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re: Getting Cozy with Ruby VIEW POST

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That's a fun blitz tour of Ruby but you missed out on the big one, the "raison d'être" of Ruby, Enumerable.

One of the things that Ruby lends itself to quite naturally is transforming data from one form to another incrementally using little shifts, twists, and nudges. Like if you want to convert a string like "can_have_class" into "CanHaveClass", like the Rails String#camelcase method, you can do it with:

str.to_s.split(/_/).map do |s|
  s[0,1] = s[0,1].upcase
  s
end.join

Where that splits the string apart at the underscores, converts each of those bits with map into a capitalized version of itself, then combines them back into a single string with join.

While this doesn't seem all that complex, it avoids a lot of the mess you get in other languages where you'd need to explicitly declare an array, use a for loop over the correct range, and remember to return the array when you're done.

If you compare Ruby to other languages superficially it has a lot in common, but Enumerable is a very interesting and unique feature. JavaScript has things like Lodash which try to emulate it, but only cover a fraction of the functions Ruby has and the syntax is way more clunky and awkward due to language limitations.

The only reason I mention this is because when approaching Ruby for the first time that's the philosophy you need to understand first, and everything else can flow from there.

 

Very true, thanks so much for adding this! Blocks are indeed extremely natural and extremely common in all the code I read. It feels very much like using JavaScript or even a Lisp but wrapped up in a more class-based object-oriented structure. I think the strongest analogue I've used that's like that is ClojureScript - which is basically JS and lisp mashed together, so it stands to reason!

As side question, is this more or less what Scala feels like to use, just with types? Do some similar idioms arise via the functional<->OOP blending?

 

I haven't used Scala enough to comment on how it feels, but Ruby is able to straddle the intersection between procedural, object-oriented, and functional depending on how you use it.

This is increasingly true for a lot of languages, even Swift, Rust and Python, where functional approaches to problem solving have helped simplify things. Once you get lambdas it's inevitable that will happen. Maybe we'll even see more of that in C++.

Within Ruby there's a lot of push towards a more functional style as it's anticipated this will help resolve some of the major concurrency problems Ruby has. The Ruby core team seems to be opposed to threads as a general-purpose solution, instead steering towards approaches like Guilds, similar to how JavaScript has WebWorkers, but there's opportunities to parallelize things like map if you have clean, functional code to work with.

Here's hoping there's a concurrent version of things like map in future versions of Ruby!

This is increasingly true for a lot of languages, even Swift, Rust and Python, where functional approaches to problem solving have helped simplify things.

True that! My Python code is increasingly more functional and I think the natural namespace of file boundary in Python helps with that. Well, also having functions whereas Ruby has only methods. I don't use custom classes that much anymore in Python. Pass state between functions, inject dependencies, rinse, repeat.

It's also so much easier to test when you have side effects contained in a small amount of business logic.

Rusts' Iterator trait definitely comes to mind, but I believe Ruby provides a greater set of methods, and I've definitely noticed a functional-forward trend in C++11 (and up).

I am not complaining :)

If someone ported Enumerable to Rust and/or JavaScript in all of its glory that would be amazing.

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