ARGF is a stream designed for use in scripts that process files given as command-line arguments or passed in via STDIN.
$ ruby argf.rb --verbose file1 file2 ARGV #=> ["--verbose", "file1", "file2"] option = ARGV.shift #=> "--verbose" ARGV #=> ["file1", "file2"]
You can manipulate ARGV yourself to control what ARGF operates on. If you remove a file from ARGV, it is ignored by ARGF; if you add files to ARGV, they are treated as if they were named on the command line. For example:
ARGV.replace ["file1"] ARGF.readlines # Returns the contents of file1 as an Array ARGV #=>  ARGV.replace ["file2", "file3"] ARGF.read # Returns the contents of file2 and file3
If ARGV is empty, ARGF acts as if it contained STDIN, i.e. the data piped to your script. For example:
$ echo "glark" | ruby -e 'p ARGF.read' "glark\n"