My Secret Life as a Spaghetti Coder
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I like to use descriptive variable names, and I try to err on the side of more-descriptive if I think there's any chance of confusion. contract_participants isn't terribly long, but if you're building up all of its members from different sources (i.e., you can't really loop over it), it can get cumbersome to type and worse, to read. Moreover, it's different from just "participants" and they certainly aren't "contracts," so shortening it in this case wasn't going to happen.

contract_participant.first_name = "Joe"
contract_participant.last_name = "Smith"

contract_participant.on_drugs? = params[:on_drugs?]

It doesn't really violate the spirit of DRY, but it's frustrating nevertheless.

Pulling your hair out.

I wanted to just have a scope for contract participants and not have to type it every time:

with(contract_participant) do 
    first_name = "Joe"

    last_name = "Smith"
    on_drugs? = params[:on_drugs?]

Unfortunately, unlike some languages, Ruby doesn't have such a construct. Fortunately, it does have the facilities to create one. I thought there was already an implementation, but I couldn't find it at first. So I started to write my own.

For some reason I was looking through Utility Belt and noticed it had an implementation of with():

class Object
  def with(object, &block)

    object.instance_eval &block

Unbelievable! My implementation was running into a WTF in its own right, and here was this one-liner.

Unfortunately, Utility Belt's with() didn't pass the test cases that demonstrate how I wanted to use it, so I had to move on.

With was created as a result of those efforts. It works how I want it to in the simple cases I've demonstrated. It still needs some work on left-hand-side variables that are not members of the aforementioned @foo. It needs some tests for more complex uses like nested blocks (and code to make them pass). But it works for what I imagine the majority usage would be.

Peaceful meditation

I opted for the syntax With.object(foo) do ... end so as to not force you to use a change to Object. However, you can require 'with_on_object' if you prefer to just use with(@foo). There's also a conditional patch on NilClass if empty? does not exist. It is added and removed in the same method.

It requires Ruby2Ruby and ParseTree to do its magic, though that will change soon due to compatibility problems with Ruby 1.9 and other implementations (for which another project exists, if I've read correctly).

To install, you can use: sudo gem install codeodor-with -s

Let me know if you're using it and encounter any problems. I'd like to fix them quickly, if I can.

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thanks for the update.

Posted by Rebecca M. on Mar 25, 2021 at 11:40 AM UTC - 5 hrs

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