sawa sawa - 8 months ago 43
Ruby Question

What does Module.private_constant do? Is there a way to list only private constants?

Starting in Ruby 1.9.3, we can create private constants:

module M
class C; end
private_constant :C

Is there a good documentation about what this does? Is there a way to get the names of only private constants similar to calling


As of Ruby 2.1, while Module#constants includes only public constants, if you set inherit=false, you will get private constants as well. So if you find a constant in constants(false) but not in constants (and you don't care about inherited constants), that might be a more or less reliable way to tell if it's private.

class Module
  def private_constants
    constants(false) - constants

module Foo
  X = 1
  Y = 2
  private_constant :Y

puts "Foo.constants = #{Foo.constants}"
puts "Foo.constants(false) = #{Foo.constants(false)}"
puts "Foo.private_constants = #{Foo.private_constants}"

# => Foo.constants = [:X]
# => Foo.constants(false) = [:X, :Y]
# => Foo.private_constants = [:Y]

This is undocumented, and I'm not sure if it's intentional, but empirically it works. I would back it up with unit tests.

Update: It looks like this is a bug in Ruby, and may disappear in a future version.