Topic: Database structure confusion

I'm new here, just learning Ruby and Rails.

I'm trying to design a project where a user can fill a big form (about 40 fields) with his data like: Personal data, Academic, Work, Investigations, Participation and some projects, etc.

I don't know what would be the best way to organize database.

I thought about dividing it into small tables for those areas, but not sure how to implement it.

any advice is appreciated. feel free to ask for more details if you need them


Re: Database structure confusion

Should I create models for each of the data type? (Personal data, Academic, Work, Investigations, Participation and some projects, etc.)

Re: Database structure confusion

I'm writing an app right now that also requires a large form (for student applications).

Here is my plan for it and why:

- Basic user information first so that saving and returning later will work; this would have it's own user model used for authentication and authorization around the site
- I have three different roles in mine: student, teacher, and staff. Each role would have it's own model to store extended user info since there is different info required for each (we don't need the transcripts for staff for example).
- The extended user info would be in each role's model. I looked at the fedena source code and this is what they do. (Fedena is a student management system written with rails 2.something, so if you look at it and you're using rails 3.x, some things might be a bit different.) They have basic user info in one model and extended info in a separate model, but that's as far as they split it up.
- I'm using multi-step forms to help with user experience. There's a railscast for that using javascript:

However, my usage may be different than yours. If you are going to have separate views for a user's projects and have different actions and stuff pertaining to those projects, then yes, projects should be a separate model. The same goes for any of the other categories. But if you are just listing the info as it pertains to a single user, it would be fine to keep it in one model I think (I'm not sure about the performance impact of that though).

Last edited by gorrillamcd (2012-03-26 14:08:23)

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Re: Database structure confusion

Thank you for your reply.

It makes sense to me to store all non-repetitive info in one big table (as Fadena does), I think I'm going to go this way too.

And I'm thinking to have separate modules for the information like Investigations and Projects (because there can be more then one per person), not sure if this is the best way to do it.

Thanks for the railscast about multi-step forms, will see if I can use it in the project.