Helpful Helpers

Nov 30, 2008

Here is a list of helper methods that we use a lot at Plexus to make our jobs easier. A few have been referenced in previous posts, but I thought I'd list them all here in one place.

Strip text for pretty URLs

You can use this method to replace all non-alphanumeric characters to dashes in a title or name when you're including them in the URL.

This is the route I use for my posts on this blog:

m.post_details ':year/:month/:day/:title', :action => "by_date",
  :requirements => { :year => /(19|20)\d\d/, :month => /[01]?\d/, :day => /[0-3]?\d/},
  :day => nil, :month => nil, :title => nil

And here is the helper to strip out characters in the title when creating the URL:

# Replace all non-alphanumeric characters with dashes
def strip_chars(string='')
  string.gsub(/\s+/,'-').gsub(/[^a-z0-9\-]+/i, '')

You can call the helper when you generate the route.

post_details_path(:year => @post.date.year, :month => @post.date.month, :day => @post.date.day, :title => strip_chars(@post.title))

Generate a random password of n length

I've actually got a whole other post for just this helper, but decided to include it in this list.

def generate_password(length=6)
  chars = 'abcdefghjkmnpqrstuvwxyzABCDEFGHJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ23456789'
  password = ''
  length.times { |i| password << chars[rand(chars.length)] }

It will generate a 6 digit password by default, but you can specify the desired length.

=> "Q6Kfze"

=> "ZSJcmtRH5q"

Built-in rails helpers

These following helpers are built into rails, but you may not know about them.


["this", "that", "the other"].to_sentence
=> "this, that, and the other"

number helpers

=> "$123,456,789.00"

=> "117.7 MB"

number_to_phone(1234567890, :area_code => true)
=> "(123) 456-7890"

There are a ton of string inflector helpers

=> "under-scored"

=> "Names and titles"

"lower case title".titleize
=> "Lower Case Title"

Tagged: railsrubyhelpers