ActiveRecord::Base.create_or_update on Steroids

I’ve been working a lot with seed data in my applications lately, and it’s obviously a problem that can be pretty aggravating to deal with. I ultimately liked the db-populate approach the best with the addition of the ActiveRecord::Base.create_or_update method. My one problem with it is that it’s based entirely on fixed ids for the fixtures, which is a pain to deal with when loading up your attributes from arrays. Here’s an example of what I was doing:

I really don’t like having to put the i in there to increment up. Not only is it messier code, but it would be dangerous if I wanted to move around the roles. I also don’t want to have to have an id explicitly in each entry since I really don’t care what the id is. So I thought I would hack up a better solution for this create_or_update scenario and this is what I came up with:

Basically, this allows me to call create_or_update with an arbitrary attribute as my “finder” by calling Model.create_or_update_by(:field, ...). To give it a little taste of syntactic sugar, I threw in a method missing to allow you to name a field in the method call itself. So now the code I wrote before can become this:

This is much cleaner and prettier to look at, and also makes sure that it is keying off of the value that I really care about. This new create_or_update combined with db-populate creates the most powerful seed data solution I’ve yet come across.