Hystorical is a simple solution for managing historical datasets. Hystorical takes care of determining which objects are currently active or active on a particular day. It makes the following assumptions:

  • Objects in the collection have start_date and end_date attributes
  • start_date and end_date return a ruby Date object
  • Typically members of the collection will be objects or hashes, but anything that implements start_date and end_date via [] or . can be used.
  • Current objects have a nil end_date


Add this line to your application's Gemfile:

gem 'hystorical'

And then execute:

$ bundle

Or install it yourself as:

$ gem install hystorical



Hystorical returns the current objects which is determined as objects with a end_date that returns nil

# => returns enumerable collection of objects


Hystorical allows you to find which objects were current at a particular point in time.

date = Date.new(2012, 01, 10)
Hystorical.current_on(@subscriptions, date)
# => returns enumerable collection of objects that were current on January 10th


Pure Ruby

Subscription = Struct.new(:start_date, :end_date)
subscription1 = Subscription.new(Date.new(2012, 9, 1), Date.new(2012, 9, 10))
subscription2 = Subscription.new(Date.new(2012, 9, 11), nil)
subscriptions = [subscription1, subscription2]

# => returns [subscription2]

date = Date.new(2012, 09, 8)
Hystorical.current_on(subscriptions, date)
# => returns [subscription1]

Using Rails

Hystorical accepts ActiveRecord::Relation collections. This means that all your scopes integrate fully with Hystorical. In order to be optimized for larger datasets, Hystorical takes advantage of ActiveRecord::Relation methods to build a SQL query instead of using Enumerable methods when pass an instance of ActiveRecordRelation.

In a model

class Subscription < ActiveRecord::Base
  attr_accessible :user_id, :start_date, :end_date

  def self.for_user(user_id)
    where user_id: user_id

  def self.user_subscription_count_on(user_id, date)
    subscriptions = Subscription.for_user(user_id)
    Hystorical.current(subscriptions, date).count

  def archive
    update_attributes { end_date: Date.today }


In a controller

def index
  @users_current_subscriptions = Hystorical.current Subscription.for_user(params[:user_id])


Hystorical comes with a generator that creates a migration to add start_date and end_date to the specified model.

$ rails g hystorical:dates Subscription
$    create  db/migrate/20120917150948_add_start_date_end_date_to_subscriptions.rb


You can filter a dataset by passing in a block. This works similarly to Enumerable's select method.

Hystorical.current subscriptions { |subscription| subscription.type == :gold }


This gem was created using TDD and README-driven development. The architecture was designed with a strong focus on modularity and extensibility. Using ruby's Enumerable methods to return current object was chosen because of it's great flexibility to adapt to all ruby projects. However, when working with large datasets stored in a relational database, using SQL would yield greater performance. An adapter was added for ActiveRecord, but extending this to another ORM (such as DataMapper or Mongoid) is as simple as creating a new class that defines all the methods in the public api and adding a conditional in Hystorical.delegate_class.


  1. Fork it
  2. Create your feature branch (git checkout -b my-new-feature)
  3. Commit your changes (git commit -am 'Added some feature')
  4. Push to the branch (git push origin my-new-feature)
  5. Create new Pull Request