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= Methods

Methods implement the functionality of your program.  Here is a simple method
definition:

  def one_plus_one
    1 + 1
  end

A method definition consists of the +def+ keyword, a method name, the body of
the method, then the +end+ keyword.  When called the method will execute the
body of the method.  This method returns <tt>2</tt>.

A method may be defined on another object.  You may define a "class
method" (a method that is called on the class, not an instance of the class)
like this:

  class C
    def self.my_method
      # ...
    end
  end

You may also define methods this way on any object:

  string = "my string"
  def string.my_method
    # ...
  end

This is called a "singleton method".  +my_method+ will only exist on this
string instance.  Other strings will not have +my_method+.  You may also
override existing methods on just one object this way.

== Arguments

A method may accept arguments.  The argument list follows the method name:

  def add_one(value)
    value + 1
  end

When called, the user of the +add_one+ method must provide an argument.  The
argument is a local variable in the method body.  The method will then add one
to this argument and return the value.  If given <tt>1</tt> this method will
return <tt>2</tt>.

The parentheses around the arguments are optional:

  def add_one value
    value + 1
  end

Multiple arguments are separated by a comma:

  def add_values(a, b)
    a + b
  end

When called, the arguments must be provided in the exact order.  In other
words, the arguments are positional.

=== Default Values

Arguments may have default values:

  def add_values(a, b = 1)
    a + b
  end

The default value does not need to appear first, but the must be grouped
together.  This is ok:

  def add_values(a = 1, b = 2, c)
    a + b + c
  end

This will raise a SyntaxError:

  def add_values(a = 1, b, c = 1)
    a + b + c
  end

=== Keyword Arguments

Keyword arguments are similar to positional arguments with default values:

  def add_values(first: 1, second: 2)
    first + second
  end

When calling a method with keyword arguments the arguments may appear in any
order.  If an unknown keyword argument is sent by the caller an ArgumentError
is raised.

When mixing keyword arguments and positional arguments, all positional
arguments must appear before any keyword arguments.

=== Array/Hash Argument

Prefixing an argument with "*" causes any remaining arguments to be converted
to an Array:

  def gather_arguments(*arguments)
    p arguments
  end

  gather_arguments 1, 2, 3 # prints [1, 2, 3]

The array argument must be the last positional argument, it must appear before
any keyword arguments.

The array argument will capture a Hash as the last entry if a hash was sent by
the caller after all positional arguments.

  gather_arguments 1, a: 2 # prints [1, {:a=>2}]

However, this only occurs if the method does not declare any keyword arguments.

  def gather_arguments_keyword(*positional, keyword: nil)
   p positinal: positional, keyword: keyword
  end

  gather_arguments_keyword 1, 2, three: 3
  #=> raises: unknown keyword: three (ArgumentError)

== Exception Handling

Methods have an implied exception handling block so you do not need to use
+begin+ or +end+ to handle exceptions.  This:

  def my_method
    begin
      # code that may raise an exception
    rescue
      # handle exception
    end
  end

May be written as:

  def my_method
    # code that may raise an exception
  rescue
    # handle exception
  end

If you wish to rescue an exception for only part of your method use +begin+ and
+end+.  For more details see the page on {Exception
Handling}[rdoc-ref:doc/syntax/exceptions.rdoc].