Ruby implementation of the UNIX pipe
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pipe-ruby is an implementation of the UNIX pipe command. It exposes two instance methods, pipe and pipe_each.


Add this line to your application's Gemfile:

gem "pipe-ruby", :require => "pipe"

After bundling, include the Pipe module in your class(es)

class MyClass
  include Pipe

  # ...

Default Usage


pipe(subject, :through => [
  :method1, :method2#, ...

Just as with the UNIX pipe, subject will be passed as the first argument to method1. The results of method1 will be passed to method2 and on and on. The result of the last method called will be returned from the pipe.


pipe_each([subj1, subj2], :through => [
  :method1, :method2#, ...

pipe_each calls pipe, passing each individual subject. It will return a mapped array of the responses.

Configurable Options

After implementing the pipe method in a few different places, we found that a slightly different version was needed for each use case. Pipe::Config allows for this customization per call or per class implementation. There are four configurable options. Here they are with their defaults:
  :error_handlers => [],        # an array of procs to be called when an error
                                # occurs
  :raise_on_error => true,      # tells Pipe to re-raise errors which occur
  :return_on_error => :subject, # when an error happens and raise error is false
                                # returns the current value of subject defaultly;
                                # if callable, will return the result of the call
                                # if not callable, will return the value
  :skip_on => false,            # a truthy value or proc which tells pipe to skip
                                # the next method in the `through` array
  :stop_on => false             # a truthy value or proc which tells pipe to stop
                                # processing and return the current value

A Pipe::Config object can be passed to the pipe method one of three ways.

NOTE: The options below are in priority order, meaning an override of the pipe_config method will take precedence over an override of the @pipe_config instance variable.

You can pass it to pipe when called:

class MyClass
  include Pipe

  def my_method
    config = => false)
    subject =

    pipe(subject, :config => config, :through => [
      # ...

  # ...

Or override the pipe_config method:

class MyClass
  include Pipe

  def pipe_config => false)

  # ...

Or you can assign it to the @pipe_config instance variable:

class MyClass
  include Pipe

  def initialize
    @pipe_config = => false)

  # ...

Error Handling

As we implemented different versions of pipe across our infrastructure, we came across several different error handling needs.

  • logging errors that occur in methods called by pipe without raising them
  • catching and re-raising errors with additional information so we can still see the real backtrace while also gaining insight into which subject and method combination triggered the error
  • easily seeing which area of the pipe stack we were in when an error occurred

The first layer of error handling is the error_handlers attribute in Pipe::Config. Each proc in this array will be called with two arguments, the actual error object and a context hash containing the method and subject when the error occurred. If an error occurs within one of these handlers it will be re-raised inside the Pipe::HandlerError namespace, meaning a NameError becomes a Pipe::HandlerError::NameError. We also postpend the current method, current subject and original error class to the message.

NOTE: Pipe::Config#error_handler takes a block and adds it to the existing error handlers.

We have two other namespaces, Pipe::ReducerError, which is used when an error occurs inside during pipe execution and Pipe::IteratorError for errors which occur inside of pipe_each execution.

Whenever an error occurs in execution (but not in error handler processing), the response of Pipe::Config#raise_on_error? is checked. If this method returns true, the error will be re-raised inside of the appropriate namespace. If it returns false, the current value of subject will be returned and execution stopped.

Skipping / Stopping Execution

At the beginning of each iteration, Pipe::Config#stop_on is called. If it returns truthy, execution will be stopped and the current value of subject will be returned. A falsey response will allow the execution to move forward.

If not stopped, Pipe::Config#skip_on will be called. Truthy responses will cause the current value of subject to be passed to the next iteration without calling the method specified in the current iteration. Falsey responses will allow the specified method to be called.

Both skip_on and stop_on will receive three arguments when they're called, the current value of subject, the method to be called on this iteration and the value of #through.


First: please check out our style guides... we will hold you to them :)

  1. Fork it ([my-github-username]/pipe-ruby/fork )
  2. Create your feature branch (git checkout -b my-new-feature)
  3. Make sure you're green (bundle exec rspec)
  4. Commit your changes (git commit -am 'Add some feature')
  5. Push to the branch (git push origin my-new-feature)
  6. Create a new Pull Request


bundle exec rspec

We like to have good coverage of each major feature. Before contributing with a PR, please make sure you've added tests and are fully green.