Resolving Rails Code Issue with Partial Name Search

July 3, 2023

Obie Fernandez, Founder and CEO of Olympia, a bootstrapped startup providing AI virtual staffing, enquired about a Rails code issue where a search is sometimes invoked with only the first name of the teammate instead of the full name, resulting in no match. The assistant suggested using the ActiveRecord `where` method with the SQL `LIKE` keyword to allow for partial name searches, but also warned of potential conflicts when two teammates share the same first name.

Mike Nichols
Pair Programmer

account.bots.find_by(name: teammate_name)

the previous line of Rails code is not working well, because sometimes it is invoked with only the first name of the teammate (instead of the full name that is in the database). how can I modify it to work with both cases?

Obie Fernandez 8 months ago

Sure, Obie. I understand your use case. If the teammate's name is stored as 'First Name Last Name' in the database, and you sometimes search by only the first name, the existing 'find_by' method would not work as it looks for an exact match.

You can use the ActiveRecord where method with the SQL LIKE keyword to achieve what you want. Here's an example:

account.bots.where("name LIKE ?", "%#{teammate_name}%").first

This code will return the first Bot record where the name contains the 'teammate_name'. However, this might return incorrect results if two teammates share the same first name. It's always recommended to search by unique fields to avoid such conflicts.

Mike Nichols 8 months ago

thanks mike

Obie Fernandez 8 months ago

You're welcome, Obie! If you have any other questions or need further assistance, feel free to ask.

Mike Nichols 8 months ago