chug2k chug2k - 24 days ago 4
Ruby Question

Breaking up long strings on multiple lines in Ruby without stripping newlines

We recently decided at my job to a ruby style guide. One of the edicts is that no line should be wider than 80 characters. Since this is a Rails project, we often have strings that are a little bit longer - i.e. "User X wanted to send you a message about Thing Y" that doesn't always fit within the 80 character style limit.

I understand there are three ways to have a long string span multiple lines:


  • %Q{}

  • Actual string concatenation.

However, all of these cases end up taking more computation cycles, which seems silly. String concatenation obviously, but for HEREDOC and %Q I have to strip out the newlines, via something like .gsub(/\n$/, '').

Is there a pure syntax way to do this, that is equivalent to just having the whole string on one line? The goal being, obviously, to not spend any extra cycles just because I want my code to be slightly more readable. (Yes, I realize that you have to make that tradeoff a lot...but for string length, this just seems silly.)

Backslashes aren't exactly what I want because you lose indentation, which really affects style/readability.


if foo
string = "this is a \
string that spans lines"

I find the above a bit hard to read.

EDIT: I added an answer below; three years later we now have the squiggly heredoc.


Three years later, there is now a solution in Ruby 2.3: The squiggly heredoc.

class Subscription
  def warning_message
      Subscription expiring soon!
      Your free trial will expire in #{days_until_expiration} days.
      Please update your billing information.

Blog post link:

The indentation of the least-indented line will be removed from each line of the content.