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#713 ✓committed
Matt Darby

New Inflectors: Actionize and Parameterize

Reported by Matt Darby | July 27th, 2008 @ 03:39 PM | in 2.x

I've attached a patch that introduces two new Inflectors: Actionize and Parameterize. Each method is tested and documented.


Transforms a string in titleize() form to a string suitable for a action name

  "Expense Report".actionize         # => "expense_report"
  "My Totally Cool Action".actionize # => "my_totally_cool_action"
  @reports = ['Expense Report', 'Employee Hours']
  @reports.each do |report_name|
    link_to(report_name, "/reports/#{report_name.actionize}")
  # => "<a href = '/reports/expense_report'>Expense Report</a>
        <a href = '/reports/employee_hours'>Employee Hours</a>"


Replaces special characters in a string so that it may be used as part of a 'pretty' URL.

==== Examples

  class Person
    def to_param

  @person = Person.find(1)
  # => #<Person id: 1, name: "Donald E. Knuth">

  <%= link_to(, person_path %>
  # => <a href="/person/1-Donald_E_Knuth">Login</a>

Comments and changes to this ticket

  • James

    James July 27th, 2008 @ 06:03 PM

    #actionize seems useful, if only to have a more readable method for using existing functionality.

    i guess i could say the same about #parameterize, except that its function is to make a string url-safe, in a very generic way, and there are already methods (with appropriate naming, this time) which do that, right?


    is the same thing, I take it?

  • Matt Darby

    Matt Darby July 27th, 2008 @ 06:46 PM

    #underscore and #parameterize differ in how they handle spaces and special characters.

    >> "Donald E. Knuth".underscore
    => "donald e. knuth"
    >> "Donald E. Knuth".parameterize
    => "Donald_E_Knuth"

    It seems that #underscore expects a camelcased string, not a more human-readable one.

    #actionize is like #tableize, but it replaces spaces with underscores (by default), and doesn't pluralize the output.

    >> "Expense Report".tableize
    => "expense reports"
    >> "Expense Report".actionize
    => "expense_report"
  • James
  • James

    James July 27th, 2008 @ 06:49 PM

    i guess it looks like the functionality doesn't exist, esp not under the proper naming per its usage. also, it seems genuinely useful.

  • Clemens Kofler

    Clemens Kofler July 28th, 2008 @ 06:46 AM

    • Tag changed from patch to activesupport, inflector, patch

    actionize seems like a reasonable additional, although I haven't ever needed any funtionality similar to this.

    parameterize is a case by itself. There's lots of plugins out there that provide functionality to create URL friendly permalinks such as Rick's permalink_fu. If you have something like the parameterize functionality, you most definitely also have a permalink column in your model which defies the purpose of the method.

    Another thing to consider is that it doesn't play well with Rails' recent i18n efforts. In non-English speaking countries, it's likely that people's, places' etc. names include non-standard letters.

    Take Tarmo Tänav (sorry for using your name here ;-)) for example. With your Regexp, if we parameterized Tarmo, this would be something like 1-Tarmo_T_nav - which is almost certainly not what you'd want (and definitely not what Tarmo would want).

    To give you an idea what a German version of parameterize would look like, I've uploaded my current permalink creation method. Find it here. Oh, and by the way: When I wrote this code I was pretty new to Ruby and didn't know that Arrays are valid Hash keys - that's why it was inverted! ;-)

  • Claudio Poli

    Claudio Poli July 28th, 2008 @ 09:55 AM

    I usually use

    t ="ASCII//TRANSLIT", "utf-8").iconv(text)

    t = t.downcase.strip.gsub(/[^-_\s[:alnum:]]/, '').squeeze(' ').tr(' ', '-')

    (t.blank?) ? '-' : t

    for permalinks, can be optimized though.

  • Matt Darby

    Matt Darby July 28th, 2008 @ 12:53 PM


    Actually, I don't use permalinks in this application. I simply override #to_param to make the link a little more helpful to the end user and for cheap SEO.

    You make a good point about #parameterize's anglo-centric-ness. I'm going to look at what kain posted and see if that will fill in the gaps.

    As for #actionize; it's really nice for DRYing up cases such as the 'report' example I listed earlier. At any rate it seems as though it would be a natural add to Inflector as the functionality doesn't exist.

  • Damian Janowski

    Damian Janowski August 4th, 2008 @ 09:28 PM

    Iconv behaves differently in different platforms. Ping Xavier Noria and he'll explain.

  • DHH

    DHH September 10th, 2008 @ 06:29 AM

    • State changed from “new” to “committed”

    I like parameterize and have used that in quite a few cases. I don't think the anglo approach is that big of a deal, especially not since it's usually a good idea to keep those parts of the URL ascii anyway. I've changed a few defaults, though.

    I don't really see the general use of actionize, though. That seems pretty specific to your app.

  • Damian Janowski

    Damian Janowski September 10th, 2008 @ 01:24 PM

    @DHH: The point of using Iconv is not to have UTF8 URLs, but rather to "translate" special characters to their ASCII "equivalents" where possible.

    With the original patch:

    => "malm"

    With Iconv:

    => "malmo"

    I think this is very basic and should be provided out of the box. Or, at least, provide a L18N-aware extension point.

  • Karel Minařík

    Karel Minařík September 10th, 2008 @ 04:35 PM

    I second Damian. Discovered this only afterwrds in Github commits feed.

    I think the "dumb" transliteration like Malmö => "malm-" really is not a practice to be encouraged by Rails. (See dropping of letters on just about any Rails-based website, be it WWR, Slideshare, etc.)

    I have commented on the commit page

    In Czech context (accented latin characters) we mainly use this solution from Adam Ciganek :

    string.chars.normalize(:kd).to_s.gsub(/[^\x00-\x7F]/, '')

    Although the Iconv way is much more robust.

  • Jeff Kreeftmeijer

    Jeff Kreeftmeijer October 12th, 2010 @ 09:03 AM

    • Tag cleared.
    • Importance changed from “” to “Low”

    Automatic cleanup of spam.

  • Aditya Sanghi

    Aditya Sanghi October 12th, 2010 @ 10:13 AM

    Automatic cleanup of spam.

  • Jeff Kreeftmeijer

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