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Ruby on Rails: custom fields on a per-user basis

on in Development, Ruby

I’m now developing a flexible car database for a couple of hours per week. Our first customer, a Beemer dealer, has a lot of fancy requests. Well, the hired-in Flash developer has these requests actually.

One of them is that they want to save a field in the database that contains a unique identification number for the secondhand cars they sell. But this number is set-up in a way that is unique to BMW’s. So actually, I didn’t want to add this column to the database, ‘cause that will mess up my clean database tables.

But then I came up with the idea to add functionality to the website where users (dealers in this case) can add custom columns to their cars / profiles.

Instead of creating this functionality from scratch, I first wanted to know if there are any plugins that have this functionality already. I found these three:

  1. actsasfree_form

  2. has-magic-columns

  3. actsascustomizable

I haven’t decided (yet) which is best.

And if you want to roll your own, here’s a nice article about choosing the best structure for dynamic fields.

I realize that the story above is written in truly horrible English. But I really didn’t have the energy to make something nice of it…