Working with databases using ActiveRecord

ActiveRecord is an object-relational mapping (ORM) library that simplifies the process of working with databases in Ruby applications. It provides an abstraction layer that allows developers to interact with databases using Ruby objects and methods, instead of writing raw SQL queries. In this article, we will explore how to use ActiveRecord with Redis, a popular in-memory database.

Setup and Configuration

Before we can start using ActiveRecord with Redis, we need to ensure that we have the necessary tools and libraries installed. First, make sure you have Ruby installed on your system. You can check this by running the following command in your terminal:

ruby -v

Next, we need to install the ActiveRecord gem. Open your terminal and run the following command:

gem install activerecord

Once the gem is installed, we can proceed to set up our ActiveRecord configuration. In your Ruby application, create a file called database.yml in the root directory. This file will contain the configuration details for connecting to your Redis database. Here's an example configuration:

  adapter: redis
  host: localhost
  port: 6379
  database: 0

In this example, we configure the development environment to connect to a Redis server running on localhost with the default port 6379 and using database 0. Feel free to modify these settings according to your Redis server configuration.

Creating Models

Now that we have our database configuration set up, we can start creating models to represent our data. In ActiveRecord, models are Ruby classes that inherit from the ActiveRecord::Base class. Let's create a simple User model:

class User < ActiveRecord::Base

By convention, ActiveRecord assumes that the corresponding Redis key for each record is composed of the model name followed by the record's ID. For our User model, the Redis keys will be users:1, users:2, and so on.

CRUD operations

ActiveRecord provides a set of methods that allow us to perform CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete) operations on our Redis database.


To create a new user record, we can call the new method on our model class and then save it:

user = 'John Doe', email: '')

This will create a new user record in the Redis database with the provided attributes.


To retrieve user records from the database, we can use various query methods provided by ActiveRecord. For example, to retrieve all users:

users = User.all

This will return an array containing all user records in the Redis database.

To find a specific user by their ID, we can use the find method:

user = User.find(1)

This will return the user record with ID 1, or raise an exception if it doesn't exist.


To update an existing user record, we can retrieve it from the database and modify its attributes:

user = User.find(1) = 'Jane Doe'

This will update the user's name in the Redis database with the new value.


To delete a user record, we can call the destroy method on the retrieved record:

user = User.find(1)

This will remove the user record with ID 1 from the Redis database.


ActiveRecord provides a powerful and intuitive way to work with databases using Ruby. With its support for Redis, we can harness the speed and simplicity of an in-memory database while leveraging the familiar ActiveRecord interface. By following the steps outlined in this article, you should now be well-equipped to start working with Redis and ActiveRecord for your database needs. Happy coding!

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