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March 5, 2009
7 thanks

String#match will match single token only

>> s = “{{person}} ate {{thing}}”

> “{{person}} ate {{thing}}”

>> r = /{{(.*?)}}/

> {{}}

>> s.match®.captures

> [“person”]

Using String#scan pulls out all tokens you were searching for:

>> s.scan®.flatten

> [“person”, “thing”]

March 3, 2009
9 thanks

File class documentation

Most of the File class documentation is located in IO class docs. What you see here is what ‘ftools’ gives you.

February 16, 2009
5 thanks

Usage example

Some examples:

# Remove even numbers
(1..30).reject { |n| n % 2 == 0 }
# => [1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29]

# Remove years dividable with 4 (this is *not* the full leap years rule)
(1950..2000).reject { |y| y % 4 != 0 }
# => [1952, 1956, 1960, 1964, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1984, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000]

# Remove users with karma below arithmetic mean
total = users.inject(0) { |total, user| total += user.karma }
mean = total / users.size
good_users = users.reject { |u| u.karma < mean }
February 12, 2009
4 thanks

Real life use

If you’re wondering what the base64 format is used for, here are some examples:

  • HTTP Basic authentication: encode your username and password as one string, and add it as a header of an HTTP request. When a page requiring basic authentication gets called from a browser it results in a generic Username/Password dialog from that browser. See also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basic_access_authentication

  • Encode the binary content of images to base64 and embed it in XML documents, for example in web services

  • For more information see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Base64

Just note that the encoded (character) data is about 30% larger than un-encoded (binary) data.

February 12, 2009
4 thanks

Binary files

Another real important flag is b when dealing with binary files. For example to download an mp3 from the internet you need to pass the b flag or the data will be screwed up:

# Downloads a binary file from the internet
require 'open-uri'
url = "http://fubar/song.mp3"
open(url, 'rb') do |mp3|
  File.open("local.mp3", 'wb') do |file|
    file.write(mp3.read)
  end
end

Don’t say you haven’t been warned. :)

February 12, 2009
3 thanks

Other regular-expression modifiers

Likewise you can set Regexp::IGNORECASE directly on the regexp with the literal syntax:

/first/i
# This will match "first", "First" and even "fiRSt"

Even more modifiers

  • o – Perform #{} interpolations only once, the first time the regexp literal is evaluated.

  • x – Ignores whitespace and allows comments in * regular expressions

  • u, e, s, n – Interpret the regexp as Unicode (UTF-8), EUC, SJIS, or ASCII. If none of these modifiers is specified, the regular expression is assumed to use the source encoding.

Literal to the rescue

Like string literals delimited with %Q, Ruby allows you to begin your regular expressions with %r followed by a delimiter of your choice.

This is useful when the pattern you are describing contains a lot of forward slash characters that you don’t want to escape:

%Q(http://)
# This will match "http://"
February 12, 2009
4 thanks

Literal syntax

As you propably know you can create an Array either with the constructor or the literal syntax:

Array.new == []
# => true

But there is also another nice and concise literal syntax for creating Arrays of Strings:

["one", "two", "three"] == %w[one two three]
# => true

You can use any kind of parenthesis you like after the %w, either (), [] or {}. I prefer the square brackets because it looks more like an array.

February 12, 2009
3 thanks

Useful scenario

This can be quite useful, for example when writing a command line script which takes a number of options.

Example

Let’s say you want to make a script that can make the basic CRUD operations. So want to be able to call it like this from the command line:

> my_script create
> my_script delete

The following script allows you to use any abbreviated command as long as it is unambiguous.

# my_script.rb
require 'abbrev'

command = ARGV.first
actions = %w[create read update delete]
mappings = Abbrev::abbrev(actions)
puts mappings[command]

That means you can call it like this:

> my_script cr
> my_script d

And it will print:

create
delete
February 10, 2009
3 thanks

Cheat Sheet

I have written a short introduction and a colorful cheat sheet for Perl Compatible Regular Expressions (PCRE) as used by Ruby’s Regexp class:

http://www.bitcetera.com/en/techblog/2008/04/01/regex-in-a-nutshell/

February 4, 2009
3 thanks

Multiline regexps

A shortcut for multiline regular expressions is

/First line.*Other line/m

(notice the trailing /m)

For example:

text = <<-END
  Hello world!
  This is a test.
END

text.match(/world.*test/m).nil?  #=> false
text.match(/world.*test/).nil?   #=> true
January 15, 2009
4 thanks

Convert String to Class in Rails

ncancelliere gave us a very useful tip below, and I just want to make an addendum for it:

If you are using Rails, there is a CoreExtension for this called String#constantize.

"Foo::BarKeeper".constantize #=> Foo::BarKeeper

You can use it with String#camelize if you have to convert the name too

"foo/bar_keeper".camelize             #=> "Foo::BarKeeper"
"foo/bar_keeper".camelize.constantize #=> Foo::BarKeeper

Don’t forget to rescue NameError in case there was an invalid class name. :-)

January 14, 2009
6 thanks

File open permissions

Usage: File.open path, flags, [permissions]

Flags (bitmasks)

Access:

File::RDONLY

Read-only

File::WRONLY

Write-only

File::RDWR

Read and write

If the file exists:

File::TRUNC

Truncate

File::APPEND

Append

File::EXCL

Fail

If the file doesn’t exist:

File::CREAT

Create

Flags (strings)

r

File::RDONLY

r+

File::RDWR

w

File::WRONLY|File::TRUNC|File::CREAT

a

File::WRONLY|File::APPEND|File::CREAT

Examples

File.open path, File::RDONLY
File.open path, 'w'
File.open path, File::WRONLY|File::TRUNC|File::CREAT
File.open path, File::WRONLY|File::TRUNC|File::CREAT, '0666'
December 6, 2008
4 thanks

Array expansion in blocks

The syntax can be improved as changing the second parameter of the block (values) and using an array of two variables instead, which will be used by Ruby as the key and value of “array”.

array = [['A', 'a'], ['B', 'b'], ['C', 'c']]

hash = array.inject({}) do |memo, (key, value)|
  memo[key] = value
  memo
end

hash
# => {'A' => 'a', 'B' => 'b', 'C' => 'c'}
December 2, 2008
5 thanks

From the official docs

enum.inject(initial) {| memo, obj | block } => obj enum.inject {| memo, obj | block } => obj

Combines the elements of enum by applying the block to an accumulator value (memo) and each element in turn. At each step, memo is set to the value returned by the block. The first form lets you supply an initial value for memo. The second form uses the first element of the collection as a the initial value (and skips that element while iterating).

# Sum some numbers
(5..10).inject {|sum, n| sum + n }              #=> 45
# Multiply some numbers
(5..10).inject(1) {|product, n| product * n }   #=> 151200

# find the longest word
longest = %w{ cat sheep bear }.inject do |memo,word|
   memo.length > word.length ? memo : word
end
longest                                         #=> "sheep"

# find the length of the longest word
longest = %w{ cat sheep bear }.inject(0) do |memo,word|
   memo >= word.length ? memo : word.length
end
longest                                         #=> 5

http://www.ruby-doc.org/core/classes/Enumerable.html

November 19, 2008
9 thanks

Formatting options

Readable strftime

%a - The abbreviated weekday name (“Sun”)

%A - The full weekday name (“Sunday”)

%b - The abbreviated month name (“Jan”)

%B - The full month name (“January”)

%c - The preferred local date and time representation

%d - Day of the month (01..31)

%H - Hour of the day, 24-hour clock (00..23)

%I - Hour of the day, 12-hour clock (01..12)

%j - Day of the year (001..366)

%m - Month of the year (01..12)

%M - Minute of the hour (00..59)

%p - Meridian indicator (“AM” or “PM”)

%S - Second of the minute (00..60)

%U - Week number of the current year, starting with the first Sunday as the first day of the first week (00..53)

%W - Week number of the current year, starting with the first Monday as the first day of the first week (00..53)

%w - Day of the week (Sunday is 0, 0..6)

%x - Preferred representation for the date alone, no time

%X - Preferred representation for the time alone, no date

%y - Year without a century (00..99)

%Y - Year with century

%Z - Time zone name %% - Literal “%’’ character t = Time.now t.strftime(“Printed on %m/%d/%Y”) #=> “Printed on 04/09/2003” t.strftime(“at %I:%M%p”) #=> “at 08:56AM”

November 18, 2008
8 thanks

Pop for last, Shift for first

If you want to pop the first element instead of the last one, use shift .

October 9, 2008
6 thanks

Works with URLs too!

You can use it for web urls as well:

path, file = File.split('/uploads/art/2869-speaking-of-pic.jpg')
p path # => "/uploads/art"
p file # => "2869-speaking-of-pic.jpg"

And you can also use join, to merge url back from the components:

path = File.join(["/uploads/art", "2869-speaking-of-pic.jpg"])
p path # => "/uploads/art/2869-speaking-of-pic.jpg"

Using #join and #split for operations on files and path parts of the URLs is generally better than simply joining/splitting strings by ‘/’ symbol. Mostly because of normalization:

File.split('//tmp///someimage.jpg') # => ["/tmp", "someimage.jpg"]
'//tmp///someimage.jpg'.split('/') # => ["", "", "tmp", "", "", "someimage.jpg"]

Same thing happens with join.

September 12, 2008
24 thanks

Readable strftime

%a - The abbreviated weekday name (“Sun”)

%A - The full weekday name (“Sunday”)

%b - The abbreviated month name (“Jan”)

%B - The full month name (“January”)

%c - The preferred local date and time representation

%d - Day of the month (01..31) %H - Hour of the day, 24-hour clock (00..23)

%I - Hour of the day, 12-hour clock (01..12)

%j - Day of the year (001..366)

%m - Month of the year (01..12) %M - Minute of the hour (00..59)

%p - Meridian indicator (“AM” or “PM”)

%S - Second of the minute (00..60)

%U - Week number of the current year, starting with the first Sunday as the first day of the first week (00..53)

%W - Week number of the current year, starting with the first Monday as the first day of the first week (00..53)

%w - Day of the week (Sunday is 0, 0..6)

%x - Preferred representation for the date alone, no time

%X - Preferred representation for the time alone, no date

%y - Year without a century (00..99) %Y - Year with century

%Z - Time zone name %% - Literal “%” character t = Time.now t.strftime(“Printed on %m/%d/%Y”) #=> “Printed on 04/09/2003” t.strftime(“at %I:%M%p”) #=> “at 08:56AM”

September 5, 2008
3 thanks

Require 'strscan'

To use the StringScanner class,

require 'strscan'
August 27, 2008 - (v1_8_6_287)
3 thanks

Example of raising a custom exception

Create custom exception<br> <pre> class PersonalException < Exception end </pre>

Raise the exception<br> <pre> raise PersonalException.new, “message” </pre>

August 23, 2008
3 thanks

Needs requiring 'enumerator' to work

This method needs that you

require 'enumerator'

for this method to be available.

August 17, 2008
6 thanks

Re: Convert an Array of Arrays to a Hash using inject

If you’re sure you have a two-level array (no other arrays inside the pairs) and exactly two items in each pair, then it’s faster and shorter to use this:

array = [['A', 'a'], ['B', 'b'], ['C', 'c']]
hash = Hash[*array.flatten]

For more than two-level deep arrays this will give the wrong result or even an error (for some inputs).

array = [['A', 'a'], ['B', 'b'], ['C', ['a', 'b', 'c']]]
hash = Hash[*array.flatten]
# => {"A"=>"a", "B"=>"b", "C"=>"a", "b"=>"c"}

But if you’re running Ruby 1.8.7 or greater you can pass an argument to Array#flatten and have it flatten only one level deep:

# on Ruby 1.8.7+
hash = Hash[*array.flatten(1)]
# => {"A"=>"a", "B"=>"b", "C"=>["a", "b", "c"]}
August 17, 2008
4 thanks

Regexes with groups and split

When you use a Regex with capture groups, all capture groups are included in the results (interleaved with the “real” results) but they do not count for the limit argument.

Examples:

"abc.,cde.,efg.,ghi".split(/.(,)/)
=> ["abc", ",", "cde", ",", "efg", ",", "ghi"]
"abc.,cde.,efg.,ghi".split(/(.)(,)/)
=> ["abc", ".", ",", "cde", ".", ",", "efg", ".", ",", "ghi"]
"abc.,cde.,efg.,ghi".split(/(.(,))/)
=> ["abc", ".,", ",", "cde", ".,", ",", "efg", ".,", ",", "ghi"]
"abc.,cde.,efg.,ghi".split(/(.(,))/, 2)
=> ["abc", ".,", ",", "cde.,efg.,ghi"]
"abc.,cde.,efg.,ghi".split(/(.(,))/, 3)
=> ["abc", ".,", ",", "cde", ".,", ",", "efg.,ghi"]
August 15, 2008
4 thanks

Cheking if a number is prime?

It’s a class for generating an enumerator for prime numbers and traversing over them.

It’s really slow and will be replaced in ruby 1.9 with a faster one.

Note: if you just want to test whether a number is prime or not, you can use this piece of code:

class Fixnum
  def prime?
    ('1' * self) !~ /^1?$|^(11+?)\1+$/
  end
end

10.prime?
August 15, 2008
8 thanks

Optional Argument for detect/find [Not Documented]

detect/find’s optional argument lets you specify a proc or lambda whose return value will be the result in cases where no object in the collection matches the criteria.

classic_rock_bands = ["AC/DC", "Black Sabbath","Queen", "Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes","Scorpions", "Van Halen"]
default_band = Proc.new {"ABBA"}
classic_rock_bands.find(default_band) {|band| band > "Van Halen"}
=> "ABBA"

or

random_band = lambda do
  fallback_bands = ["Britney Spears", "Christina Aguilera", "Ashlee Simpson"]
  fallback_bands[rand(fallback_bands.size)]
end
classic_rock_bands.find(random_band) {|band| band > "Van Halen"}
=> "Britney Spears"
August 15, 2008
3 thanks

Convert a Hash to an Array of Arrays using map

Although you’ll always have to_a and it’s faster, this trick is too cool to ignore…

When the block is omitted, collect or map uses this implied block: {|item| item}, which means when applied on an hash without a block, collect/map returns an array containing a set of two-item arrays, one for each key/value pair in the hash. For each two-item array, item 0 is the key and item 1 is the corresponding value.

burgers = {"Big Mac" => 300, "Whopper with cheese" => 450, "Wendy's Double with cheese" => 320}

burgers.map
=> [["Wendy's Double with cheese", 320], ["Big Mac", 300], ["Whopper with cheese", 450]]

see also:

August 15, 2008
3 thanks

Testing Arrays for nils with Enumerable#all?

When the block is omitted, all? uses this implied block: {|item| item}.

Since everything in Ruby evaluates to true except for false and nil, using all? without a block on an array is effectively a test to see if all the items in the collection evaluate to true (or conversely, if there are any false or nil values in the array).

Using all? without a block on a hash is meaningless, as it will always return true.

August 15, 2008
4 thanks

Using all? on Empty Arrays and Hashes

When applied to an empty array or hash, with or without a block, all? always returns true. That’s because with an empty collection, there are no values to process and return a false value. so, watch out, if your array or hash is empty for any reason you will get a true which might not be what you expect it to be.

August 14, 2008 - (v1_8_6_287)
11 thanks

Convert an Array to a Hash

The Hash.[] method converts an even number of parameters to a Hash. (The Hash[] method depends on the Hash class, but don’t confuse the method with the class itself). For example:

Hash['A', 'a', 'B', 'b']
# => {"A"=>"a", "B"=>"b"}

You can convert an array to a hash using the Hash[] method:

array = ['A', 'a', 'B', 'b', 'C', 'c']
hash = Hash[*array]
# => {"A"=>"a", "B"=>"b", "C"=>"c"}  

The * (splat) operator converts the array into an argument list, as expected by Hash[].

You can similarly convert an array of arrays to a Hash, by adding flatten:

array = [['A', 'a'], ['B', 'b'], ['C', 'c']]
hash = Hash[*array.flatten]  
# => {"A"=>"a", "B"=>"b", "C"=>"c"}

This also comes in handy when you have a list of words that you want to convert to a Hash:

Hash[*%w(
  A a
  B b
  C c
)]
# => {"A"=>"a", "B"=>"b", "C"=>"c"}