Finding parent-class hierarchy recursively

Discussion in 'Ruby' started by RichardOnRails, Sep 13, 2008.

  1. Hi,

    I wrote a method to display a class' "parentage" based on an idea in
    "Ruby Cookbook", sec. 10.1:

    def parents(obj)
    ( (obj.superclass ? parents(obj.superclass) : []) << obj). reverse

    I displayed Class' parent-class hierarchy with:

    Class.superclass.inspect => Module
    Module.superclass.inspect => Object
    Object.superclass.inspect => nil

    Then I tested the automatic generation of that hierarchy as follows:

    parents(Class).inspect => [Class, Object, Module]
    Expected: [Class, Module, Object]

    I tried display intermediate values during the recursion, but I
    couldn't see where I'm going wrong. Any ideas?

    Thanks in advance,
    RichardOnRails, Sep 13, 2008
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  2. Ok, here's what happens:
    parents(Class) = (parents(Module) << Class).reverse
    parents(Module) = (parents(Object) << Module).reverse
    parents(Object) = [Object]
    parents(Module) = ([Object] << Module).reverse
    = [Module, Object]
    parents(Class) = ([Module, Object] << Class).reverse
    = [Module, Object, Class].reverse
    = [Class, Object, Module]

    Anyway, do you know that you can get what you want just by calling
    TheClass.ancestors? Well, not quite as that also includes included
    modules, but TheClass.ancestors.grep(Class) would give you exactly
    the results you expected from your method.

    Sebastian Hungerecker, Sep 13, 2008
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  3. Thanks, Sebastian!

    I stupidly failed to recognize that "reverse" would affect each
    iteration of the recursive routine, rather than merely to last
    iteration as I intended.

    I removed the interior "reverse" and the world is beautiful again, to

    => [Class, Module, Object]
    I did know about that, but thanks for asking. I wanted to write my
    own trace routine so that I have my own insight into metaprogramming
    techniques and the structure of Ruby.

    Best wishes,
    RichardOnRails, Sep 14, 2008
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