In this section, we will learn what modules are and how to use them in Ruby.
What is Modules in Ruby?
Ruby modules are a way of grouping related methods in one place and then passing the module to any class that might need those methods.
Basically, when working with inheritance in Ruby, we mentioned that the first rule to follow is that the child class must have the `is-a` relation with its super class! For example, a class like Dog can inherit from a class like Animal! Because after all, a Dog is an Animal! So it can inherit from the Animal class and use its methods!
But we can’t make a class to inherit from another one just for the sake of using its methods while there’s no relation between the two classes! For example, a Car that inherits from a class like Animal just to use one or two of its methods! This is wrong!
But if there are methods that we know are general enough to be used in multiple classes that are unrelated to each other, then we can put those methods in a module and then import the module in any class that might need those methods.
That’s the purpose of modules!
Alright, now let’s see how to create and use modules in Ruby.
How to create a Module in Ruby?
This is the syntax on creating a module in Ruby:
module ModuleName #instructions… end
The process of creating a module in Ruby is exactly the same as the way we create a class in Ruby, with the exception that we use the keyword `module` instead of `class`.
Now within the body of the module we can define as many methods as we want.
Example: creating a Module in Ruby
module PrintFullName def print_name puts first_name, last_name, age, id end end
Here the name of the module is PrintFullName and it has one method named `print_name`. So any class that mixin this module will have the specified method as part of its instance methods and hence the objects we create from that class will have the access to the print_name method as well.
Mixin Modules in Ruby
The process of adding a module into a class is called Mixin!
This is the syntax on how we can mixin a module to a class:
class ClassName include ModuleName end
Within the body of a class and outside of any instance method of that class we call the `include` keyword and after that set the name of the target module we want to use its methods for the objects that will be created from the specified class.
Example: including modules in Ruby
module PrintFullName def print_name puts first_name, last_name, age, id end end class Person include PrintFullName attr_accessor :first_name, :last_name, :age, :id def initialize (first_name, last_name, age, id) self.first_name = first_name self.last_name = last_name self.age = age self.id = id end end prs = Person.new("John","Doe",100, 43221) prs.print_name
John Doe 100 43221
How do modules work in Ruby?
In this example, you can see we’ve included the `PrintFullName` module into the `Person` class and so now any object we create from the Person class will have the access to the methods of this module as well.
That’s how we could use the `prs` object and call the `print_name` method.