Today I Learned

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`nil.&to_s` evaluates to false

ruby 2.3 introducted the Safe Naviation Operator &. intended to make nil checks less verbose, simulating the functionality of the Rails introduced try method.

This helps to prevent unwanted NoMethodErrors

> nil.do_something
NoMethodError (undefined method `do_something' for nil:NilClass)
> nil&.do_something

What happens when you type the & on the right side of the .?

> nil.&do_something
NameError (undefined local variable or method `do_something' for main:Object)

Normally you’d get an error, because do_something isn’t defined, but what if you are calling a method available on everything like to_s?

> nil.&to_s

This breaks expectations. This statement is equivalent to nil & to_s.

> nil & to_s

Ruby defines & as a method on nil.

> nil.method(:&)
#<Method: NilClass#&>

This method in the documentation is defined as:

And—Returns false. obj is always evaluated as it is the argument to a method call—there is no short-circuit evaluation in this case.

So with nil.&to_s you’re calling the & operator as a method and passing the result of to_s called on the main object, but it doesn’t matter because nil.& always evaluates to false.

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