The Ruby splat operator can destructure arrays
05 Apr 2021
Today I learned about the splat operator in ruby, aka the
* or asterisk operator.
I came across some code like this in the readme for Motion:
def handle_created(name) @todos = [name, *@todos.first(@count - 1)] end
And I couldn't figure out what that middle line did. I can see it's assigning an array to a variable. The first element of the array will be the
name parameter that's provided to the method. But what is going on with
*@todos.first(@count - 1)?
I was most confused about the
*, but I also wasn't sure why
first was taking an argument. At first I guessed it was finding the first element that matched the condition
@count - 1, but that didn't make much sense. Actually,
first takes an argument that tells it to return the first
x elements of the array it's called on.
Okay, so this * thing is operating on an array. I learned from my helpful coworkers that one thing the splat operator can do is destructure the array it's called on, so something like:
[1, *[2, 3]] => [1, 2, 3]
So, that method in the middle is taking a new
name, and making a new array where that
name is the first element and all the
todos that were already in the array follow that element. The result is one single array with a list of names in it.
Next I read this article on the splat operator and learned a bunch more cool things this operator can do.
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