Module methods acting like instance methods in extension mod

I’m working with an extension module (written in C) that is a wrapper
of another C library. The extension module makes one big Ruby module
with a bunch of module methods. That is, the calls in the extension
module C code are all rb_define_module_function(…).

If I build and ‘require’ this module, I can see

irb:> TheModule.instance_methods
==> []

which is expected.

I do:

irb:> TheModule.methods - Object.methods

and get all the ones I expect to see. Ok.

What’s confusing is, in my Ruby code, when I use this module, I’m able
to do this:

require ‘the_module’
include TheModule

and then call the supposed module methods in TheModule without
prefixing them with “TheModule.”. That is, I can call “foo123” instead
of “TheModule.foo123” and it works.

Am I not understanding correctly how “include” works? Can anyone tell
me why this works? I tried it with some simple example code (pure
Ruby):

----------------- code -------------------
module TheModule
def self.foo123
puts “Doing stuff…”
end
end

include TheModule
foo123
----------------- /code -------------------

but it fails, as expected (seemingly in conflict with how the
extension module is behaving). BTW, if I try:

----------------- code -------------------
module TheModule
def self.foo123
puts “Doing stuff…”
end
end

TheModule.foo123

p TheModule.methods - Object.methods
----------------- /code -------------------

I get:

$ ./foo.rb
Doing stuff…
[“foo123”]

as expected.

Looking at README.EXT, it has this to say on the matter:

------------------------------- 8< --------------------------------
The other [way to define methods] is to define module functions, which
are private AND singleton
methods of the module. For example, sqrt is the module function
defined in Math module. It can be call in the form like:

Math.sqrt(4)

or

include Math
sqrt(4)

To define module functions, use:

void rb_define_module_function(VALUE module, const char *name,
VALUE (*func)(), int argc)
------------------------------- 8< --------------------------------

I don’t understand why it says that they’re private – I’m calling
them from my Ruby code and it seems they’re being accessed, so they
don’t seem private… What does the author of the README mean by
“private” here?

Thanks for any insights.

—John

“J” == John G. [email protected] writes:

J> Am I not understanding correctly how “include” works? Can anyone tell
J> me why this works? I tried it with some simple example code (pure
J> Ruby):

Well try this

moulon% cat b.rb
#!/usr/bin/ruby

module TheModule
def self.foo123
puts “Doing stuff…”
end

private
def foo123
puts “I’m the private method doing stuff…”
end
end

include TheModule
TheModule.foo123
foo123
self.foo123 # will give an error because it’s a private method
moulon%

moulon% ./b.rb
Doing stuff…
I’m the private method doing stuff…
./b.rb:17: private method `foo123’ called for main:Object
(NoMethodError)
moulon%

module_function define a public singleton method and a private method.

Guy Decoux

“J” == John G. [email protected] writes:

J> So, rb_define_module_function does both? Ah. Interesting.

rb_define_module_function() do the same thing than
Module#module_function

moulon% ri module_function
------------------------------------------------- Module#module_function
module_function(symbol, …) => self

 Creates module functions for the named methods. These functions may
 be called with the module as a receiver, and also become available
 as instance methods to classes that mix in the module. Module
 functions are copies of the original, and so may be changed
 independently. The instance-method versions are made private. If
 used with no arguments, subsequently defined methods become module
 functions.

    module Mod
      def one
        "This is one"
      end
      module_function :one
    end
    class Cls
      include Mod
      def callOne
        one
      end
    end
    Mod.one     #=> "This is one"
    c = Cls.new
    c.callOne   #=> "This is one"
    module Mod
      def one
        "This is the new one"
      end
    end
    Mod.one     #=> "This is one"
    c.callOne   #=> "This is the new one"

moulon%

J> Your comment “# will give an error because it’s a private method”
J> doesn’t make sense to me, since just calling ‘foo123’ does in fact
J> work, and foo123 is private.

Well, in ruby a private method is a method that you can only call “like
a
function” (see the thread send/funcall “About 1.9 #method
feature”),
i.e. without a receiver.

In this case

foo123 # will work, the method is called without a receiver
self.foo123 # will give an error because ruby will try to call
# TheModule#foo123 which is private

TheModule.foo123 # will work because ruby will call the
# singleton method TheModule::foo123, which is
# public

Guy Decoux

On 7/5/06, ts [email protected] wrote:

moulon%

module_function define a public singleton method and a private method.

Thanks for the reply Guy.

So, rb_define_module_function does both? Ah. Interesting.

Now, I’ve always read that a “singleton method” is one that you add to
your own instance of something – such that, other instances don’t
have the method; just yours. In the code above, I see a public module
method… why do you refer to it as a public “singleton” method?

Also, I see that the reason we can call foo123 like that (after doing
the include) is because it’s an instance method and we’re getting it
when we do the include. It may be private, but since we’ve included
the module, it’s like it’s a private method in our own class (which we
can of course access). The difference between calling ‘foo123’ and
‘self.foo123’ seems more subtle… possibly having to do with how the
mixin feature is implemented? (the PickAxe 2nd ed. mentions an
“anonymous proxy class”, p. 383)

Your comment “# will give an error because it’s a private method”
doesn’t make sense to me, since just calling ‘foo123’ does in fact
work, and foo123 is private.

—John

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