Ruby models, should I choose Inheritance or just associations

I have the following tables and fields

 User   :username,:password,:email

 Organiser  :organiser_specific_fields

 Participant  :participant_specific_fields

Orgnaisers and Participants are Users,

Users already exist in system,

When a User organises a Party, I create an instance of Party class, add him as Organiser of that Party and add other Users as Participants.

How do I model this in Rails? I couldn't figure out what's the best way to implement this in Rails considering that Users already exist in the system.


Based on you comments I suggest that you stick with the following schema:

  1. A user table, saving all the details about a user (firstname, lastname)
  2. A party table with all the details about a party (time, location, ...)
  3. Two join tables for the models outlined below:

This code is untested, it might need some tweaking of the names:

class User < ActiveRecord::Base
    has_many :parties, :through => :participations, :source => :user
    has_many :organised, :through => :organises, :source => :user

class Party < ActiveRecord::Base
    has_many :participants, :through => :participations
    has_many :organizers, :through => :organises

class Participation < ActiveRecord::Base
   belongs_to :user
   belongs_to :party
   # this class represents "a user is going to a party"
   # additional fields, which are specific to a participation go here as well

class Organises < ActiveRecord::Base
    belongs_to :user
    belongs_to :party
    # This class represents "user is the organisator of a party"
    # additional fields, which are specific to organizing a party go here


  • You don't need to touch your user tables
  • A party can have two or more organisators
  • The party's organisators can go to the party as well (hopefully)
  • No data duplication in your database


  • You have to manange the associations yourself: A user must not go to (or be the organisator) of the same party twice

I hope that helps to clear things up a bit. More info can be found in the rails docs at this link.

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