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  • abbrev.rb


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Calculates the set of unique abbreviations for a given set of strings.

require 'abbrev'
require 'pp'

pp Abbrev.abbrev(['ruby', 'rules'])


{ "rub"   =>  "ruby",
  "ruby"  =>  "ruby",
  "rul"   =>  "rules",
  "rule"  =>  "rules",
  "rules" =>  "rules" }

It also provides an array core extension, Array#abbrev.

pp %w{summer winter}.abbrev
#=> {"summe"=>"summer",

Public Class Methods

abbrev(words, pattern = nil) click to toggle source

Given a set of strings, calculate the set of unambiguous abbreviations for those strings, and return a hash where the keys are all the possible abbreviations and the values are the full strings.

Thus, given words is “car” and “cone”, the keys pointing to “car” would be “ca” and “car”, while those pointing to “cone” would be “co”, “con”, and “cone”.

require 'abbrev'

Abbrev.abbrev(['car', 'cone'])
#=> {"ca"=>"car", "con"=>"cone", "co"=>"cone", "car"=>"car", "cone"=>"cone"}

The optional pattern parameter is a pattern or a string. Only input strings that match the pattern or start with the string are included in the output hash.

Abbrev.abbrev(%w{car box cone}, /b/)
#=> {"bo"=>"box", "b"=>"box", "box"=>"box"}
               # File abbrev.rb, line 67
def abbrev(words, pattern = nil)
  table = {}
  seen =

  if pattern.is_a?(String)
    pattern = /\A#{Regexp.quote(pattern)}/  # regard as a prefix

  words.each do |word|
    next if word.empty?
    word.size.downto(1) { |len|
      abbrev = word[0...len]

      next if pattern && pattern !~ abbrev

      case seen[abbrev] += 1
      when 1
        table[abbrev] = word
      when 2

  words.each do |word|
    next if pattern && pattern !~ word

    table[word] = word


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