Extremely Noobish Documentation Question

Hello all,

I am a Java programmer and am attempting to learn Ruby. What I have
seen so far, I really like. I have been through two of the tutorials
linked to from the main site and read the Poignant Guide to Ruby.
However, when I refer to the actual documentation, I find it lacking …
or maybe I’m just confused. In many examples I have seen File.open used
but when I refer to the official documentation
(http://www.ruby-doc.org/core/) the ‘open’ method is not listed for the
File class.

After doing some digging, I think I understand that it is some kind of
alias to ‘new’ but how would I know that (if I’m even right). Also, I
think File inherits from IO but I can’t see in the documentation where
this is indicated. Am I just looking at it all wrong? Am I looking in
the wrong place? Basically, I like the language but the documentation I
have seen appears to be lacking compared to the Java API. Any help
would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Paco

Patrick McNally wrote:
In many examples I have seen File.open used

but when I refer to the official documentation
(http://www.ruby-doc.org/core/) the ‘open’ method is not listed for the
File class.

Paco

Hi,

open methed is a method defined in kernel module. Open a window prompt
and try the following

C:>ri open
More than one method matched your request. You can refine
your search by asking for information on one of:

 CSV::open, CSV::open_reader, CSV::open_writer, Dir::open,
 ...
 Iconv::open, IO::open, IO::popen, IO::sysopen, IO#reopen,
 Kernel#open, Kernel#open_uri_original_open,
 ...          Win32::EventLog::open_backup

Form the screen you can see kernel#open. This is where open comes from.
BTW Ruby is case sensitive.

After that you can try the follows

C:>ri Kernel.open
------------------------------------------------------------ Kernel#open
open(path [, mode [, perm]] ) => io or nil
open(path [, mode [, perm]] ) {|io| block } => obj

 Creates an +IO+ object connected to the given stream, file, or
 subprocess.

 ....
    open("testfile") do |f|
      print f.gets
    end

 _produces:_

    This is line one

 Open a subprocess and read its output:

    cmd = open("|date")
    print cmd.gets
    cmd.close

 _produces:_

    Wed Apr  9 08:56:31 CDT 2003

– More –

Li

open methed is a method defined in kernel module

Thank you for the quick response. I see that now but I guess my
underlying questions still remains. What should indicate that the
method is part of Kernel and why is it invoked when I call ‘File.open’?
I apologize if I am asking these questions in the wrong place. I’m just
feeling a little lost.

If there is a more comprehensive resource that I should read, let me
know. I hate to be asking questions that have answers elsewhere, but
I’ve found that most of the documentation I have seen does not answer
the questions I have.

-Paco

Patrick McNally wrote:

know. I hate to be asking questions that have answers elsewhere, but
I’ve found that most of the documentation I have seen does not answer
the questions I have.

-Paco

Ruby’s doc is not as comprehensive as Java’s. That’s all there is to it.
There’s also 100 million Java books but only 2 dozen or so for Ruby.
You’ll catch up as you go along. In addition to ruby-doc, I recommend
you get a copy of Dave T.’ Programming_Ruby. If you really get
into Ruby there’s a couple other good books. Consider Hal F.‘s
The_Ruby_Way, David Black’s Ruby_for_Rails, or the Ruby_Cookbook
(can’t remember the authors’ names).

Patrick McNally wrote:

open methed is a method defined in kernel module

Thank you for the quick response. I see that now but I guess my
underlying questions still remains. What should indicate that the
method is part of Kernel and why is it invoked when I call ‘File.open’?
I apologize if I am asking these questions in the wrong place. I’m just
feeling a little lost.

If there is a more comprehensive resource that I should read, let me
know. I hate to be asking questions that have answers elsewhere, but
I’ve found that most of the documentation I have seen does not answer
the questions I have.

-Paco

check this out
http://dev.rubycentral.com/ref/

or Pickaxe 1st edition(online version)
http://www.ruby-doc.org/docs/ProgrammingRuby/

But the better means is to buy a Pickaxe 2nd edition(Dave T.’
Programming Ruby) and read it on the bed when you feel there is nothing
else to do.

Li

Patrick McNally wrote:

open methed is a method defined in kernel module

Thank you for the quick response. I see that now but I guess my
underlying questions still remains. What should indicate that the
method is part of Kernel and why is it invoked when I call ‘File.open’?

Because the File class inherits all the methods from the Kernel class:

p File.ancestors

[File, IO, File::Constants, Enumerable, Object, Kernel]

Like any other class, File has access to the methods of its ancestors.

Patrick McNally schrieb:

open methed is a method defined in kernel module

Thank you for the quick response.
This answer was not correct. You cannot find the File.open method,
because there is none. It is inherited from the IO class, because File <
IO == true. If you want to find out where a method is located you can
type this into irb:

File.method(:open)

=> #<Method: File(IO).open>

This shows the inheritance relation. Ruby’s rdoc/ri is a bit stupid, and
can’t locate inherited methods so well.

There is also a Kernel#open method, that is mixed into the Object class
as a private method. This makes it possible to open a file by calling
open(filename) do |file|
#…
end
from everywhere. If you call File.open this isn’t the method called,
because IO#open is found first:

require ‘pp’; pp File.ancestors.map { |klass| [ klass,
klass.method(:open) ] }
[[File, #<Method: File(IO).open>],
[IO, #<Method: IO.open>],
[File::Constants, #<Method: Module(Kernel)#open>],
[Enumerable, #<Method: Module(Kernel)#open>],
[Object, #<Method: Class(Kernel)#open>],
[PP::ObjectMixin, #<Method: Module(Kernel)#open>],
[Kernel, #<Method: Kernel.open>]]

You can call Kernel#open only without an explicit receiver, because it
is private. That’s why calling, e. g., Array.open would fail with a
NoMethodError.

Paco P. [email protected] wrote:

In many examples I have seen File.open used
but when I refer to the official documentation
(http://www.ruby-doc.org/core/) the ‘open’ method is not listed for the
File class.

Isn’t the problem here that the File class inherits from the IO class?
IO has an open method, therefore File has an open method. But you have
to look under IO to see it.

It might be helpful to have on hand a script that reports a class’s
methods by cycling up the inheritance chain for you:

def method_report(klass)
result = klass.ancestors.inject(Array.new) do |result, anc|
ms = (anc.instance_methods + anc.methods).sort.uniq
result.last[1] -= ms if result.last
result << [anc.name, ms]
end
result.each do |k, v|
puts “----”, k
v.each {|m| puts “\s\s#{m}”}
end
end

and here’s how to use it

method_report(File)

m.

Le dimanche 26 novembre 2006 22:53, Paco P. a écrit :


but when I refer to the official documentation
(http://www.ruby-doc.org/core/) the ‘open’ method is not listed for the
File class.

You did everything well : ruby-doc.org is the place to find the api, and
you
should have found exactly what you were looking for (eg. the File.open
class
method), in normal time…

But for some reasons, it happens that the generated doc gets bloated by
classes that should not be there, in the core api. Maybe a mistake from
someone, maybe a technical problem, perhaps someone in the ML knows what
happens ?
In any case, this is annoying : in your case, the original File class
api was
replaced by another one, which is useless to you.

You can use ri instead, but it’s not as simple as ruby-doc. And I don’t
know
another place to find this api. Another solution is to generate the api
yourself with rdoc.

On Sun, 26 Nov 2006 23:09:07 -0000, matt neuburg [email protected]
wrote:

It might be helpful to have on hand a script that reports a class’s
methods by cycling up the inheritance chain for you:

Or, get fastri:

$ fri File.open
--------------------------------------------------------------- IO::open
IO.open(fd, mode_string=“r” ) => io
IO.open(fd, mode_string=“r” ) {|io| block } => obj

  With no associated block, open is a synonym for IO::new. If the
  optional code block is given, it will be passed io as an argument,
  and the IO object will automatically be closed when the block
  terminates. In this instance, IO::open returns the value of the
  block.

It handles the inheritance stuff much better than RI.
See http://eigenclass.org/hiki.rb?fastri+0.2.0

Timothy H. wrote:

Patrick McNally wrote:

know. I hate to be asking questions that have answers elsewhere, but
I’ve found that most of the documentation I have seen does not answer
the questions I have.

-Paco

Ruby’s doc is not as comprehensive as Java’s. That’s all there is to it.
There’s also 100 million Java books but only 2 dozen or so for Ruby.
You’ll catch up as you go along. In addition to ruby-doc, I recommend
you get a copy of Dave T.’ Programming_Ruby. If you really get
into Ruby there’s a couple other good books. Consider Hal F.‘s
The_Ruby_Way, David Black’s Ruby_for_Rails, or the Ruby_Cookbook
(can’t remember the authors’ names).

Ruby Cookbook, by Lucas Carlson and Leonard Richardson (O’Reiily).
Highly recommended, after you finish Pickaxe II.

Hi –

On Mon, 27 Nov 2006, Paul L. wrote:

p File.ancestors

[File, IO, File::Constants, Enumerable, Object, Kernel]

Like any other class, File has access to the methods of its ancestors.

In this case, though, the open that gets called is the class method
from IO, rather than the instance method from Kernel. All objects
have access to that instance method, but since it’s private, it
doesn’t usually do them much good.

David

Hi –

On Mon, 27 Nov 2006, Patrick McNally wrote:

open methed is a method defined in kernel module

Thank you for the quick response. I see that now but I guess my
underlying questions still remains. What should indicate that the
method is part of Kernel and why is it invoked when I call ‘File.open’?

It isn’t; the method that’s invoked is IO.open. Here’s a (very)
schematic version of what’s going on:

module Kernel
def open(*args)
# do one of these:
IO.open(args)
# or
IO.popen(args)
# depending on presence of pipe character
end

 private :open

end

class IO
def IO.open(*args)
io_object = new
# now do some logic branching, depending on whether
# or not a code block is present in the method call
return io_object
end
end

class File < IO
end

Now, note the following:

Kernel#open is a private instance method of Kernel. That means that
every Ruby object can see that method. It also means (for reasons I
won’t go into here, but that are in my book :slight_smile: that you can only ever
call it without an explicit receiver:

some_random_object.open(…) # no good: trying to call private
# method “open”
open(…) # OK, because no receiver present

If IO.open didn’t exist, then when you did:

IO.open(…)

Ruby would think you were trying to call the private Kernel method
“open”. But in fact you’re not, because there’s a new and separate
open method defined as a class method in IO.

Finally, File.open works because, as a subclass of IO, File gets to call
IO’s class methods. File.open, like IO.open, is not the same as the
generic, private open method provided by the Kernel module.

You can even show this in action, by overriding Kernel#open. (This
will create a public version of it, so I won’t get the error message
about calling a private message.)

irb(main):001:0> module Kernel; def open; “Hello!”; end; end
=> nil
irb(main):002:0> 1.open
=> “Hello!”
irb(main):003:0> “some string”.open
=> “Hello!”
irb(main):004:0> IO.open
ArgumentError: wrong number of arguments (0 for 1)

Well, I got an error on IO.open, but that shows that the method being
called was IO.open, and not the new version of Kernel#open.

David

Ross B. [email protected] wrote:

  IO.open(fd, mode_string="r" )               => io
  IO.open(fd, mode_string="r" ) {|io| block } => obj

Nevertheless, fastri does not list “open” among File’s method’s:

matt-neuburgs-imac-g5:~ mattneub$ fri File
------------------------------------------------------------ Class: File
[snip]

[snip]
Class methods:
atime, basename, blockdev?, catname, chardev?, chmod, chmod,
chown, compare, copy, ctime, delete, directory?, dirname,
executable?, executable_real?, exist?, exists?, expand_path,
extname, file?, fnmatch, fnmatch?, ftype, grpowned?, identical?,
install, join, lchmod, lchown, link, lstat, makedirs, move, mtime,
new, owned?, pipe?, readable?, readable_real?, readlink, rename,
safe_unlink, setgid?, setuid?, size, size?, socket?, split, stat,
sticky?, symlink, symlink?, syscopy, truncate, umask, unlink,
utime, writable?, writable_real?, zero?

Instance methods:
atime, chmod, chown, ctime, flock, lstat, mtime, o_chmod, path,
truncate

That is why I supplied a script that does list it. Perhaps this could be
a reasonable feature request for a future version of fastri. m.

Wow! I have to say I’m a little shocked at how many people were so
quick to help. Thank you all. Being a Java developer (therefore
familiar with inheritance) I was going to ask whether it was really
IO.open being used but thought I would read a little more in case I was
missing something.

Thanks for all the reading suggestions too. I’ll probably pick up one
or two to read over the Christmas break. Pickaxe II sounds like a
popular choice. I’m a little disappointed in the API documentation
(what is that entry for File that doesn’t even show it has a Parent?)
but I’ll give fastri a shot. Thanks again for all the help.

-Paco

On 11/26/06, Paco P. [email protected] wrote:

Basically, I like the language but the documentation I
have seen appears to be lacking compared to the Java API. Any help
would be greatly appreciated.

The problem you’re trying to solve seems to be the same
I tried to solve with magic/help - documentation is there,
but it’s difficult to find the right one.

With magic/help you can do:
irb> help ‘File.open’
or even:
irb> help { File.open }
magic/help then uses reflection, Ruby debugging hooks,
and other tricks, so if what you’re looking for is there,
magic/help is going to find it for you :wink:

You can find more about magic/help at
http://t-a-w.blogspot.com/2006/11/magichelp-for-ruby.html

Some improvements from magic/help have been incorporated into
recent versions of fastri, so fastri often works when the standard ri
wouldn’t.

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