This is Anti-pattern—thoughts on programming and whatnot by Brandon Weiss.

Case-insensitive Keys with Devise

May 16th, 2011

If you use Devise for authentication and deploy on Heroku, or really just use any database that is case-sensitive by default (like PostgreSQL), you’ve probably run into the problem that some users like to type certain letters in their logins (email and/or username) in uppercase, but expect it to be case-insensitive when they try to sign in. A not unreasonable request considering that’s pretty much the universally default behavior that most applications exhibit, but that’s not the default with Devise.

Unfortunately, if you google the problem, the most common solution given is to downcase the login in a before_save callback so that it’s always lowercase in the database, and then overriding like eight different methods on several different controllers to downcase the login in the params. Thus always comparing a lowercase submitted login to a lowercase login in the database. Besides being annoyingly overcomplicated, it strips users of their ability to capitalize their login as they so choose, which is the whole reason this problem exists in the first place.

Devise should really have a way to do this automatically, and it does as of a few months ago in version 1.2 and later, although the way their wiki is set up makes it difficult to find. Here it is in all its one-line glory.

# config/initializers/devise.rb
Devise.setup do |config|
  config.case_insensitive_keys = [:email, :username]

Maybe this will push the old/incorrect answers out of the search results.