swapnesh swapnesh - 6 months ago 3
Ruby Question

What does to_proc method mean?

I am learning rails and following this thread. I am stuck with the

method. I consider symbols only as alternatives to strings (they are like strings but cheaper in terms of memory). If there is anything else I am missing for symbols, then please tell me. Please explain in simple way what
means and what it is used for.


Some methods take a block, and this pattern frequently appears for a block:

{|x| x.foo}

and people would like to write that in a more concise way. In order to do that, a symbol, the method Symbol#to_proc, implicit class casting, and & operator are used in combination. If you put & in front of a Proc instance in the argument position, that will be interpreted as a block. If you combine something other than a Proc instance with &, then implicit class casting will try to convert that to a Proc instance using to_proc method defined on that object if there is any. In case of a Symbol instance, to_proc works in this way:

:foo.to_proc # => ->x{x.foo}

For example, suppose you write like this:


The & operator is combined with :foo, which is not a Proc instance, so implicit class cast applies Symbol#to_proc to it, which gives ->x{x.foo}. The & now applies to this and is interpreted as a block, which gives:

bar{|x| x.foo}