try(), try() again in Rails
April 28, 2011
try() lets you call methods on an object without having to worry about the possibility of that object being
nil and thus raising an exception. I know I sometimes forget about it, and I’ve looked at enough code from other developers to know that I’m not the only one. So today I’d like to give you a brief introduction to the method (and hopefully ingrain it a little deeper into my own brain). Let’s look at some very simple code from a Rails view.
**Disclaimer:** While handy, this technique is not a replacement for good techniques like validations and default database values. Don't get lazy.
Here’s a simple example of code you might replace with
try(). Say you’ve got a (rather contrived)
Product model in your project. A
Product may or may not have a known manufacturer, and some links you only want to display if a user is logged in and has administrator rights:
Like I said, it’s contrived, but it should give you the idea.
try() can help us in a couple of places here:
With arguments and blocks
You can pass arguments and blocks to
You can chain multiple
try() methods together. In another contrived example, say you’ve got a method in your
Manufacturer model that sends the manufacturer a message whenever called.
You can start with the Rails docs on try(). Rails’ inclusion of
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try() was inspired by Chris Wanstrath’s post about adding try() to Ruby. Raymond Law at Intridea has a clever way to chain multiple calls to try(). And Scott Harvey has shared a more practical example of try().