Rails first_or_create vs find_or_create_by on ActiveRecord
Rails ActiveRecord provides methods like first_or_create, find_or_create_by methods to insert data based on certain conditions or create new records. We need to understand difference between first_or_create and find_or_create_by to use them as per need.
First things first,
first_or_create is not available in Public API anymore.
Find or Build a New Object
on Rails documentation does not enlist method(s)
first_or_create! methods anymore.
They were listed in documentation
Since, it was available in public documentation previously
people started using it in their repositories,
it has created some confusion with
newly available methods such as
to perform similar functionality.
Listing down some code using
What do you expect to happen if the code is run?
- Return first record or create a user with
Well, the first part of the sentence above,
Return first record
This means, it will return any first record from the table
It does not use the conditions passed to query and find the record to return if exists.
This causes confusion as we pass arguments to
first_or_create which are
Ruby on Rails and
we may end up assuming that
first_or_create will find a record
that satisfies this condition
it will create a new record with given conditions.
That’s why, Rails has added
make available in public API.
So, when first_or_create is useful?
We can use
if we just want to make sure some record exists in the target table.
We can also use
first_or_create coupled with
where clause to
get the desired result as given below.
Now, this will first search for a
Project with given conditions in where clause,
if the record exists, it will be returned.
Otherwise, it will create record with those conditions.
Find or create by method on ActiveRecord relation makes it explicitely clear that,
- it will find records with given where conditions, return record it exists
- otherwise it will create a new record with given conditions
This is exactly same as the query with
first_or_create along with where
clause explained above.
It is important to understand subtle differences between methods
find_or_create_by methods on ActiveRecord in Rails
effectively use them as per the need.
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