Friendly 0.5.0: Offline indexing and more

Jan 31, 2010

There've been a few quiet releases of Friendly since I blogged about 0.4. Mostly, they were bug fixes, except for the addition of change tracking which is mostly an internal feature that will support arbitrary caches. You can see all the notable changes in the changelog.

This week, I released 0.5 which includes built-in support for building a new index in the background without interrupting your app. Here's how it works:

First, declare the new index in your model:

class User
  # ...snip...

  indexes :name, :created_at # this wasn't there before

Then, make sure to run Friendly.create_tables! to create the index table in the database. Don't worry, this won't overwrite any of your existing tables.


Now that the the new table has been created, you need to copy the .rake file included with Friendly (lib/tasks/friendly.rake) to somewhere that will get picked up by your main Rakefile (lib/tasks if it's a rails project). Then, run:

KLASS=User FIELDS=name,created_at rake friendly:build_index

If it is a rails project, you'll need to prefix friendly:build_index with a rake task that loads your rails environment. For our app, the full command looks like this:

KLASS=User FIELDS=name,created_at rake environment friendly:build_index

If you're running this in production, you'll probably want to fire up GNU screen so that it'll keep running even if you lose your SSH connection. When the task completes, the index is populated and ready to go.

We've already built a couple of indexes with this code in production and it worked great!

Get It!

As always, install Friendly as a gem:

sudo gem install friendly

If you're not already following the github project, it's a great way to keep up with Friendly's development. Finally, if you feel so inclined, I'd appreciate a recommendation on Working with Rails.