rails before action method

I did not know you could give a before_action a block argument. This is a benefit because you do not have to create a ruby method and pass the method into the before_action.

This got me thinking, what does before_action look like in Rails? The following is the source code from Rails 4.2.7, from AbstractController::Callbacks::ClassMethods.

# :method: before_action
# :call-seq: before_action(names, block)
# Append a callback before actions. See _insert_callbacks for parameter details.

# Take callback names and an optional callback proc, normalize them,
# then call the block with each callback. This allows us to abstract
# the normalization across several methods that use it.
# ==== Parameters
# * <tt>callbacks</tt> - An array of callbacks, with an optional
#   options hash as the last parameter.
# * <tt>block</tt>    - A proc that should be added to the callbacks.
# ==== Block Parameters
# * <tt>name</tt>     - The callback to be added
# * <tt>options</tt>  - A hash of options to be used when adding the callback

def _insert_callbacks(callbacks, block = nil)
  options = callbacks.extract_options!
  callbacks.push(block) if block
  callbacks.each do |callback|
    yield callback, options

[:before, :after, :around].each do |callback|
  define_method "#{callback}_action" do |*names, &blk|
    _insert_callbacks(names, blk) do |name, options|
      set_callback(:process_action, callback, name, options)

And I can do cool things like:

before_action -> {
  @foo = Model.find params[:bar]

I would like to point out the set_callback method.

before_action :authenticate

# can also be called like this
set_callback :process_action, :before, :authenticate
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