Friday, January 18, 2013

Some undocumented differences between 1.8 and 1.9

Here I bring some differences among Ruby versions 1.8.7, 1.9.1 and 1.9.2 which I didn't found in other sites, maybe because they represent very rare use cases (or maybe because I didn't search enough). For these cases, version 1.9.3 behaves as 1.9.2. I was faced with them when trying to make Namebox compatible with Ruby 1.8.7 and 1.9.1, but after weeks of work I concluded that it doesn't worth.

Methods names' type

The method names for instance_methods will be String in 1.8.7 and Symbol since 1.9.1.
Since instance_method(method_name)don't care whether method_name is Symbol or String, this seems to be a innocuous difference, but if you code has something like Klass.instance_methods.include?("f") it will break when changing versions. This is also valid for methods and singleton_methods.

class A; def f; end; end

p A.instance_method(:f)         #=> #<Method:A#f>
p A.instance_method('f')        #=> #<Method:A#f>

p A.instance_methods(false)
#=> Ruby 1.8.7: ["f"]
#=> Ruby 1.9.1: [:f]

The superclass of the singleton class of a class

The superclass of the singleton class (also known as eigenclass) of a class X is the singleton class of the superclass of X. This follows the natural way of class methods lookup (not counting the extended modules). However, this works only since 1.9.1. In Ruby 1.8.7, the superclass of the singleton class of any class is the singleton class of the class Class:

class A; end
class B < A; end

# singleton class of B
SB = class << B; self; end

p SB        #=> #<Class:B>

p SB.superclass
#=> Ruby 1.8.7: #<Class:Class>
#=> Ruby 1.9.1: #<Class:A>

Binding class methods to a subclass

For instance methods, you can bind an unbound method to an object since that object is an instance of the method's class or subclass. For class methods, you can bind an unbound method to a subclass of the method's class (or to the class itself). This works since 1.9.2. Earlier versions raises TypeError if you try to bind a class method to a subclass:

class A
  def self.f
    "self is #{self}"

class B < A; end

p A.method(:f).unbind.bind(B).call
#=> Ruby until 1.9.1: TypeError
#=> Ruby since 1.9.2: "self is B"

super from a module method after binding

In Ruby 1.8.7, if you bind an instance method of a module to an object (of a class which includes that module), and if that method has super, it will raise NoMethodError instead of looking for the super method. It will flow normally if that method is invoked without bind.

class A
  def f

module M
  def f
    super + " world!"

class B < A
  include M

b =
p b.f       #=> "Hello world!"

p M.instance_method(:f).bind(b).call
#=> Ruby 1.8.7: NoMethodError
#=> Ruby 1.9.1: "Hello world!"

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