Calling private accessors

Hi,

i bumbed into something weird today, and would like to know what’s going
on… here’s a contrived example:

class Test
attr_reader :name

def set_the_name(value)
name = value
end

private

def name=(value)
@name = value
end
end

test = Test.new
test.set_the_name “some name”
p test

the output of this on ruby 1.8.7 (as wel as on 1.9.2) is:

#Test:0x7fef6dc8

the name accessor wasn’t called, but there was no error either

if i change the set_the_name method to this:

def set_the_name(value)
self.name = value
end

then the output changes to this:

#<Test:0x7fef6da0 @name=“some name”>

there are two things i don’t quite understand about this:

  1. i thought private methods should never be called through self, and
    that
    they are implicitely called on self. calling a non-accessor private
    method
    on self does raise the expected error. why does the accessor need to be
    called using self?
  2. when calling the private accessor without using self, its
    implementation
    clearly isn’t executed but no exception is raised either… why is that?

Davy B. wrote:

def set_the_name(value)
name = value
end

To Ruby, that’s an assignment to a local variable, which then drops out
of scope. That’s why you have to do “self.name= value” to call the
method.

If it really were private, you’d need

send(:name=, value)

although being private rather negates the purpose of an ‘accessor’ which
is to make values accessible :slight_smile:

when calling the private accessor without using self, its
implementation
clearly isn’t executed but no exception is raised either… why is that?

Because it’s perfectly legal to assign a value to a local variable :slight_smile:

On Fri, Sep 10, 2010 at 4:18 PM, Brian C. [email protected]
wrote:

Davy B. wrote:

def set_the_name(value)
name = value
end

To Ruby, that’s an assignment to a local variable, which then drops out
of scope. That’s why you have to do “self.name= value” to call the
method.

d’oh! of course :slight_smile:

If it really were private, you’d need

send(:name=, value)

although being private rather negates the purpose of an ‘accessor’ which
is to make values accessible :slight_smile:

in this case, i only want the accessor to be acessible to the class and
its
subclasses, mainly because the subclasses need to be able to override
the
‘storage mechanism’ (ie: backing field vs hash or something)… it’s a
bid
of an edge-case though :slight_smile:

when calling the private accessor without using self, its
implementation
clearly isn’t executed but no exception is raised either… why is that?

Because it’s perfectly legal to assign a value to a local variable :slight_smile:

obviously :stuck_out_tongue:

in this case, i only want the accessor to be acessible to the class and its
subclasses, mainly because the subclasses need to be able to override the
‘storage mechanism’ (ie: backing field vs hash or something)… it’s a bid
of an edge-case though :slight_smile:

that is called ‘protected’ not ‘private’ - just that change should do
it.

-a

This forum is not affiliated to the Ruby language, Ruby on Rails framework, nor any Ruby applications discussed here.

| Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Remote Ruby Jobs