Newsletter March 2016

Last updated 10 July 2016

Greetings, fellow Trailblazers!

It’s been nearly two months since the last newsletter! My apologies, but I was busy traveling in Europe, seeing family and many friends, and giving some Trailblazer presentations. I am back in Australia now and the Github repositories are smoking, again!

Trailblazer on Facebook

Yes, even though I refuse to use higher technology, I love Facebook! Only just now I created a Facebook page for Trailblazer. We will post upcoming event notifications such as talks and workshops, funny photos, and more entertaining content. Please “like” us!


The main organizer - a man with a vision.

I've had a fantastic time giving a full-day Trailblazer workshop at RubyConf Australia 2016. In a room with 15 highly motivated Rubyists, we managed to implement a shopping cart application. As we all found the cart example a very understandable way to show all the goodies in TRB, I am considering using it for the upcoming Trailblazer Primer book.

The conference itself was amazing and I think everybody really enjoyed the talks, the fantastic Aussie Weather™, the snacks, great food and the afterparties! Much love!

Europe Talks

On my Europe trip in February, I got invited to a handful of Ruby meetups where I had the honour to present Trailblazer. Those talks went really well, and I was very happy about many people showing up. Meetups took place in Cologne, Brussels, Groningen (a beautiful small city in the north of the Netherlands) and Berlin.

A incredibly big Thank You! to the organizers of the meetups, I felt very welcome and always enjoyed the delicious beers afterwards!

Coercion in Reform with Dry-Types

With the deprecation of the Virtus gem, we now use the excellent dry-types gem for coercion in Disposable and Reform. The API has changed slightly, as Dry-types has new type constants.

class AlbumForm < Reform::Form
  feature Coercion

  property :id, type: Types::Form::Int

Simple, isn’t it?

The :type option will instruct Reform to override the #id= setter and coerce the value to integer. = "1" #=> 1

The coercion semantics are explained in the brand-new Disposable API docs.

Thanks to Ralf Schmitz Bongiolo and Piotr Solnica for their fantastic work on that.

Nilify for Reform

A long-awaited feature is the “nilify” coercion. It finally is implemented in Disposable 0.3.0 using Dry-types.

The :nilify option will coerce blank strings into nil, saving you from annoying persistence layer errors when your ORM tries to save blank strings to associations, and so on.

property :id, nilify: true = "" #=> nil

The nilify feature also works in combination with other coercion types!

Compositional Contracts in Trailblazer

With the upcoming Trailblazer 1.2, it is now easily possible to maintain contracts using the Composition feature, and to inject additional options. This either works by overriding Operation#contract! or by using #contract directly in the operation.

class Create < Trailblazer::Operation
  model Song

  contract do
    include Reform::Form::Composition

    property :id,         on: :song
    property :album_name, on: :album

  def process(params)
    contract(song: model, album: model.album)

    validate do
      # ..

The contract method now memoizes its return value (but only if desired) and provides an easy way for more complex contract setup. Note that you can also override #contract!. We’re hoping this will help developers to leverage the compositional features of Disposable/Reform better.

Separate Representers For Operation

So far, when using the Representer feature in an operation, the same representer was used for parsing input and rendering the response document.

This is now separated - you can either include Representer and get the old behavior, or only include either Representer::Rendering to use the representer for serialization, or include Representer::Deserializer to parse incoming data using the representer.

The details are documented in our documentation.

Going further, in Trailblazer 1.2, you will be able to specify an arbitrary number of representers using aliases, the same way we already do it with callback objects.

class Create < Trailblazer::Operation
  include Representer

  representer :parser do
    property :id

  representer :renderer, Renderer::Create

As many users have asked for separation of input and output representers, we decided to ship it in Trailblazer 1.2

Inheritance Fix in Reform/Disposable

An annoying problem that occured with Reform 2.1 was that when inheriting forms, custom accessors were reset and had to be redefined. This is fixed with Disposable 0.2.6. The problem was actually located in the Declarative gem that provides DSL and inheritance mechanics to all TRB gems.

Another related bug was fixed in Reform. When using Form::Module, accessors were overridden, too. You now have to put custom accessors into the InstanceMethods module and everything will work as expected.

module SongForm
  include Reform::Form::Module

  property :title

  module InstanceMethods
    def title=(v)

The complete documentation can be found here. If you’re still experiencing problems (I’m pretty sure everything is fixed, though), let us know!

See you soon!

That is it for March, I am looking forward to see you soon with exciting news about the growing Trailblazer ecosystem. Cheers!