Notes posted to Ruby

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July 1, 2009
4 thanks


User = Struct.new(:name, :phone)

marc = User.new(“Marc”, “555-5555”)

June 25, 2009
2 thanks

Antonym of empty?

The antonym of empty? is Enumerable#any? method:

[].empty?  #=> true
[].any?    #=> false
[1].empty? #=> false
[1].any?   #=> true

Be cautious however, if your array might contain nil’s or false’s:

[false, nil].any? #=> false
June 10, 2009
0 thanks

list of predefined variables

$! The exception information message set by ‘raise’. $@ Array of backtrace of the last exception thrown.

$& The string matched by the last successful pattern match in this scope. $` The string to the left of the last successful match. $‘ The string to the right of the last successful match. $+ The last bracket matched by the last successful match. $1 to $9 The Nth group of the last successful regexp match. $~ The information about the last match in the current scope.

$= The flag for case insensitive, nil by default. $/ The input record separator, newline by default. $\ The output record separator for the print and IO#write. Default is nil. $, The output field separator for the print and Array#join. $; The default separator for String#split.

$. The current input line number of the last file that was read. $< The virtual concatenation file of the files given on command line. $> The default output for print, printf. $stdout by default. $_ The last input line of string by gets or readline.

$0 Contains the name of the script being executed. May be assignable. $* Command line arguments given for the script sans args. $$ The process number of the Ruby running this script. $? The status of the last executed child process. $: Load path for scripts and binary modules by load or require.

$“ The array contains the module names loaded by require. $DEBUG The status of the -d switch. $FILENAME Current input file from $<. Same as $<.filename. $LOAD_PATH The alias to the $:. $stderr The current standard error output. $stdin The current standard input. $stdout The current standard output. $VERBOSE The verbose flag, which is set by the -v switch. $-0 The alias to $/. $-a True if option -a (”autosplit“ mode) is set. Read-only variable. $-d The alias to $DEBUG. $-F The alias to $;. $-i If in-place-edit mode is set, this variable holds the extension, otherwise nil. $-I The alias to $:. $-l True if option -l is set (”line-ending processing“ is on). Read-only variable. $-p True if option -p is set (”loop“ mode is on). Read-only variable. $-v The alias to $VERBOSE. $-w True if option -w is set.

Source: http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Ruby_Programming/Syntax/Variables_and_Constants#Pre-defined_Variables

May 27, 2009
0 thanks

Potentially slow operation

Remember that checking for a value is a potentially slow operation (all the elements might be iterated) as oposed to querying a key (e.g. with has_key?), which is supposed to be fast in a Hash.

May 27, 2009 - (>= v1_8_6_287)
2 thanks


If you want to access the element index when using map, you can do it with enum_for:

(1..6).enum_for(:each_with_index).map { |v, i| "index: #{i} value: #{v}" }
#=> ["index: 0 value: 1", "index: 1 value: 2", "index: 2 value: 3", "index: 3 value: 4", "index: 4 value: 5", "index: 5 value: 6"]
May 26, 2009
1 thank

Potentially slow operation

Remember that checking for a value is a potentially slow operation (all the elements might be iterated) as oposed to querying a key (e.g. with has_key?), which is supposed to be fast in a Hash.

May 20, 2009
0 thanks

Symbol Keys Only

While OpenStruct#new is rather indifferent to the kind of keys submitted, marshal_load requires Symbol keys only. Use of a string can cause difficulty.

To fix:

marshal_load(hash.inject({ }) { |h, (k,v)| h[k.to_sym] = v; h })

As a note, Rails has the Hash#symbolize_keys method that can be used in place.

May 19, 2009
0 thanks

Method functions like Hash#merge!

This method functions a lot like Hash#merge! only with a different name.

f = OpenStruct.new
# => #<OpenStruct>
f.marshal_load({:foo => 'bar'})
# => #<OpenStruct foo="bar">
# => "bar"
May 19, 2009
2 thanks

Like JavaScript Object

For those familiar with JavaScript naked Objects, this is very similar.

May 13, 2009
3 thanks

Equivalent to Array#reject!

This method is functionally identical to Array#reject!

May 7, 2009
0 thanks


Shouldn’t the second example be:

[1,2].zip(a,b)         #=> [[1, 4, 7], [2, 5, 8], [nil,6,9]]

??? or am I missing something?

May 7, 2009 - (v1_8_6_287 - v1_8_7_72)
0 thanks

Reg Ex Syntax

Is there any place where there is a full listing of RegEx syntax?

May 4, 2009 - (v1_8_6_287)
2 thanks

NoMethodError: undefined method `each_char'

For some reason the each_char method on String is not available by default in Ruby 1.8.6 and you will be presented with a NoMethodError.

You can resolve this by requiring the jcode lib:

require 'jcode'
May 4, 2009
1 thank


Via Kenneth Kalmer:

From the man page: If salt is a character string starting with the characters “$id$” followed by a string terminated by “$”: $id$salt$encrypted then instead of using the DES machine, id identifies the encryption method used and this then determines how the rest of the password string is interpreted.

irb session


see http://www.opensourcery.co.za/2009/05/01/quick-nix-shadow-passwords-with-ruby/

May 2, 2009
8 thanks

Create a Hash from two Arrays

Here is my favorite idiom for creating a Hash from an Array of keys and an Array of values:

keys = [:a, :b]
values = [1,2]
h = Hash[*keys.zip(values).flatten]      # => {:b=>2, :a=>1}
May 2, 2009
3 thanks

Test if one array includes the elements of another

You can just use a set difference (aka minus) to see if one array includes all elements of another

not_included = [1,2,3] - (1..9).to_a
not_included      # => []

not_included = [1,2,3,'A'] - (1..9).to_a
not_included      # => ["A"]

Use intersection to test if any of the one are in the other:

shared = [1,2,3,'A'] & (1..9).to_a
shared     # => [1, 2, 3]
April 30, 2009
1 thank

For specific entries, use Dir.glob

When working with the contents of a directory it’s not uncommon to be interested in a specific subset of the entries present.

Dir.glob can be used to fetch entries by name and File.stat can be used to determine the type of file.

April 24, 2009
0 thanks


I need that program :)

April 23, 2009
5 thanks
April 23, 2009
6 thanks

Argument Ordering

Be aware that the order of arguments for this method is the opposite of File.join:

File.expand_path('foo', '/bar')   # => "/bar/foo"
File.join('foo', '/bar')          # => "foo/bar"
April 23, 2009
0 thanks

See Also: IO Class Methods

There are other more specific methods defined in the IO class: IO.open for files, IO.popen for pipes.

April 23, 2009
1 thank

Customize Formatting with a Subclass

Instead of passing in a formatter block, you can always create a subclass that defines the format:

require 'logger'

class MyLogger < Logger
  def format_message(severity, datetime, progname, msg)
    "[%s %s] %s\n" % [ severity, datetime.strtftime("%H:%M"), msg ]

This can be easier than always passing the same formatter option.

April 23, 2009
2 thanks

Rails and Ruby 1.8.7 Extensions

Note that the use of Symbol#to_proc requires either Rails or Ruby 1.8.7. Prior versions will show:

['a', 'b', 'c'].collect(&:capitalize)
 #  => TypeError: wrong argument type Symbol (expected Proc)
April 23, 2009
5 thanks

Handy shorthand for array manipulation

You may write something like this:

>> ['a', 'b', 'c'].collect{|letter| letter.capitalize}
=> ["A", "B", "C"]

But it looks so much nicer this way:

>> ['a', 'b', 'c'].collect(&:capitalize)
=> ["A", "B", "C"]
April 21, 2009
3 thanks

To throw an exception, use Kernel#raise

Other languages use the term throw for raising exceptions, but Ruby has a specific raise call for that.

April 16, 2009
1 thank

Extracting the First Element

To extract the first element from an Array, use shift:

array = [ 1, 2, 3 ]           # => [ 1, 2, 3 ]
array.first                   # => 1
array                         # => [ 1, 2, 3 ]
array.shift                   # => 1
array                         # => [ 2, 3 ]
April 16, 2009
1 thank

Extracting the Last Element

To remove the last element from the Array, use pop:

array = [ 1, 2, 3 ]           # => [ 1, 2, 3 ]
array.last                    # => 3
array                         # => [ 1, 2, 3 ]
array.pop                     # => 3
array                         # => [ 1, 2 ]
April 16, 2009
12 thanks

Parameters for Hash#inject

When running inject on a Hash, the hash is first converted to an array before being passed through.

The typical Enumerable#inject approach would be to simply capture the value:

array.inject(...) do |c, v|

In the case of a Hash, v is actually a key/value pair Array. That is the key is v.first and the value is v.last, however using the pair this way is awkward and can lead to confusion.

Better to simply expand the parameters in the block definition:

hash.inject(...) do |c, (k, v)|

Where c is the traditional carry variable and k/v represent key and value respectively.

April 16, 2009
0 thanks

Known unknowns

In case it isn’t obvious - this is what you use when you’re fleshing out all the tests that you haven’t written yet. eg if you have a set of twenty tests for a complex piece of functionality, and just want to write out the “should” declarations (or equivalent), so you don’t forget all the corner cases… then fill out the tests themselves. Putting an assert_fail makes sure you notice if you forget to come back and fill in the body of a test.