Vitamin C

Ruby Language Iteration


Ruby has many types of enumerators but the first and most simple type of enumerator to start with is each. We will print out even or odd for each number between 1 and 10 to show how each works.

Basically there are two ways to pass so called blocks. A block is a piece of code being passed which will be executed by the method which is called. The each method takes a block which it calls for every element of the collection of objects it was called on.

There are two ways to pass a block to a method:

Method 1: Inline

(1..10).each { |i| puts i.even? ? 'even' : 'odd' }

This is a very compressed and ruby way to solve this. Let's break this down piece by piece.

  1. (1..10) is a range from 1 to 10 inclusive. If we wanted it to be 1 to 10 exclusive, we would write (1...10).
  2. .each is an enumerator that enumerates over each element in the object it is acting on. In this case, it acts on each number in the range.
  3. { |i| puts i.even? ? 'even' : 'odd' } is the block for the each statement, which itself can be broken down further.
    1. |i| this means that each element in the range is represented within the block by the identifier i.
    2. puts is an output method in Ruby that has an automatic line break after each time it prints. (We can use print if we don't want the automatic line break)
    3. i.even? checks if i is even. We could have also used i % 2 == 0; however, it is preferable to use built in methods.
    4. ? "even" : "odd" this is ruby's ternary operator. The way a ternary operator is constructed is expression ? a : b. This is short for
    if expression

For code longer than one line the block should be passed as a multiline block.

Method 2: Multiline

(1..10).each do |i|
  if i.even?
    puts 'even'
    puts 'odd'

In a multiline block the do replaces the opening bracket and end replaces the closing bracket from the inline style.

Ruby supports reverse_each as well. It will iterate the array backwards.

@arr = [1,2,3,4]
puts @arr.inspect # output is [1,2,3,4]

print "Reversed array elements["
@arr.reverse_each do |val|
        print " #{val} " # output is 4 3 2 1
print "]\n"

Implementation in a class

Enumerable is the most popular module in Ruby. Its purpose is to provide you with iterable methods like map, select, reduce, etc. Classes that use Enumerable include Array, Hash, Range. To use it, you have to include Enumerable and implement each.

class NaturalNumbers
  include Enumerable

  def initialize(upper_limit)
    @upper_limit = upper_limit

  def each(&block)

n =

n.reduce(:+)                   # => 21              # => [0, 2, 4, 6] { |number| number ** 2 } # => [0, 1, 4, 9, 16, 25, 36]


Returns the changed object, but the original object remains as it was. For example:

arr = [1, 2, 3] { |i| i + 1 } # => [2, 3, 4]
arr # => [1, 2, 3]

map! changes the original object:

arr = [1, 2, 3]! { |i| i + 1 } # => [2, 3, 4]
arr # => [2, 3, 4]

Note: you can also use collect to do the same thing.

Iterating over complex objects


You can iterate over nested arrays:

[[1, 2], [3, 4]].each { |(a, b)| p "a: #{ a }", "b: #{ b }" }

The following syntax is allowed too:

[[1, 2], [3, 4]].each { |a, b| "a: #{ a }", "b: #{ b }" }

Will produce:

"a: 1"
"b: 2"
"a: 3"
"b: 4"


You can iterate over key-value pairs:

{a: 1, b: 2, c: 3}.each { |pair| p "pair: #{ pair }" }

Will produce:

"pair: [:a, 1]"
"pair: [:b, 2]"
"pair: [:c, 3]"

You can iterate over keys and values simultaneously:

{a: 1, b: 2, c: 3}.each { |(k, v)| p "k: #{ k }", "v: #{ k }" }

Will produce:

"k: a"
"v: a"
"k: b"
"v: b"
"k: c"
"v: c"

For iterator

This iterates from 4 to 13 (inclusive).

for i in 4..13
    puts "this is #{i}.th number"

We can also iterate over arrays using for

names = ['Siva', 'Charan', 'Naresh', 'Manish']

for name in names
    puts name

Iteration with index

Sometimes you want to know the position (index) of the current element while iterating over an enumerator. For such purpose, Ruby provides the with_index method. It can be applied to all the enumerators. Basically, by adding with_index to an enumeration, you can enumerate that enumeration. Index is passed to a block as the second argument.

[2,3,4].map.with_index { |e, i| puts "Element of array number #{i} => #{e}" }
#Element of array number 0 => 2
#Element of array number 1 => 3
#Element of array number 2 => 4
#=> [nil, nil, nil]

with_index has an optional argument – the first index which is 0 by default:

[2,3,4].map.with_index(1) { |e, i| puts "Element of array number #{i} => #{e}" }
#Element of array number 1 => 2
#Element of array number 2 => 3
#Element of array number 3 => 4
#=> [nil, nil, nil]

There is a specific method each_with_index. The only difference between it and each.with_index is that you can't pass an argument to that, so the first index is 0 all the time.

[2,3,4].each_with_index { |e, i| puts "Element of array number #{i} => #{e}" }
#Element of array number 0 => 2
#Element of array number 1 => 3
#Element of array number 2 => 4
#=> [2, 3, 4]

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