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Managing Vacation Homes with Rails

LeahESc
Software Engineering student at the Flatiron School
Updated on ・3 min read

Vacation-Home

It's December 2020 and Los Angeles has just been issued our second 'Stay At Home' order. So when I was tasked with building a Rails-based web application for Flatiron School's third module project, I knew immediately that I wanted to create something that would allow me to fantasize about once again getting out of the house. After months of quarantining and dreaming about one day vacationing again, I decided to create a web application for users to be able to manage their vacation homes.

The project had a number of specific requirements. The first of which was that I had to have at least two has_many, through: relationships. I decided to initially create three models for my project. I knew that I would have a user model and that each user would has_many :properties and has_many :locations, through: :properties. That in turn would make my Location model has_many :properties and has_many :users, through: :properties. These relationships made my Property model serve as my joins table, uniting my User and Location models. I knew my property would have user-submittable attributes for bedrooms and bathrooms, but what fun is a vacation property if it doesn't have amenities?! Enter my Amenity model.

Hot-tub

Naturally, a vacation property has_many :amenities but an amenity also has_many :properties. I couldn't just have an Amenity model. I needed another joins table to connect my properties and amenities. My new PropertyAmenity model and respective data table would serve as a more standard joins table, just working to connect those two models.

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The other major requirement for this project was to have the capability to have 3rd authentication either through Github, Twitter, Facebook, or Google. I decided to include options for both Github and Google. Thanks to the smarts of my fellow classmate, CJ, I was able to use both platforms to authenticate users in my application. Once I had these first steps set up I started to add functionality to my site.

My main form to create a new property needed to be set up with nested form capability so that a user could create a new location for a property as well as a new amenity if they have one that isn't already listed. To do this, I had to set up my Property model to accept nested attributes for both a location and an amenity.

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I included validations to ensure that the names for both a location and amenity could not be blank and then set up my property_params to permit the nested attributes for each. In addition to permitting these nested attributes, I also had to permit amenities_ids:[] if a user were to select amenities that had already been created and location_id if a user were to select a location that already exists.

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Once I had my basic CRUD functionality set up for a user's properties, I wanted to add the ability for someone to add images. I had no idea where to begin but was lucky enough to stumble upon a very helpful Medium article by Ana Harris that walks through a step-by-step guide to adding upload image functionality using Active Storage. I installed active record storage in my terminal and that immediately generate two tables in my database:

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Once that was set up, I simply had to add has_one_attached :avatar to my Property model and set up my property_params to also permit :avatar (which is what I decided to call my image). I added a simple line of code to my view to be able to disply the image if it was uploaded:

<% if p.avatar.attached? %>
<img src="<%= (url_for(p.avatar)) %>" class="card-img-top" alt="...">
<% end %>

Ta-da! Now a user can admire their gorgeous vacation properties in all their visual glory!

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Thanks for reading! You can watch a full run-through demo of my app here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6jWvsM1jN0

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