Hi! I'm Nathan Hoad

Ruby: Multiple assignment

A handy feature of Ruby is that it lets you assign multiple variables at once. While doing this all the time is not encouraged, where it makes the code more readable/understandable it is certainly something to try.

It's as simple as:

first, second = 1, 2
puts first # 1
puts second # 2

third, fourth, last = [3, 4, 5]
puts third # 3
puts fourth # 4
puts last # 5

But beware, although the outcome technically makes sense this might be unexpected in some situations:

first, second = 1 # first is 1, second is nil

There are a heap of uses for this kind of thing.

# Reversing two variables
x = 1
y = 2
x, y = y, x # x is now 2, y is now 1

# Breaking up a name
name = "Nathan Hoad"
first_name, last_name = name.split

puts first_name # Nathan
puts last_name # Hoad

Personally, I think splitting names is one of the better examples of a good time to use multiple variable setting. What do you think?

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