mb_chars() public

Multibyte proxy

mb_chars is a multibyte safe proxy for string methods.

In Ruby 1.8 and older it creates and returns an instance of the ActiveSupport::Multibyte::Chars class which encapsulates the original string. A Unicode safe version of all the String methods are defined on this proxy class. If the proxy class doesn’t respond to a certain method, it’s forwarded to the encapsuled string.

  name = 'Claus Müller'
  name.reverse # => "rell??M sualC"
  name.length  # => 13

  name.mb_chars.reverse.to_s # => "rellüM sualC"
  name.mb_chars.length       # => 12

In Ruby 1.9 and newer mb_chars returns self because String is (mostly) encoding aware. This means that it becomes easy to run one version of your code on multiple Ruby versions.

Method chaining

All the methods on the Chars proxy which normally return a string will return a Chars object. This allows method chaining on the result of any of these methods.

  name.mb_chars.reverse.length # => 12

Interoperability and configuration

The Chars object tries to be as interchangeable with String objects as possible: sorting and comparing between String and Char work like expected. The bang! methods change the internal string representation in the Chars object. Interoperability problems can be resolved easily with a to_s call.

For more information about the methods defined on the Chars proxy see ActiveSupport::Multibyte::Chars. For information about how to change the default Multibyte behaviour see ActiveSupport::Multibyte.

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September 27, 2011 - (>= v3.1.0)
0 thanks

1.9 behavior

In Ruby 1.9 and newer mb_chars returns self’”

This would seem to be a lie. At least in rails 3.1.0 and ruby 1.9.2, mb_chars still returns a proxy object with additional useful methods defined on it that aren’t on a 1.9.2 String.

ruby-1.9.2-p180 :007 >  "àáâãäå".normalize(:kd)
NoMethodError: undefined method `normalize' for "àáâãäå":String

ruby-1.9.2-p180 :008 > "àáâãäå".mb_chars.normalize(:kd)
 => àáâãäå