

If you are interested in more complex topics related to Ruby on Rails, consider exploring our previous article on Rails API Basics. Stay tuned for our next entry in this series, coming soon!


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