Ruby Hashes

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A Hash is a collection of key-value pairs like this: "employee" => "salary". It is similar to an Array, except that indexing is done via arbitrary keys of any object type, not an integer index.

The order in which you traverse a hash by either key or value may seem arbitrary and will generally not be in the insertion order. If you attempt to access a hash with a key that does not exist, the method will return nil.

Creating Hashes:

As with arrays, there is a variety of ways to create hashes. You can create an empty hash with the new class method:

months = Hash.new

You can also use new to create a hash with a default value, which is otherwise just nil:

months = Hash.new( "month" )

or

months = Hash.new "month"

When you access any key in a hash that has a default value, if the key or value doesn't exist, accessing the hash will return the default value:

#!/usr/bin/ruby

months = Hash.new( "month" )

puts "#{months[0]}"
puts "#{months[72]}"

This will produce the following result:

month
month
#!/usr/bin/ruby

H = Hash["a" => 100, "b" => 200]

puts "#{H['a']}"
puts "#{H['b']}"

This will produce the following result:

100
200

You can use any Ruby object as a key or value, even an array, so following example is a valid one:

[1,"jan"] => "January"

Hash Built-in Methods:

We need to have an instance of Hash object to call a Hash method. As we have seen, following is the way to create an instance of Hash object:

Hash[[key =>|, value]* ] or

Hash.new [or] Hash.new(obj) [or]

Hash.new { |hash, key| block }

This will return a new hash populated with the given objects. Now using created object we can call any available instance methods. For example:

#!/usr/bin/ruby

$, = ", "
months = Hash.new( "month" )

months = {"1" => "January", "2" => "February"}

keys = months.keys

puts "#{keys}"

This will produce the following result:

2, 1

Following are the public hash methods (assuming hash is an array object ):

SNMethods with Description
1hash == other_hash
Tests whether two hashes are equal, based on whether they have the same number of key-value pairs, and whether the key-value pairs match the corresponding pair in each hash.
2hash.[key]
Using a key, references a value from hash. If the key is not found, returns a default value.
3hash.[key]=value
Associates the value given by value with the key given by key.
4hash.clear
Removes all key-value pairs from hash.
5hash.default(key = nil)
Returns the default value for hash, nil if not set by default=. ([] returns a default value if the key does not exist in hash.)
6hash.default = obj
Sets a default value for hash.
7hash.default_proc
Returns a block if hash was created by a block.
8hash.delete(key) [or]
array.delete(key) { |key| block }

Deletes a key-value pair from hash by key. If block is used, returns the result of a block if pair is not found. Compare delete_if.
9hash.delete_if { |key,value| block }
Deletes a key-value pair from hash for every pair the block evaluates to true.
10hash.each { |key,value| block }
Iterates over hash, calling the block once for each key, passing the key-value as a two-element array.
11hash.each_key { |key| block }
Iterates over hash, calling the block once for each key, passing key as a parameter.
12hash.each_key { |key_value_array| block }
Iterates over hash, calling the block once for each key, passing the key and value as parameters.
13hash.each_key { |value| block }
Iterates over hash, calling the block once for each key, passing value as a parameter.
14hash.empty?
Tests whether hash is empty (contains no key-value pairs), returning true or false.
15hash.fetch(key [, default] ) [or]
hash.fetch(key) { | key | block }

Returns a value from hash for the given key. If the key can't be found, and there are no other arguments, it raises an IndexError exception; if default is given, it is returned; if the optional block is specified, its result is returned.
16hash.has_key?(key) [or] hash.include?(key) [or]
hash.key?(key) [or] hash.member?(key)

Tests whether a given key is present in hash, returning true or false.
17hash.has_value?(value)
Tests whether hash contains the given value.
18hash.index(value)
Returns the key for the given value in hash, nil if no matching value is found.
19hash.indexes(keys)
Returns a new array consisting of values for the given key(s). Will insert the default value for keys that are not found. This method is deprecated. Use select.
20hash.indices(keys)
Returns a new array consisting of values for the given key(s). Will insert the default value for keys that are not found. This method is deprecated. Use select.
21hash.inspect
Returns a pretty print string version of hash.
22hash.invert
Creates a new hash, inverting keys and values from hash; that is, in the new hash, the keys from hash become values and values become keys.
23hash.keys
Creates a new array with keys from hash.
24hash.length
Returns the size or length of hash as an integer.
25hash.merge(other_hash) [or]
hash.merge(other_hash) { |key, oldval, newval| block }

Returns a new hash containing the contents of hash and other_hash, overwriting pairs in hash with duplicate keys with those from other_hash.
26hash.merge!(other_hash) [or]
hash.merge!(other_hash) { |key, oldval, newval| block }

Same as merge, but changes are done in place.
27hash.rehash
Rebuilds hash based on the current values for each key. If values have changed since they were inserted, this method reindexes hash.
28hash.reject { |key, value| block }
Creates a new hash for every pair the block evaluates to true
29hash.reject! { |key, value| block }
Same as reject, but changes are made in place.
30hash.replace(other_hash)
Replaces the contents of hash with the contents of other_ hash.
31hash.select { |key, value| block }
Returns a new array consisting of key-value pairs from hash for which the block returns true.
32hash.shift
Removes a key-value pair from hash, returning it as a two-element array.
33hash.size
Returns the size or length of hash as an integer.
34hash.sort
Converts hash to a two-dimensional array containing arrays of key-value pairs, then sorts it as an array.
35hash.store(key, value)
Stores a key-value pair in hash.
36hash.to_a
Creates a two-dimensional array from hash. Each key/value pair is converted to an array, and all these arrays are stored in a containing array.
37hash.to_hash
Returns hash (self).
38hash.to_s
Converts hash to an array, then converts that array to a string.
39hash.update(other_hash) [or]
hash.update(other_hash) {|key, oldval, newval| block}

Returns a new hash containing the contents of hash and other_hash, overwriting pairs in hash with duplicate keys with those from other_hash.
40hash.value?(value)
Tests whether hash contains the given value.
41hash.values
Returns a new array containing all the values of hash.
42hash.values_at(obj, ...)
Returns a new array containing the values from hash that are associated with the given key or keys.


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