Eric Francis Eric Francis - 4 months ago 30
Ruby Question

Rails, activerecord: self[:attribute] vs self.attribute

When accessing active record column/attributes in rails, what is the difference between using self[:attribute] vs self.attribute? Does this affect getters and setters?


They're both just methods to get to the attribute - they're both just getters. self.attribtue is a more "traditional" getter, whereas self[:attribute] is basically just the [] method. Switching between using either has no ramifications.

I'd recommend using only the self.attribute method because it's syntactically nicer. However, using the self[:attribute] can come in handy when something else overrides the self.attribute method.

For example, suppose you have a User model with a name database column, so you'd get But let's say you install a gem that adds a #name method to each of your models. To avoid the complication, one option is to use user[:name] to access it directly without going through the compromised method.