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Ref. WGR Chapter 8, Section 8.1, Working with strings

String literals

  • double-quotes allow interpolation and escaping

    "\t"  #=> "\t"
    name = "alice"
    "hello, #{name}" #=> "hello, alice"
  • single-quotes are more literal-minded

    '\t' #=> "\\t"
  • there are many other bizarre ways to declare a string (see below)


s = "Ruby rocks"
s[5]    #=> "r"
s[5,3]  #=> "roc"
s[5,100]  #=> "rocks"
s[-3]   #=> "c"
s[2..6] #=> "by ro"

substring matching

s = "Ruby rocks"
s[/r../] #=> "roc"
s[/r../i] #=> "Rub"

substring setting

s = "Ruby rocks"
s["rock"] = "rule"
s #=> "Ruby rules"

adding strings

plus makes a new string

s = "dog"
s + "cow"  #=> "dogcow"
s          #=> "dog"

shovel changes the original string

s = "dog"
s << "cow" #=> "dogcow"
s          #=> "dogcow"

plus-equal makes a new string but changes the variable

s = "dog"
s += "cow" #=> "dogcow"
s          #=> "dogcow"

string interpolation

Takes any ruby expression, calls to_s on it, and smooshes it inside a string

"nothing compares #{1+1} u" #=> "nothing compares 2 u"

anything can go in there, including operators and quotes

"i love #{@girlfriend or "nobody"}"

string comparison

Strings are == if their characters are the same

"alice" == "alice"  #=> true

Characters are compared in ASCII order (not Unicode or Collation order)

"a" < "b"    #=> true
"a" < "Z"    #=> false

The "flying saucer" operator is used for sorting

"a" <=> "b"  #=> -1
["d", "o", "g"].sort #=> ["d", "g", "o"]


gsub munges a string

s = "rubber baby buggy bumpers"
s.gsub(/b/, "g")
s #=> "rugger gagy guggy gumpers"
  • performs a regular expression search-and-replace on the string
  • gsub! modifies the string in place


split turns a string into an array

"apple banana cherry".split
=> ["apple", "banana", "cherry"]
  • splits on whitespace by default
    • or you can pass in a delimiter


join turns an array into a string

["apple", "banana", "cherry"].join
=> "applebananacherry"
  • joins with the empty string by default
    • or you can pass in a delimiter
["apple", "banana", "cherry"].join(' ')
=> "apple banana cherry"

Core Mungers Summary

Method turns a(n)... into a(n)...
split String Array
join Array String
gsub String String
map Array Array

more string methods

  • upcase
  • downcase
  • capitalize
    • upcases the first letter and downcases the rest
  • reverse
    • "stressed".reverse => "desserts"
  • strip
    • removes whitespace (not clothes) from the ends of the string
  • chomp
    • removes the final character, but only if it's a "\n"
  • center(width)

some of these have ! versions which modify the string in place


lots of ways to declare a string

  • weird string literals
  • here docs

weird string literals

  • %Q -- %Q{don't worry, "man"}
    • just like double-quote only you don't need a backslash for "
  • %q -- %q{don't #{interpolate}, "man"}
    • just like single-quote only you don't need a backslash for '
  • any delimiter will do
    • %Q{...}, %Q(...), %Q|...|, etc.

Multiline strings

  • newlines do not end a string

    "Now is the winter of our discontent
    made glorious summer by this son of York."


    "now is the winter of our discontent\nmade glorious summer by this son of York."

Here Docs

first_quatrain = <<END
My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.

Here docs with indentation

def second_quatrain
  x = <<-HTML
      I have seen roses damask'd, red and white,
      But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
      And in some perfumes is there more delight
      Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
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