Finding The Group-wise Maximum in Rails3 / Arel
cross posted at Isotope11’s blog
Recently at work we ran across a situation where we needed an efficient way
to find the Group-wise maximum of a certain column
in an efficient manner. After fighting with and realizing that there is apparently no way to make MySQL
combine an ORDER BY statement with a GROUP BY statement, we were able to get the results with two queries,
but due to the volume of data, this would eventually have too much overhead to be sustainable.
Once I determined that using a left join on itself would be the way to go at the problem, I set out to figure out the solution using the new Arel syntax.
This example uses two models, ParentThing and ChildThing, with ChildThing being a basic key-value store. ChildThings can have duplicate rows with the same key, and we were looking to return only the newest results for each distinct key found in the ParentThing’s ChildThings.
class ParentThing < ActiveRecord::Base has_many :child_things end class ChildThing < ActiveRecord::Base belongs_to :parent_thing end
The solution was to add a single named scope to the ChildThing class:
class ChildThing < ActiveRecord::Base belongs_to :parent_thing scope :newest_results, joins('LEFT JOIN child_things c2 ON child_things.key = c2.key AND child_things.created_at > c2.created_at'), where('c2.key is NULL') end
So, now if p is an instance of ParentThing:
will return a collection that contains the newest created ChildThing for each disparate key in the ParentThing’s ChildThing full collection.