# Storing boolean flags in numbers

I might sound completely dumb asking this question, but well, I’ll risk
it anyway!

Some years ago I read about using a single number as a mechanism for
storing flags (on/off values) in a Java magazine.

By setting the bits in a number to either 0 or 1 you could store
enormous amounts of boolean values in a single number.

An example.

I have three flags:
Flag1
Flag2
Flag3

(The following byte sequences are written from the right)

Flag1 = true
Flag2 = false
Flag3 = false
gives:
001 => 1

Flag1 = false
Flag2 = true
Flag3 = true
gives:
110 => 6

Flag1 = true
Flag2 = false
Flag3 = true
gives:
101 => 5

In the magazine they used some sort of combination of AND and OR and XOR
and stuff like that to get the different values.
Would there be an easy way to do this in Ruby? How would one implement a
thing like this?
I basically just need a way to read the different values. I’ll try to
extend it myself so I can read any given number of flags myself. Just
need to understand how to read and set the flags!

Best regards
Sebastian

In message [email protected], Sebastian
probst Eide writes:

I basically just need a way to read the different values. I’ll try to
extend it myself so I can read any given number of flags myself. Just
need to understand how to read and set the flags!

You’re looking for “bitwise operators”.

Experiment with “5 & 4” or “1 | 4”.

-s

You’re looking for “bitwise operators”.

Experiment with “5 & 4” or “1 | 4”.

-s
Great,
thanks

p 5[2]
Wow! This is great! But is there a way to set flags this way to?

Say I have:
flags = 0b010110010

checking flag 6 is easy enough
flags[6] => 0
But how could I easily set flag 6 to 1?
flags[6] = 1 doesn’t work obviously…

Hi,

At Wed, 23 May 2007 19:46:01 +0900,
Peter S. wrote in [ruby-talk:252673]:

Experiment with “5 & 4” or “1 | 4”.

p 5[2]

On 23.05.2007 13:16, Sebastian probst Eide wrote:

p 5[2]
Wow! This is great! But is there a way to set flags this way to?

Say I have:
flags = 0b010110010

checking flag 6 is easy enough
flags[6] => 0
But how could I easily set flag 6 to 1?
flags[6] = 1 doesn’t work obviously…

Set and reset:

irb(main):001:0> flags = 0b010110010
=> 178
irb(main):002:0> flags[6]
=> 0
irb(main):003:0> flags |= 1 << 6
=> 242
irb(main):004:0> flags[6]
=> 1
irb(main):005:0> flags ^= flags[6] << 6
=> 178
irb(main):006:0> flags[6]
=> 0

Kind regards

robert

Great!
Thanks Robert