Class

A Proc object is an encapsulation of a block of code, which can be stored in a local variable, passed to a method or another Proc, and can be called. Proc is an essential concept in Ruby and a core of its functional programming features.

square = Proc.new {|x| x**2 }

square.call(3)  #=> 9
# shorthands:
square.(3)      #=> 9
square[3]       #=> 9

Proc objects are closures, meaning they remember and can use the entire context in which they were created.

def gen_times(factor)
  Proc.new {|n| n*factor } # remembers the value of factor at the moment of creation
end

times3 = gen_times(3)
times5 = gen_times(5)

times3.call(12)               #=> 36
times5.call(5)                #=> 25
times3.call(times5.call(4))   #=> 60

Creation

There are several methods to create a Proc

  • Use the Proc class constructor:

    proc1 = Proc.new {|x| x**2 }
    
  • Use the Kernel#proc method as a shorthand of Proc.new:

    proc2 = proc {|x| x**2 }
    
  • Receiving a block of code into proc argument (note the &):

    def make_proc(&block)
      block
    end
    
    proc3 = make_proc {|x| x**2 }
    
  • Construct a proc with lambda semantics using the Kernel#lambda method (see below for explanations about lambdas):

    lambda1 = lambda {|x| x**2 }
    
  • Use the Lambda literal syntax (also constructs a proc with lambda semantics):

    lambda2 = ->(x) { x**2 }
    

Lambda and non-lambda semantics

Procs are coming in two flavors: lambda and non-lambda (regular procs). Differences are:

  • In lambdas, return means exit from this lambda;

  • In regular procs, return means exit from embracing method (and will throw LocalJumpError if invoked outside the method);

  • In lambdas, arguments are treated in the same way as in methods: strict, with ArgumentError for mismatching argument number, and no additional argument processing;

  • Regular procs accept arguments more generously: missing arguments are filled with nil, single Array arguments are deconstructed if the proc has multiple arguments, and there is no error raised on extra arguments.

Examples:

p = proc {|x, y| "x=#{x}, y=#{y}" }
p.call(1, 2)      #=> "x=1, y=2"
p.call([1, 2])    #=> "x=1, y=2", array deconstructed
p.call(1, 2, 8)   #=> "x=1, y=2", extra argument discarded
p.call(1)         #=> "x=1, y=", nil substituted instead of error

l = lambda {|x, y| "x=#{x}, y=#{y}" }
l.call(1, 2)      #=> "x=1, y=2"
l.call([1, 2])    # ArgumentError: wrong number of arguments (given 1, expected 2)
l.call(1, 2, 8)   # ArgumentError: wrong number of arguments (given 3, expected 2)
l.call(1)         # ArgumentError: wrong number of arguments (given 1, expected 2)

def test_return
  -> { return 3 }.call      # just returns from lambda into method body
  proc { return 4 }.call    # returns from method
  return 5
end

test_return # => 4, return from proc

Lambdas are useful as self-sufficient functions, in particular useful as arguments to higher-order functions, behaving exactly like Ruby methods.

Procs are useful for implementing iterators:

def test
  [[1, 2], [3, 4], [5, 6]].map {|a, b| return a if a + b > 10 }
                            #  ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
end

Inside map, the block of code is treated as a regular (non-lambda) proc, which means that the internal arrays will be deconstructed to pairs of arguments, and return will exit from the method test. That would not be possible with a stricter lambda.

You can tell a lambda from a regular proc by using the lambda? instance method.

Lambda semantics is typically preserved during the proc lifetime, including &-deconstruction to a block of code:

p = proc {|x, y| x }
l = lambda {|x, y| x }
[[1, 2], [3, 4]].map(&p) #=> [1, 2]
[[1, 2], [3, 4]].map(&l) # ArgumentError: wrong number of arguments (given 1, expected 2)

The only exception is dynamic method definition: even if defined by passing a non-lambda proc, methods still have normal semantics of argument checking.

class C
  define_method(:e, &proc {})
end
C.new.e(1,2)       #=> ArgumentError
C.new.method(:e).to_proc.lambda?   #=> true

This exception ensures that methods never have unusual argument passing conventions, and makes it easy to have wrappers defining methods that behave as usual.

class C
  def self.def2(name, &body)
    define_method(name, &body)
  end

  def2(:f) {}
end
C.new.f(1,2)       #=> ArgumentError

The wrapper def2 receives body as a non-lambda proc, yet defines a method which has normal semantics.

Conversion of other objects to procs

Any object that implements the to_proc method can be converted into a proc by the & operator, and therefore con be consumed by iterators.

class Greater
  def initialize(greating)
    @greating = greating
  end

  def to_proc
    proc {|name| "#{@greating}, #{name}!" }
  end
end

hi = Greater.new("Hi")
hey = Greater.new("Hey")
["Bob", "Jane"].map(&hi)    #=> ["Hi, Bob!", "Hi, Jane!"]
["Bob", "Jane"].map(&hey)   #=> ["Hey, Bob!", "Hey, Jane!"]

Of the Ruby core classes, this method is implemented by Symbol, Method, and Hash.

:to_s.to_proc.call(1)           #=> "1"
[1, 2].map(&:to_s)              #=> ["1", "2"]

method(:puts).to_proc.call(1)   # prints 1
[1, 2].each(&method(:puts))     # prints 1, 2

{test: 1}.to_proc.call(:test)       #=> 1
%i[test many keys].map(&{test: 1})  #=> [1, nil, nil]

Returns a proc that is the composition of this proc and the given g. The returned proc takes a variable number of arguments, calls g with them then calls this proc with the result.

f = proc {|x| x * x }
g = proc {|x| x + x }
p (f << g).call(2) #=> 16

Invokes the block with obj as the proc's parameter like Proc#call. This allows a proc object to be the target of a when clause in a case statement.

Returns a proc that is the composition of this proc and the given g. The returned proc takes a variable number of arguments, calls g with them then calls this proc with the result.

f = proc {|x| x * x }
g = proc {|x| x + x }
p (f >> g).call(2) #=> 8

Invokes the block, setting the block's parameters to the values in params using something close to method calling semantics. Returns the value of the last expression evaluated in the block.

a_proc = Proc.new {|scalar, *values| values.map {|value| value*scalar } }
a_proc.call(9, 1, 2, 3)    #=> [9, 18, 27]
a_proc[9, 1, 2, 3]         #=> [9, 18, 27]
a_proc.(9, 1, 2, 3)        #=> [9, 18, 27]
a_proc.yield(9, 1, 2, 3)   #=> [9, 18, 27]

Note that prc.() invokes prc.call() with the parameters given. It's syntactic sugar to hide “call”.

For procs created using lambda or ->() an error is generated if the wrong number of parameters are passed to the proc. For procs created using Proc.new or Kernel.proc, extra parameters are silently discarded and missing parameters are set to nil.

a_proc = proc {|a,b| [a,b] }
a_proc.call(1)   #=> [1, nil]

a_proc = lambda {|a,b| [a,b] }
a_proc.call(1)   # ArgumentError: wrong number of arguments (given 1, expected 2)

See also Proc#lambda?.

Returns the number of mandatory arguments. If the block is declared to take no arguments, returns 0. If the block is known to take exactly n arguments, returns n. If the block has optional arguments, returns -n-1, where n is the number of mandatory arguments, with the exception for blocks that are not lambdas and have only a finite number of optional arguments; in this latter case, returns n. Keyword arguments will be considered as a single additional argument, that argument being mandatory if any keyword argument is mandatory. A proc with no argument declarations is the same as a block declaring || as its arguments.

proc {}.arity                  #=>  0
proc { || }.arity              #=>  0
proc { |a| }.arity             #=>  1
proc { |a, b| }.arity          #=>  2
proc { |a, b, c| }.arity       #=>  3
proc { |*a| }.arity            #=> -1
proc { |a, *b| }.arity         #=> -2
proc { |a, *b, c| }.arity      #=> -3
proc { |x:, y:, z:0| }.arity   #=>  1
proc { |*a, x:, y:0| }.arity   #=> -2

proc   { |a=0| }.arity         #=>  0
lambda { |a=0| }.arity         #=> -1
proc   { |a=0, b| }.arity      #=>  1
lambda { |a=0, b| }.arity      #=> -2
proc   { |a=0, b=0| }.arity    #=>  0
lambda { |a=0, b=0| }.arity    #=> -1
proc   { |a, b=0| }.arity      #=>  1
lambda { |a, b=0| }.arity      #=> -2
proc   { |(a, b), c=0| }.arity #=>  1
lambda { |(a, b), c=0| }.arity #=> -2
proc   { |a, x:0, y:0| }.arity #=>  1
lambda { |a, x:0, y:0| }.arity #=> -2

Returns the binding associated with prc.

def fred(param)
  proc {}
end

b = fred(99)
eval("param", b.binding)   #=> 99

Invokes the block, setting the block's parameters to the values in params using something close to method calling semantics. Returns the value of the last expression evaluated in the block.

a_proc = Proc.new {|scalar, *values| values.map {|value| value*scalar } }
a_proc.call(9, 1, 2, 3)    #=> [9, 18, 27]
a_proc[9, 1, 2, 3]         #=> [9, 18, 27]
a_proc.(9, 1, 2, 3)        #=> [9, 18, 27]
a_proc.yield(9, 1, 2, 3)   #=> [9, 18, 27]

Note that prc.() invokes prc.call() with the parameters given. It's syntactic sugar to hide “call”.

For procs created using lambda or ->() an error is generated if the wrong number of parameters are passed to the proc. For procs created using Proc.new or Kernel.proc, extra parameters are silently discarded and missing parameters are set to nil.

a_proc = proc {|a,b| [a,b] }
a_proc.call(1)   #=> [1, nil]

a_proc = lambda {|a,b| [a,b] }
a_proc.call(1)   # ArgumentError: wrong number of arguments (given 1, expected 2)

See also Proc#lambda?.

Returns a curried proc. If the optional arity argument is given, it determines the number of arguments. A curried proc receives some arguments. If a sufficient number of arguments are supplied, it passes the supplied arguments to the original proc and returns the result. Otherwise, returns another curried proc that takes the rest of arguments.

b = proc {|x, y, z| (x||0) + (y||0) + (z||0) }
p b.curry[1][2][3]           #=> 6
p b.curry[1, 2][3, 4]        #=> 6
p b.curry(5)[1][2][3][4][5]  #=> 6
p b.curry(5)[1, 2][3, 4][5]  #=> 6
p b.curry(1)[1]              #=> 1

b = proc {|x, y, z, *w| (x||0) + (y||0) + (z||0) + w.inject(0, &:+) }
p b.curry[1][2][3]           #=> 6
p b.curry[1, 2][3, 4]        #=> 10
p b.curry(5)[1][2][3][4][5]  #=> 15
p b.curry(5)[1, 2][3, 4][5]  #=> 15
p b.curry(1)[1]              #=> 1

b = lambda {|x, y, z| (x||0) + (y||0) + (z||0) }
p b.curry[1][2][3]           #=> 6
p b.curry[1, 2][3, 4]        #=> wrong number of arguments (given 4, expected 3)
p b.curry(5)                 #=> wrong number of arguments (given 5, expected 3)
p b.curry(1)                 #=> wrong number of arguments (given 1, expected 3)

b = lambda {|x, y, z, *w| (x||0) + (y||0) + (z||0) + w.inject(0, &:+) }
p b.curry[1][2][3]           #=> 6
p b.curry[1, 2][3, 4]        #=> 10
p b.curry(5)[1][2][3][4][5]  #=> 15
p b.curry(5)[1, 2][3, 4][5]  #=> 15
p b.curry(1)                 #=> wrong number of arguments (given 1, expected 3)

b = proc { :foo }
p b.curry[]                  #=> :foo

Returns a hash value corresponding to proc body.

See also Object#hash.

No documentation available

Returns true for a Proc object for which argument handling is rigid. Such procs are typically generated by lambda.

A Proc object generated by proc ignores extra arguments.

proc {|a,b| [a,b] }.call(1,2,3)    #=> [1,2]

It provides nil for missing arguments.

proc {|a,b| [a,b] }.call(1)        #=> [1,nil]

It expands a single array argument.

proc {|a,b| [a,b] }.call([1,2])    #=> [1,2]

A Proc object generated by lambda doesn't have such tricks.

lambda {|a,b| [a,b] }.call(1,2,3)  #=> ArgumentError
lambda {|a,b| [a,b] }.call(1)      #=> ArgumentError
lambda {|a,b| [a,b] }.call([1,2])  #=> ArgumentError

Proc#lambda? is a predicate for the tricks. It returns true if no tricks apply.

lambda {}.lambda?            #=> true
proc {}.lambda?              #=> false

Proc.new is the same as proc.

Proc.new {}.lambda?          #=> false

lambda, proc and Proc.new preserve the tricks of a Proc object given by & argument.

lambda(&lambda {}).lambda?   #=> true
proc(&lambda {}).lambda?     #=> true
Proc.new(&lambda {}).lambda? #=> true

lambda(&proc {}).lambda?     #=> false
proc(&proc {}).lambda?       #=> false
Proc.new(&proc {}).lambda?   #=> false

A Proc object generated by & argument has the tricks

def n(&b) b.lambda? end
n {}                         #=> false

The & argument preserves the tricks if a Proc object is given by & argument.

n(&lambda {})                #=> true
n(&proc {})                  #=> false
n(&Proc.new {})              #=> false

A Proc object converted from a method has no tricks.

def m() end
method(:m).to_proc.lambda?   #=> true

n(&method(:m))               #=> true
n(&method(:m).to_proc)       #=> true

define_method is treated the same as method definition. The defined method has no tricks.

class C
  define_method(:d) {}
end
C.new.d(1,2)       #=> ArgumentError
C.new.method(:d).to_proc.lambda?   #=> true

define_method always defines a method without the tricks, even if a non-lambda Proc object is given. This is the only exception for which the tricks are not preserved.

class C
  define_method(:e, &proc {})
end
C.new.e(1,2)       #=> ArgumentError
C.new.method(:e).to_proc.lambda?   #=> true

This exception ensures that methods never have tricks and makes it easy to have wrappers to define methods that behave as usual.

class C
  def self.def2(name, &body)
    define_method(name, &body)
  end

  def2(:f) {}
end
C.new.f(1,2)       #=> ArgumentError

The wrapper def2 defines a method which has no tricks.

Creates a new Proc object, bound to the current context. Proc::new may be called without a block only within a method with an attached block, in which case that block is converted to the Proc object.

def proc_from
  Proc.new
end
proc = proc_from { "hello" }
proc.call   #=> "hello"

Returns the parameter information of this proc.

prc = lambda{|x, y=42, *other|}
prc.parameters  #=> [[:req, :x], [:opt, :y], [:rest, :other]]

Returns the Ruby source filename and line number containing this proc or nil if this proc was not defined in Ruby (i.e. native).

Part of the protocol for converting objects to Proc objects. Instances of class Proc simply return themselves.

Returns the unique identifier for this proc, along with an indication of where the proc was defined.

Invokes the block, setting the block's parameters to the values in params using something close to method calling semantics. Returns the value of the last expression evaluated in the block.

a_proc = Proc.new {|scalar, *values| values.map {|value| value*scalar } }
a_proc.call(9, 1, 2, 3)    #=> [9, 18, 27]
a_proc[9, 1, 2, 3]         #=> [9, 18, 27]
a_proc.(9, 1, 2, 3)        #=> [9, 18, 27]
a_proc.yield(9, 1, 2, 3)   #=> [9, 18, 27]

Note that prc.() invokes prc.call() with the parameters given. It's syntactic sugar to hide “call”.

For procs created using lambda or ->() an error is generated if the wrong number of parameters are passed to the proc. For procs created using Proc.new or Kernel.proc, extra parameters are silently discarded and missing parameters are set to nil.

a_proc = proc {|a,b| [a,b] }
a_proc.call(1)   #=> [1, nil]

a_proc = lambda {|a,b| [a,b] }
a_proc.call(1)   # ArgumentError: wrong number of arguments (given 1, expected 2)

See also Proc#lambda?.