Using “type” in Ruby on Rails

By default Rails applies special meaning to certain fields in a database table. One of these fields is “type”. The type fields is used by Rails to create a “single table inheritance model”. This sounds fairly complicated and is best explained with an example: Imagine a forum system. A forum will have threads and replies. Threads and replies are different and have different functionality, but certainly share a lot of characteristics. So you might create a class message with two sub classes: replies and threads. In Rails you can store all these in one messages table with a type field set to either reply” or thread. When you load a message it will actually create either a reply or thread object (in stead of a message object). When you create a new object it stores it in the messages table with the correct type. This is ideal for Galaxia. In fact it’s the model I used all along - I just had to write the functionality myself. Single Table Inheritance, OOP, MVC, Ruby, Rails