Rails 5 has a rich API that allows you to update your ActiveRecord objects in several different ways. Some methods have slightly different behavior which can sometimes result in unexpected consequences so it’s important to understand their differences.

Over the years I came across a really helpful cheat sheet outlining the various methods available for Rails 4 so I figured I’d put together something similar for Rails 5!

Below is a cheat sheet with in-depth information for Rails 5.

Cheat Sheet

Method Uses Default Accessor Saves to Database Runs Validations Runs Callbacks Updates updated_at/updated_on Respects Readonly
attribute= Yes No n/a n/a n/a n/a
attributes= Yes No n/a n/a n/a n/a
assign_attributes Yes No n/a n/a n/a n/a
write_attribute No No n/a n/a n/a n/a
[]= No No n/a n/a n/a n/a
update Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
update_attribute Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes
update_attributes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
update_column Yes Yes No No No Yes
update_columns Yes Yes No No No Yes
User.update Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
User.update_all No Yes No No No No