Support mixin for models subclassed from ActiveRecord::Base providing context-aware data writing, allowing service authors to auto-inherit persistence-related features from Hoodoo without changing their own code.

See individual module methods for examples, along with:

Dependency Hoodoo::ActiveRecord::ErrorMapping is also included automatically.

Class Public methods
included( model )

Instantiates this module when it is included.


class SomeModel < ActiveRecord::Base
  include Hoodoo::ActiveRecord::Writer
  # ...

Depends upon and auto-includes Hoodoo::ActiveRecord::Creator and Hoodoo::ActiveRecord::ErrorMapping.


The ActiveRecord::Base descendant that is including this module.

# File lib/hoodoo/active/active_record/writer.rb, line 50
def self.included( model )
  unless model == Hoodoo::ActiveRecord::Base
    model.send( :include, Hoodoo::ActiveRecord::Creator      )
    model.send( :include, Hoodoo::ActiveRecord::ErrorMapping )

    instantiate( model )

  super( model )
instantiate( model )

When instantiated in an ActiveRecord::Base subclass, all of the Hoodoo::ActiveRecord::Writer::ClassMethods methods are defined as class methods on the including class.

This module depends upon Hoodoo::ActiveRecord::ErrorMapping, so that will be auto-included first if it isn't already.


The ActiveRecord::Base descendant that is including this module.

# File lib/hoodoo/active/active_record/writer.rb, line 71
def self.instantiate( model )
  model.extend( ClassMethods )

  # See instance method "persist_in" for how this gets used.
  model.validate do
    if @nz_co_loyalty_hoodoo_writer_db_uniqueness_violation == true
      errors.add( :base, 'has already been taken' )
Instance Public methods
persist_in( context )


Service authors SHOULD use this method when persisting data with ActiveRecord if there is a risk of duplication constraint violation of any kind. This will include a violation on the UUID of a resource if you support external setting of this value via the body of a create call containing the id field, injected by Hoodoo as the result of an authorised use of the X-Resource-UUID HTTP header.

You can use this method for both persisting new records or persisting updates, in the same way as ActiveRecord's save is used for either.


Services often run in highly concurrent environments and uniqueness constraint validations with ActiveRecord cannot protect against race conditions in such cases. Those work at the application level; the check to see if a record exists with a duplicate value in some given column is a separate operation from that which stores the record subsequently. As per the Rails Guides entry on the uniqueness validation at the time of writing:

“It does not create a uniqueness constraint in the database, so it may happen that two different database connections create two records with the same value for a column that you intend to be unique. To avoid that, you must create a unique index on both columns in your database.”

You MUST always use a uniqueness constraint at the database level and MAY additionally use ActiveRecord validations for a higher level warning in all but race condition edge cases. If you then use this persist_in method to store records, all duplication cases will be handled elegantly and reported as a generic.invalid_duplication error. In the event that a caller has used the X-Deja-Vu HTTP header, Hoodoo will take such an error and transform it into a non-error 204 HTTP response; so by using persist_in, you also ensure that your service participates successfully in this process without any additional coding effort. You get safe concurrency and protection against the inherent lack of idempotency in HTTP POST operations via any must-be-unique fields (within your defined scope) automatically.

Using this method for data storage instead of plain ActiveRecord save or save! will also help your code auto-inherit any additional future write-related enhancements in Hoodoo should they arise, without necessarily needing service code changes.



Hoodoo::Services::Context instance describing a call context. This is typically a value passed to one of the Hoodoo::Services::Implementation instance methods that a resource subclass implements.

Returns a Symbol of :success or :failure indicating the outcome of the same attempt. In the event of failure, the model will be invalid and not persisted; you can read errors immediately and should avoid unnecessarily re-running validations by calling valid? or validate on the instance.


class Unique < ActiveRecord::Base
  include Hoodoo::ActiveRecord::Writer
  validates :unique_code, :presence => true, :uniqueness => true

The migration to create the table for the Unique model MUST have a uniqueness constraint on the unique_code field, e.g.:

def change
  add_column :uniques, :unique_code, :null => false
  add_index :uniques, [ :unique_code ], :unique => true

Then, inside the implementation class which uses the above model, where you have (say) written private methods mapping_of which maps context.request.body to an attributes Hash for persistence and rendering_of which uses Hoodoo::Presenters::Base.render_in to properly render a representation of your resource, you would write:

def create( context )
  attributes = mapping_of( context.request.body )
  model_instance = attributes )

  # ...maybe make other changes to model_instance, then...

  unless model_instance.persist_in( context ).equal?( :success )

    # Error condition. If you're using the error handler mixin
    # in Hoodoo::ActiveRecord::ErrorMapping, do this:
    context.response.add_errors( model_instance.platform_errors )
    return # Early exit


  # ...any other processing...

  context.response.set_resource( rendering_of( context, model_instance ) )

See also

There is a class method equivalent which combines creating a new record and persisting it in a single call. If you prefer that code style, see Hoodoo::ActiveRecord::Writer::ClassMethods#persist_in. In such cases, it could look quite odd to mix the class method and instance method variants for new records or existing record updates; as syntax sugar, an alias of the persist_in instance method is available under the name update_in, so that you can use the class method for creation and the aliased instance method for updates.

Nested transaction note

Ordinarily an exception in a nested transaction does not roll back. ActiveRecord wraps all saves in a transaction “out of the box”, so the following construct could have unexpected results…

Model.transaction do
  instance.persist_in( context )

…if instance.valid? runs any SQL queries - which is very likely. PostgreSQL, for example, would then raise an exception; the inner transaction failed, leaving the outer one in an aborted state:

PG::InFailedSqlTransaction: ERROR:  current transaction is
aborted, commands ignored until end of transaction block

ActiveRecord provides us with a way to define a transaction that does roll back via the requires_new: true option. Hoodoo thus protects callers from the above artefacts by ensuring that all saves are wrapped in an outer transaction that causes rollback in any parents. This sidesteps the unexpected behaviour, but service authors might sometimes need to be aware of this if using complex transaction behaviour along with persist_in.

In pseudocode, the internal implementation is:

self.transaction( :requires_new => true ) do
Also aliased as: update_in
# File lib/hoodoo/active/active_record/writer.rb, line 236
def persist_in( context )

  # If this model has an ActiveRecord uniqueness validation, it is
  # still subject to race conditions and MUST be backed by a database
  # constraint. If this constraint fails, try to re-run model
  # validations just in case it was a race condition case; though of
  # course, it could be that there is *only* a database constraint and
  # no model validation. If there is *only* a model validation, the
  # model is ill-defined and at risk.

  # TODO: This flag is nasty but seems unavoidable. Whenever you query
  #       the validity of a record, AR will always clear all errors and
  #       then (re-)run validations. We cannot just add an error to
  #       "base" and expect it to survive. Instead, it's necessary to
  #       use this flag to signal to the custom validator added in the
  #       'self.instantiate' implementation earlier that it should add
  #       an error. Trouble is, when do we clear the flag...?
  #       This solution works but is inelegant and fragile.
  @nz_co_loyalty_hoodoo_writer_db_uniqueness_violation = false

  # First just see if we have any problems saving anyway.
  errors_occurred = begin
    self.transaction( :requires_new => true ) do
      :any unless
  rescue ::ActiveRecord::RecordNotUnique => error

  # If an exception caught a duplication violation then either there is
  # a race condition on an AR-level uniqueness validation, or no such
  # validation at all. Thus, re-run validations with "valid?" and if it
  # still seems OK we must be dealing with a database-only constraint.
  # Set the magic flag (ugh, see earlier) to signal that when
  # validations run, they should add a relevant error to "base".
  if errors_occurred == :duplication
    if self.valid?
      @nz_co_loyalty_hoodoo_writer_db_uniqueness_violation = true

  return errors_occurred.nil? ? :success : :failure
update_in( context )

Alias of persist_in. Although that can be used for new records or updates, it's nice to have the syntax sugar of an “update in context” method to sit alongside things like persist_in and Hoodoo::ActiveRecord::Creator::ClassMethods::new_in.

Alias for: persist_in