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Ruby Programming
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Defining a Method

As we've seen throughout this book, a method is defined using the keyword def. Method names should begin with a lowercase letter.[You won't get an immediate error if you use an uppercase letter, but when Ruby sees you calling the method, it will first guess that it is a constant, not a method invocation, and as a result it may parse the call incorrectly.] Methods that act as queries are often named with a trailing ``?'', such as instance_of?. Methods that are ``dangerous,'' or modify the receiver, might be named with a trailing ``!''. For instance, String provides both a chop and a chop!. The first one returns a modified string; the second modifies the receiver in place. ``?'' and ``!'' are the only weird characters allowed as method name suffixes.

Now that we've specified a name for our new method, we may need to declare some parameters. These are simply a list of local variable names in parentheses. Some sample method declarations are

def myNewMethod(arg1, arg2, arg3)     # 3 arguments
  # Code for the method would go here
end

def myOtherNewMethod                  # No arguments   # Code for the method would go here end

Ruby lets you specify default values for a method's arguments---values that will be used if the caller doesn't pass them explicitly. This is done using the assignment operator.

def coolDude(arg1="Miles", arg2="Coltrane", arg3="Roach")
  "#{arg1}, #{arg2}, #{arg3}."
end
coolDude "Miles, Coltrane, Roach."
coolDude("Bart") "Bart, Coltrane, Roach."
coolDude("Bart", "Elwood") "Bart, Elwood, Roach."
coolDude("Bart", "Elwood", "Linus") "Bart, Elwood, Linus."

The body of a method contains normal Ruby expressions, except that you may not define an instance method, class, or module within a method. The return value of a method is the value of the last expression executed, or the result of an explicit return expression.
Ruby Programming
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  Published under the terms of the Open Publication License Design by Interspire