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Because implementing object equality wasn't easy enough already.

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README.md

Equivalence

Because implementing object equality wasn't easy enough already.

Do your objects recognize their equals? If you have complete control over how your objects are used, maybe you don't care. If you're writing code for others to reuse, though, your code might be leaving your users perplexed.

Consider the following situation:

class Awesomeness
  def initialize(level, description)
    @level = level
    @description = description
  end

  def declare_awesomeness
    puts "My awesomeness level is #{@level} (#{@description})!"
  end
end

awesome1 = Awesomeness.new(10, 'really awesome')
awesome2 = Awesomeness.new(10, 'really awesome')
awesome1.declare_awesomeness
# => "My awesomeness level is 10 (really awesome)!"
awesome2.declare_awesomeness
# => "My awesomeness level is 10 (really awesome)!"
[awesome1, awesome2].uniq.size # => 2
awesome1 == awesome2           # => false

Surprised? You shouldn't be. Ruby's default implementation of object equality considers objects equal only if they are the same object, not if they have the same contents.

This probably isn't what you want for your Awesomeness class. To get equality behaving as you'd expect, you need to do the following:

class Awesomeness
  attr_reader :level, :description

  def hash
    [@level, @description].hash
  end

  def eql?(other)
    self.class == other.class &&
      self.level == other.level &&
      self.description == other.description
  end
  alias :== :eql?
end

Implementing the == method gets your comparison to return true, as expected, and implementing hash and eql? gets Array#uniq to behave as expected, and also lets you use your values as Hash keys in a way that works properly with Hash#[], Hash#[]=, Hash#merge and the like.

Have more instance variables? You'll need to add them to the hash and eql? methods. Have other custom objects as instance variables? They'll need to implement these methods, too.

It can get to feel a lot like busy work, and let's face it, if we liked doing busy work, we'd be using Java.

Installation

Add this line to your application's Gemfile:

gem 'equivalence'

And then execute:

$ bundle

Or install it yourself as:

$ gem install equivalence

Usage

Basic

    class MySpiffyClass
      extend Equivalence
      equivalence :@my, :@instance, :@variables # , [...]
      # Your spiffy class implementation
    end

You'll get the equality methods we "painstakingly" added above, without all that pesky typing. If you don't implement reader methods (as above), Equivalence will create some for you, with protected access (meaning only other objects within MySpiffyClass's class hierarchy will be able to call them), since they're necessary for the eql? method to work. Defining your own readers? No problem, Equivalence won't mess with them.

Let's re-visit the example from above.

class Awesomeness
  extend Equivalence
  equivalence :@level, :@description

  def initialize(level, description)
    @level = level
    @description = description
  end

  def declare_awesomeness
    puts "My awesomeness level is #{@level} (#{@description})!"
  end
end

awesome1 = Awesomeness.new(10, 'really awesome')
awesome2 = Awesomeness.new(10, 'really awesome')
[awesome1, awesome2].uniq.size # => 1
awesome1 == awesome2           # => true

Less hassle, same result.

"Advanced" (if there is such a thing, for such a simple library)

Maybe your attribute readers aren't named the same as your instance variables, because you like to confuse people. Or maybe, your readers are lazy-loading certain instance variables or doing some casting of Fixnums to Strings. In that case, you'll want your hash method to be defined with calls to the methods instead of accessing the ivars directly, to get the expected results. Just omit the leading @ in each parameter, like so:

equivalence :level, :description

Contributing

  1. Fork it
  2. Create your feature branch (git checkout -b my-new-feature)
  3. Commit your changes (git commit -am 'Added some feature')
  4. Push to the branch (git push origin my-new-feature)
  5. Create new Pull Request
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