Update: If you’re running Rails 2.2 or 2.3, see the newer version of Savage Beast.
I’ve been working the last couple days on creating a new version of the original Savage Beast plugin that is Rails 2.0 compliant and integrates the changes to the Beast source code that have been added over the last year. The result has been an interesting trek through the ins and outs of Rails plugin writing, that has given birth to a new version of the Savage Beast plugin, re-ported from scratch from the Beast trunk.
Currently, the following is necessary to use the Savage Beast plugin:
- The Savage Beast 2.0 plugin. Go to your application root directory and:
- Most of the stuff you need to run Beast
gem install Redcloth
- A bunch of plugins (white_list, white_list_formatted_content, acts_as_list, gibberish, will_paginate, engines). The easiest way to install these en masse is just to copy the contents of savage_beast/tested_plugins to your standard Rails plugin directory (/vendor/plugins). If you already have versions of these plugins, you can just choose not to overwrite those versions
- For the engines plugin to work, add this line to the top of your environment.rb, right after the require of boot:
require File.join(File.dirname(__FILE__), '../vendor/plugins/engines/boot')
- Copy the migration in /vendor/plugins/savage_beast/db/migrate into your own migration directory (and run it)
- Implement in your User model the four methods in plugins/savage_beast/lib/savage_beast/user_init that are marked as
"#implement in your user model“
- Add the line “
map.from_plugin :savage_beast” to your routes.rb. Location shouldn’t matter unless you intend to override it.
- Add the line “
include SavageBeast::UserInit” to your User model. Location shouldn’t matter unless you intend to override it.
- Implement versions of the methods in SavageBeast::AuthenticationSystem (located in /plugins/savage_beast/lib) in your application controller if they aren’t already there (note: technically, I believe only “login_required” and “current_user” are necessary, the others give you more functionality). Helpful commenter Adam says that if you have the “helper :all” line in your application controller, be sure to add the “SavageBeast::AuthenticationSystem” line after that.
And off you go! When you visit your_site/forums something should happen. I’ve been creating new forums by visiting /forums/new. There’s probably a hidden admin view somewhere.
I’d like to remove some of these steps during the plugin install process with subsequent releases (is it possible to install a dependent plugin during your plugin install process?), but given that this is my first plugin project (and not a small one at that), I’m just trying to “get it done” before I “get it done beautifully.” I think DHH said somewhere that I should do that.
Implementing Your Own Views and Controllers
The engines plugin makes it eminently easy to mix in your own stuff as you see fit. Just create a new file in your /controllers or /views directories with the same name as the file you want to override in Savage Beast. If you just want to override a particular method in a controller, you can do that piecemeal if you just leave your XController empty except for the method you wanted to override.
If you’re integrating this into an existing site, I’d recommend you start by creating a forums layout page (/app/views/layouts/forums.html.erb). This will give you a taste of how easy it is to selectively override files from the plugin.
You can check out a (slightly-but-not-too-modified) version of Savage Beast online at Bonanzle. The differences between our version and the version checked into Subversion are 1) addition of topic tagging (users can tag topics to get them removed, etc) 2) recent post list shows posts in unique topics, rather than showing posts from the same topic repeatedly (there’s another blog on here about the SQL I used to do that) and 3) skinning. None of those changes feel intrinsic to what SB is “supposed to do,” which is why they aren’t checked in.
Differences from Savage Beast 1.0
The main difference is that this incorporates about a year’s worth of progress to the Beast source, and it actually takes that code a step further by being Rails 2.0.x compliant.
One thing Jodi seemed pretty excited about in the first Savage Beast was the ability to create forums off of models. Bonanzle doesn’t need that functionality, so I haven’t tested it, but I imagine it will probably work if you follow the steps that did it in the first Savage Beast.
Would be nice to have some help writing tests. Would also be great to figure out how to install this through the standard “ruby script/plugin install”.
There are a couple means by which you can use this plugin without using the Engines plugin. I originally had intended to do this, suspecting that Engines would be a performance detriment. Turns out it’s not. But maybe you want to roll without Engines for some other reason.
The most dumb-easy way to get by without Engines would just be to copy the views, helpers, controllers, and models into your own project. Yes, it means having a lot more of all the above in your project, but it’s no worse than if you were coding the plugin from scratch yourself (actually, I’d argue it’s a lot better, since you didn’t have to do the work yourself ).
Another way is to uncomment the code at the bottom of Savage Beast’s init.rb. Before I knew about the Engines plugin I created the code in there that simulates Engines without having Engines installed. The caveat is that you won’t get Engines’ ability to selectively override particular methods/views, and you need to copy all your helpers into the SB/lib directory, where they become global (yuck). If anyone out there has cycles to hone this Engines’-less approach, please email me and we can talk about getting those changes into the project.
Comments are most welcome. I’ll be checking in changes to the project as I find bugs and improvements in using it, but this is admittedly something I don’t have a lot of spare time to closely follow (see my other entries on the wonders of entrepreneurship). Hopefully others can contribute patches as they find time. If you like the plugin, feel free to stop by Agile Development and give it a rating so that others can find it in the future.