Friday, September 12, 2008

Rails and the plugin trap

I'm a big fan of Ruby on Rails (RoR). I've started doing some concrete projects with RoR a few months back and its been really a joy (well, almost all of the time).

With my current project I am trying to setup an access control list (ACL) security environment. First thing to do: check the plugins available. True enough, there were a few already out there that covered the security aspects. Sadly, half seem to be on Rails 2.0 (I'm still on 1.2.6), a few do not have the object-instance permissions that I was looking for and the reminder was impossible to actually run. So I wasted (?) quite a few hours just trying to find out about each one of them and then trying to put it in action. After much frustration I asked myself whether I really need an elaborate functionality that is allegedly offered by the plugins (both 1.2.6 and 2.0) or I can do away with something simpler. As always, I could go with a lot less. So I figured to scale down my hopes on this bit for now and just try implementing a simpler security scheme inside the application itself.

What really frustrated me was the fact that I'd spend sometime trying to learn about the plugin only to somehow catch the fact that you need RoR 2.0 for it (honestly, it really ought to be more visible). The other one is when you actually get the thing up, create the tables, etc and then find your unit tests (that are pretty much a copy from the readme file of the plugin) not working and spitting-out some really weird problems.... eventually I got tired of it and gave up...

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