Intro to Data Modelling

When I was working for the Information and Data Management practice at SMS Management & Technology a few years back, I was asked to run a workshop for the Business Analysis Focus Group on data modelling. I put together an introductory presentation on data modelling targeted towards business analysts, which was a refresher on terminology and approaches. At the end of the presentation, I paired up everyone in the audience for two data modelling exercises: one person would act as a client while the other would act as a data analyst, eliciting data requirements and identifying a conceptual/logical data model. There were two scenarios so each person had an opportunity at the data analyst role, and both scenarios were based on real world projects I had previously worked on.

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Using Rails’ descendants in development

Rails provides a nice method descendants that returns all subclasses for a specified class. However, config.cache_classes = false is a default setting in development.rb (for the ability to reload classes on the fly) and as this tells Rails not to load classes until they are referenced, then calling descendants will generally return an empty array not the expected subclasses.

To be able to use descendants in development, you can add the following code to development.rb:

config.eager_load_paths += Dir['path/to/files/*.rb']
ActionDispatch::Reloader.to_prepare do
  Dir['path/to/files/*.rb'].each {|file| require_dependency file}

The first line tells Rails to load these particular files when Rails first starts up. The rest of the code tells Rails to require these particular files (including any new files/classes) on each request.

Note: if your path/to/files isn’t one of the standard directories that Rails watches (to trigger the reloader), you will need to add it to config.watchable_dirs:

config.watchable_dirs['path/to/files/'] = [:rb]