Meditations on programming, startups, and technology

10 Ruby One Liners to Impress Your Friends

Someone came up with a list of 10 one-liner examples that are meant to showcase Scala’s expressiveness. A CoffeeScript version quickly emerged, so I thought I’d publish a Ruby one. I find Ruby’s syntax to be a bit cleaner than Scala’s, but the substance (at least as far as these examples are concerned) is relatively similar.

Multiply each item in a list by 2

(1..10).map { |n| n * 2 }

Sum a list of numbers

(1..1000).inject { |sum, n| sum + n }

Or using the (built in) Symbol#to_proc syntax that’s been available since Ruby 1.8.7:


Or even just passing a symbol directly:


Verify if tokens exist in a string

words = ["scala", "akka", "play framework", "sbt", "typesafe"]
tweet = "This is an example tweet talking about scala and sbt."

words.any? { |word| tweet.include?(word) }

Reading a file

file_text ="data.txt")
file_lines = File.readlines("data.txt")

The latter includes “\n” at the end of each element of the array, which can be trimmed by appending .map { |str| str.chop } or by using the alternative version:"data.txt").split(/\n/)

Happy Birthday

4.times { |n| puts "Happy Birthday #{n==2 ? "dear Tony" : "to You"}" }

Filter a list of numbers

[49, 58, 76, 82, 88, 90].partition { |n| n > 60 }

Fetch and parse an XML web service

require 'open-uri'
require 'hpricot'

results = Hpricot(open(""))

This example requires open-uri and hpricot or equivalent libraries (you could use builtin ones if you wish). It’s not too much code, but Scala clearly wins here.

Find minimum (or maximum) in a list

[14, 35, -7, 46, 98].min
[14, 35, -7, 46, 98].max

Parallel Processing

require 'parallel' do |chunk|

Unlike Scala, multicore support is not built-in. It requires parallel or a similar gem.

Sieve of Eratosthenes

The Scala one liner is very clever, but entirely unreadable. A simpler implementation that is no longer a one-liner in Ruby would be:

index = 0
while primes[index]**2 <= primes.last
      prime = primes[index]
      primes = { |x| x == prime || x % prime != 0 }
      index += 1
p primes

This last example is straight from StackOverflow. Not the prettiest code ever, but you get the idea.

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22 Responses to “10 Ruby One Liners to Impress Your Friends”

  1. Florian Gilcher says:

    Sum can also be written as:


  2. Florian Gilcher says:

    Sorry for the double post:

    Words can be written as:

    words.any? {|word| tweet.include?(word)}

  3. josh susser says:

    words.any? { |word| tweet.include?(word) }

    inject is fancy, but there’s almost always a better method to use.

  4. brainopia says:

    There is much shorter solutions for prime example, like:
    def prime?(x)
    (‘1’ * x) !~ /^1?$|^(11+?)\1+$/

    Also ruby already contains library called “prime”.

    require ‘prime’ # => true
    Prime.take(3) # => [2, 3, 5]
    99.prime_division # => [[3,2], [11,1]]

    • > There is much shorter solutions for prime example, like:

      Yeah, I read that article too. But again, it’s pretty unreadable and using a Regexp to verify primes just feels wrong. 🙂

      > Also ruby already contains library called “prime”.

      That’s a bit different than implementing a Sieve of Eratosthenes algorithm yourself though. It’s cheating, if you will. 😉

  5. […] 10 Scala / Ruby / Clojure / CoffeeScript one liners to impress your friends, i thought it might be interesting to […]

  6. Roger Braun says:

    I don’t know if you can really call this an implementation of the sieve, but it works in a similar way and shows how you could write similar one-liners in Ruby.

    (2..1000).inject([]){|r, v| r.inject(false){|k, j| k or v % j == 0} ? r : r.push(v)}

  7. Joel Meador says:

    If you’re in rails (or have ActiveSupport at least), summing a range/array is easy:

  8. David says:

    Here’s my Sieve, slightly shorter than the one you posted.

    nums = (2..n).to_a

    nums.each { |num|! { |i| i % num == 0 && i != num ? nil : i }.compact! }

  9. nobu says:

    $ ruby -rprime -e ‘p Prime.take(10)’
    [2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19, 23, 29]

    $ ruby -rprime -e ‘p Prime.take_while{|x|x < 20}'
    [2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13, 17, 19]

  10. Cyrus says:

    I like these one liners.

    However the Sieve of Eratosthenes implementations should perhaps be named something else. Here is a very nice explanation for a true sieve by Melissa E. O’Neill,

    Its very interesting read and fun to implement in ruby (or Erlang, etc).

  11. al says:

    This is a bit disappointing. I was expecting some wicked tricks but it’s just basic stuff any Ruby developer would know. Maybe a better title would be “Ruby one liners for beginners”.

    • Al, these are definitely basic one liners. They are just a Ruby translation of a Scala post made by someone else. They’d probably look more impressive to people used to mainstream statically typed languages like Java or C++.

  12. steve says:

    > I find Ruby’s syntax to be a bit cleaner than Scala’s

    As far as I understood the author of “10 Scala One Liners to Impress Your Friends” really decided to use some more complicated constructs tobe sure to impress.

    > (1..1000).inject(&:+)
    > [14, 35, -7, 46, 98].min
    > [14, 35, -7, 46, 98].max

    could be written as

    > 1 to 1000 sum
    > List(14, 35, -7, 46, 98) min
    > List(14, 35, -7, 46, 98) max

    in Scala.

    The Ruby code (as well as the original Scala example have the problem that their algorithm (accumulating the result of adding every number of the range) is O(n) which is really really slow!

    Summing 1 to Int.MaxValue takes ~35 seconds in Scala (so probably a few minutes in Ruby).

    There exists a ticket for #sum in Scala to make it an O(1) operation.

  13. […] the meme (scala, ruby, clojure, python, f#, coffeescript, […]

  14. […] days ago, Antonio posted a list of 10 Ruby one-liners. The 1-liners saga started […]

  15. Sijo says:

    I thought
    (1..1).inject { |sum, n| sum + n } and
    (1..1).sum will return 2 but it is 1. Can anybody please explain

  16. oldmoe says:

    def fib(n, h= n < 2? 1 : fib( n -1) + fib(n-2)); h; end

    I recall seeing this Fibonacci function somewhere, makes an interesting one liner I suppose

  17. […] 10 Scala One Liners to Impress Your Friends, which then led to (not in this order) 10 Ruby One Liners to Impress Your Friends, 10 Python one liners to impress your friends, 10 Clojure One Liners to Impress Your Friends, F# […]

  18. doel says:

    I liked the concept pf ||= in ruby
    a ||= b

  19. […] ????????????????????? Scala ? 10 ????????????????????????????????????????????????? Haskell?Ruby?Groovy?Clojure?Python?C#?????F#?CoffeeScript? […]

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