[Rake-devel] redefine rake task broken in 0.8.x for a rails app

Jim Weirich jim.weirich at gmail.com
Thu Jan 3 17:26:02 EST 2008

On Jan 3, 2008, at 2:55 PM, James Adam wrote:

>> Since redefine/clear_task functionally is something several people  
>> have asked for, I'm
>> thinking about adding something like that to rake directly. So I'm  
>> trying to understand
>> what people need out of this feature.
>> Are you trying to ...
>> (1) Clear existing prerequisites and actions and introduce new  
>> ones, or
>> (2) Completely delete the existing task and replace it with a  
>> different task (of a possibly
>> different task type)?
>> If you have use cases for this, I would like to hear them.
> I think the engines plugin is looking for option (2), where it's the
> "body" of the rake task that needs to change, rather than any of the
> prerequisites.

Actually, that counts as clearing/replacing one of the actions, which  
falls under option (1).

Option (2) is more like you have:

     task "xyz"

and you want to replace it with:

    file "xyz"

Which seems a bizzare thing to do, but I want to ask the question.

> In my specific case, it's really only to add a single
> line of code to one of the pre-existing rake tasks (as John Dell
> described earlier).
> I can see pluses for enabling both (1) and (2) though - certainly in
> some cases it'd be good to "mock out" the prerequisites of a rake task
> to test only a single stage. For example:
> task :process_data => :generate_data do
>   # do the processing
> end
> If the ":generate_data" task takes a long time and/or depends on other
> inputs, it may be useful to "stub" the :generate_data task to simply
> copy in some fixture data to where :process_data expects it. Then
> again, perhaps such "mocking" would be done via re-implementation
> (i.e. option (2)) anyway?

I'm thinking of something along the lines of:

    task :generate_data do
      # copy predefined fixtures

The problem I have with the whole "clear out the task" idea is that  
it doesn't play well with multiple plugins.  Suppose you have the  

    # In the original .rake file:
    task :generate_data do
      # Really Generate the data

    # In plugin number 1, you want to also generate some additional  
    task :generate_data do
      # generate some additional data

    # Now, in plugin number 2, you want to overwrite the original action
    task :generate_data do
      # Copy fixtures

The second plugin not only overwrites the original generate data  
actions as intended, but also any actions added by the first plugin  
(which is probably not intended).

The same issue can happen with prequisites too, where multiple  
plugins clear and and redefine them.  That's one reason I've resisted  
the idea of clearing tasks.  It might solve YOUR issues, but it will  
cause headaches for those using your plugins with other plugins.

Maybe we need pointcuts and AOP for Rake tasks (now my head is  

-- Jim Weirich
-- jim.weirich at gmail.com

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