Ephemeral brings ORM-like functionality to non-persisted objects. The anticipated use case is for an application that consumes an API and materializes one or more collections of objects from a JSON response or XML response. Another frequent use involves providing relations and scopes to POROs (plain old Ruby objects).

Example the First

Let's say that we have an API server that stores information about the inventions of Nikola Tesla. We have another application that consumes this information. Our initial call to the API retrieves a list of all of his inventions, but we want to display them in categories. Assuming that we materialize each invention into an Invention object, the Ephemeral wiring is simple. Here's our sample Invention class:

class Invention

  include Ephemeral::Base

  attr_accessor :name, :description, :category, :stolen_by_edison

  scope :telegraphy,    {:category => 'Telegraphy'}
  scope :electrical,    {:category => 'Electrical'}
  scope :mechanical,    {:category => 'Mechanical'}
  scope :stolen,        {:stolen_by_edison => true }
  scope :by_name,       lambda{|name| where :name => name}

  def initialize(args={})
    # Marshal object based on your API


We can now easily find all of Tesla's telegraphy inventions that were shamelessly stolen by Thomas Edison:


Example the Second

Our Tesla site has really taken off, and now we want to introduce another object, each instance of which represents a period in Tesla's life. We want to associate inventions with each of these periods. Again, rather than building complex logic into our API request, we can simply fetch a mass of data and build our relationships on the consumer application side using Ephemeral:

class Period

  include Ephemeral::Base

  attr_accessor :name, :start_year, :end_year

  collects :inventions

  def initialize(args={})
    # Marshal object based on your API, including setting up Invention objects


Now we can filter inventions on the consumer side:

period = Period.where(:name => 'Early Years')
inventions = period.inventions.mechanical
favorite = inventions.find(:name => 'Doomsday Device')

More Examples?

For a more complete example, please refer to the specs.