Trivial friendly URL routing for Ruby on Rails 2009-08-28

Back to the times I was programming in PHP (it hasn't been that long but it feels like an eternity has passed), I worked in a company own made CMS. One of my biggest headaches was tuning and reimplementing the friendly URL generator.

Having the need to implement friendly URLs for a little and very specific CMS using Rails I found that it was a trivial matter. So I basically came up with a model acting as a tree (let's call it Page), a route and a class method.

First thing I did was creating a model Page with the fields I needed plus, a slug string field, plus a parent_id integer field. I installed the acts_as_tree plugin and made my model use it.

Then I set up a route:

   map.connect '*slugs', :controller => 'pages', :action => 'show'

Next thing was creating a class method to process the slugs chain:

class Page < ActiveRecord::Base
  def self.locate_by_slugs(slugs, parent_id=nil)
    page = if slugs.size == 1
      Page.find_by_slug_and_parent_id!(slugs.first, parent_id)
      parent_page = Page.find_by_slug!(slugs.shift, :select => 'id')

Lastly, I created the show action on PagesController:

class PagesController < ApplicationController  
  def show
    @page = Page.locate_by_slugs(params[:slugs].dup)

Well, I haven't carried out a revolution, it's nothing fancy, it's been done a million times before, I don't even talk about the slug generation process. This post is just another evidence of how amazing the Ruby on Rails framework is.

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