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Let's explore before? and after? methods in Rails.

Let's explore before? and after? methods in Rails.

It's a 6 minute read

If you have been using Ruby, or any other language for some time. You’ve clearly used > and < or as we know them “greater than” and “less than”. Rails has recently added the more human readable before? and after? methods to date/time .

So previously we would compare two date/time objects using the > and < operators.

Time.utc(2020, 4, 4, 00, 00, 00) < Time.utc(2019, 4, 4, 00, 00, 00)
# => false

Date.tomorrow > Date.today
# => true

While we are used to this code by now, it’s not so easy to read. We would read it as Date.tomorrow is “greater than” Date.today.

So how can the before? and after? methods make this much better?

Normally, when we compare dates in English, we would say:-

“The due date for the project is before the end of month”. or “All submissions after the end date will be ignored.”

So to match these, we now have the before? and after? comparison methods.

By utilising the new methods we can compare date and time values like so

due_date = 30.days.from_now
due_date.before?(Date.today)
# => false

due_date.after?(Date.today)
# => true

These new comparison methods help make our code much more readable, and would read like “Is due date before today or after today?”

We will start to explore more recent features of Rails in upcoming notes. Thanks for reading.

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