Ruby Inside
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Ruby Inside

A Weird and Wonderful Trip through Ruby’s Standard Library


First up: the Shellwords module. It provides a few nice methods which make it easier to build and parse shell commands from within Ruby.

$> filename = "Alex's Notes.txt"
$> `cat #{filename}`
sh: -c: line 0: unexpected EOF while looking for matching `''
sh: -c: line 1: syntax error: unexpected end of file
=> ""
$> `cat #{filename.shellescape}`
=> "Apostrophes in a filename? 🤔"

English: for when you want less $$

Pop quiz: what does $$ return?

$> `exit 42`
=> ""
$> $CHILD_STATUS # or $? for the purists
=> #<Process::Status: pid 25566 exit 42>


If you require the Prime module, Ruby can tell you if a number is prime:

=> true
=> [2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 29]
$> Prime.take(10) # uses Eratosthenes under the hood, by default
=> [2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 29]


This is probably the weirdest and most wonderful module I found in my spelunking. According to the docs, Abbrev:

$> require 'abbrev'
=> true
$> %w(ruby rules).abbrev
=> {
$> names = %w(Alex Amy Ayla Amanda)
$> { |n| n.length > 2 }
=> ["Alex", "Ale", "Amy", "Ayla", "Ayl", "Amanda", "Amand", "Aman", "Ama"]

Last, but not least…

Chances are you’ve made an HTTP request from your Ruby program at some point. You probably used Net::HTTP (or maybe another gem that uses it under the hood).

$> inbox ='')
=> #<Net::POP3 open=false>
$> inbox.start('', 'supersecret')
=> #<Net::POP3 open=true>
$> inbox.each_mail { |m| puts m.pop.split("\n").grep(/Subject/) }
Subject: Hello IRB!
$> pop.finish
=> "+OK Farewell."


What a ride! I hope I’ve opened your mind to some new possibilities with the language you know and love. I certainly learned a ton, and digging into these weird, dusty corners of Ruby just makes me love it even more. ❤️



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Alex Taylor

Alex Taylor is a Senior Software Developer at Clio. He has a passion for Ruby, loves tea, and rides his bike (almost) everywhere.