Posted over 6 years ago. Visible to the public. Repeats.

Your database tables should always have timestamps

Whenever you create a table from a database migration, remember to add updated_at and created_at timestamps to that table. Without those timestamps, investigating future bug reports will be hell. Always have timestamps.

Adding timestamps to new tables

When you create a table using create_table, you can add timestamps by using the timestamps shortcut:

class CreateEpisode < ActiveRecord::Migration def change create_table :episodes do |t| t.string :name t.timestamps end end end

ActiveRecord will automagically set those timestamps when you create or update a record.

Adding timestamps to existing tables

If you forgot to add timestamps in the past, take a look at your db/schema.rb and add timetamps for any table that is missing them. You can use the add_timestamps macros for that.

Rails >= 4.2

Since Rails 4.2 add_timestamps also adds a NOT NULL constraint by default. So you will see an error like "ERROR: column "created_at" contains null values" when you don't take care of it. Here are two approaches on how to handle this:

(a) Don't have a NOT NULL constraint:

class AddMissingTimestamps < ActiveRecord::Migration def change add_timestamps :shows, null: true add_timestamps :tags, null: true add_timestamps :users, null: true end end

(b) Fill the datetimes with an old time (to mark it as being backfilled):

class AddMissingTimestamps < ActiveRecord::Migration def change # Add timestamps column, but without a NOT NULL constraint add_timestamps :shows, null: true # Backfill missing data with a really old date time ='2000-01-01 00:00:00') update "UPDATE shows SET created_at = '#{time}'" update "UPDATE shows SET updated_at = '#{time}'" # Restore NOT NULL constraints to be in line with the Rails default change_column_null :shows, :created_at, false change_column_null :shows, :updated_at, false # ... end end

Rails < 4.2

class AddMissingTimestamps < ActiveRecord::Migration def change add_timestamps :shows add_timestamps :tags add_timestamps :users end end


Always have timestamps.

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Owner of this card:

Henning Koch
Last edit:
almost 3 years ago
by Henning Koch
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Posted by Henning Koch to makandra dev
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