Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Assigning custom data types to new columns during migration, part 2

In my previous article, Assigning custom data types to new columns during migrations, I showed how you can create columns with custom data types during a database migration. Simply specify :"data type", instead of :integer, :string, :binary, etc. An example would be :"smallint", since there is no direct way to create a MySQL smallint during a Rails migration.

However, I recently found that this doesn't always work. It works fine if you are creating a new table in your migration. But this does NOT work if you are adding or modifying a column in an already existing table, you get the error:
rake aborted!
You have a nil object when you didn't expect it!
You might have expected an instance of Array.
The error occurred while evaluating nil.[]

Has anyone else run in to this problem? It's annoying to have to construct SQL statements to add columns, after all that's what migrations are supposed to get rid of.

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