A Presenter is a signal

When someone says “your view or API layer needs presenters”, it’s easy to get confused. Presenter has become wildcard jargon for a lot of different sorts of things: coordinators, conductors, representations, filter, projections, helpers, etc. Even worse, many developers are in the “uncanny valley” stage of understanding the pattern; it’s close to being a thing, but not quite. I’ve come across presenters with entirely too much logic, presenters that don’t pull their weight as objects, and presenters that are merely indirection. Presenter is becoming a catch-all that stands for organizing logic more strictly than your framework typically provides for.

I could make it my mission to tell every single person they’re wrong about presenters, but that’s not productive and it’s not entirely correct. Rather, presenters are a signal. When you say “we use presenters for our API”, I hear you say “we found we had too much logic hanging around in our templates and so we started moving it into objects”. From there on out, every application is likely to vary. Some applications are template focus and so need objects that are focused on presentational logic. Other apps are API focused and need more support in the area of emitting and parsing JSON.

At first, I was a bit concerned about the explosion of options for putting more objects into the view part of your typical model-view-controller application. But as I see more applications and highly varied approaches, I’m fine with Rails not providing a standard option. Better to decide what your application really needs and craft it yourself or find something viable off the shelf.

As long as your “presenters” reduce the complexity of your templates and makes logic easier to decouple and test, we’re all good, friend.

Adam Keys @therealadam