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Being Agile

Pete Hodgson's blurgh

An Inverted Include? For Ruby

I’ve always found it a slightly hard to read ruby which uses Enumerable#include?(), especially when the Enumerable your testing against is a literal or a constant. For example, let’s say you’re checking an input parameter to guard against invalid input. You might write something like:

unless VALID_COMMANDS.include?( command_param )
  whine_to_user()
  return
end

This makes sense, but it seems backwards to me. I don’t care whether some array has a value in it so much as I care whether a value is in some array. Obviously that’s just two ways of saying the same thing, but the latter seems to capture the intent much more to me. I think it would be easier to understand this:

unless command_param.in?( VALID_COMMANDS )
  whine_to_user()
  return
end

This evening it (finally) dawned on me that this would be ridiculously trivial to implement:

class Object
  def in?( enumerable )
    enumerable.include?(self)
  end
end

In fact, this was such a trivial fix that I’m now left wondering (a) whether this is already in ActiveSupport or Facets or whatever and I just haven’t found it yet and (b) whether there’s some huge flaw in this that I’m not spotting…