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Sascha Teske's Ruby Style Guide


  • Use UTF-8 but try to remain in the 7-bit ASCII realm.

  • Use 2 space indent, no tabs.

  • Use Unix-style line endings.

  • Use spaces around operators, after commas, colons and semicolons, before "{" "}".

  • No spaces after "(", "[" and before "]", ")".

  • Use two spaces before statement modifiers (postfix if/unless/while/until/rescue).

  • Indent when as deep as case.

  • Use an empty line before the return value of a method (unless it only has one line), and an empty line between defs.

  • Use RDoc and its conventions for API documentation. Don't put an empty line between the comment block and the def.

  • Use empty lines to break up a long method into logical paragraphs.

  • Keep lines fewer than 80 characters or have good reason not to.

  • Avoid trailing whitespace.


  • Use def with parentheses when there are arguments.

  • Never use for, unless you exactly know why.

  • Never use then.

  • Try to use "'" over """ and "%q()" over "%Q()"

  • Use when x; ... for one-line cases.

  • Use &&/|| for boolean expressions, and/or for control flow. (Rule of thumb: If you have to use outer parentheses, you are using the wrong operators.)

  • Avoid multiline ?:, use if.

  • Methods should have parenthesized options, unless they are called as DSL components (e.g. => 'Lots of important stuff', :format => :plaintext) but read_a :book, :when_it_is_interesting)

  • Prefer {...} over do...end. Multiline {...} is fine: having different statement endings (} for blocks, end for if/while/...) makes it easier to see what ends where. But use do...end for "control flow" and "method definitions" (e.g. in Rakefiles and certain DSLs.) Avoid do...end when chaining.

  • Avoid return where not required.

  • Avoid line continuation () where not required.

  • Using the return value of = is okay:

    if v = array.grep(/foo/) ...

  • Use ||= freely.

  • Use non-OO regexps (they won't make the code better). Freely use =~, $0-9, $~, $` and $' when needed.


  • Use snake_case for methods.

  • Use CamelCase for classes and modules. (Keep acronyms like HTTP, RFC, XML uppercase.)

  • Use SCREAMING_SNAKE_CASE for other constants.

  • The length of an identifier determines its scope. Use one-letter variables for short block/method parameters, according to this scheme:

    a,b,c: any object d: directory names e: elements of an Enumerable ex: rescued exceptions f: files and file names i,j: indexes k: the key part of a hash entry m: methods o: any object r: return values of short methods s: strings v: any value v: the value part of a hash entry x,y,z: numbers

    And in general, the first letter of the class name if all objects are of that type.

  • Use _ or names prefixed with _ for unused variables.

  • When using inject with short blocks, name the arguments |a, e| (mnemonic: accumulator, element)

  • When defining binary operators, name the argument "other".

  • Prefer map over collect, find over detect, find_all over select, size over length.


  • Comments longer than a word are capitalized and use punctuation. Use two spaces after periods.

  • Avoid superfluous comments.

The rest:

  • Write ruby -w safe code.

  • Avoid hashes-as-optional-parameters. Does the method do too much?

  • Avoid long methods.

  • Avoid long parameter lists.

  • Use def self.method to define singleton methods.

  • Add "global" methods to Kernel (if you have to) and make them private.

  • Avoid alias when alias_method will do.

  • Use OptionParser for parsing complex command line options and ruby -s for trivial command line options.

  • Write for 1.8, but avoid doing things you know that will break in 1.9.

  • Avoid needless metaprogramming.


  • Code in a functional way, avoid mutation when it makes sense.

  • Do not mutate arguments unless that is the purpose of the method.

  • Do not mess around in core classes when writing libraries.

  • Do not program defensively. (See

  • Keep the code simple.

  • Don't overdesign.

  • Don't underdesign.

  • Avoid bugs.

  • Read other style guides and apply the parts that don't dissent with this list.

  • Be consistent.

  • Use common sense.