At Fractured Atlas, we are trying to move away from the additional complexity of using callbacks. For example, let’s say we need to do something in a before_save callback such as lowercase a user’s email.
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How is this code implemented without using before_save? One method would be overriding the setter accessor.
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Now, when the email attribute is updated, my email setter method is called.
Currently, both implementations for downcasing an email are straightforward. However, as the application grows, the before_save callback is more difficult to test and maintain. The before_save is implicit and might have unexpected side effects. Here is a basic spec.
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Instead, let’s test the behavior of what we expect.
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The first spec is directly testing the callback, whereas the latter spec is testing the behavior of the expected outcome. The latter spec is easier to reason about and change. This is an easy example, but as callbacks grow changing their behavior becomes more difficult. This is especially true if the callbacks are coupled with other models.