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OpenStruct

An OpenStruct is a data structure, similar to a Hash, that allows the definition of arbitrary attributes with their accompanying values. This is accomplished by using Ruby's metaprogramming to define methods on the class itself.

Examples

require "ostruct"

person = OpenStruct.new
person.name = "John Smith"
person.age  = 70

person.name      # => "John Smith"
person.age       # => 70
person.address   # => nil

An OpenStruct employs a Hash internally to store the attributes and values and can even be initialized with one:

australia = OpenStruct.new(:country => "Australia", :capital => "Canberra")
  # => #<OpenStruct country="Australia", capital="Canberra">

Hash keys with spaces or characters that could normally not be used for method calls (e.g. ()[]*) will not be immediately available on the OpenStruct object as a method for retrieval or assignment, but can still be reached through the Object#send method or using [].

measurements = OpenStruct.new("length (in inches)" => 24)
measurements[:"length (in inches)"]       # => 24
measurements.send("length (in inches)")   # => 24

message = OpenStruct.new(:queued? => true)
message.queued?                           # => true
message.send("queued?=", false)
message.queued?                           # => false

Removing the presence of an attribute requires the execution of the delete_field method as setting the property value to nil will not remove the attribute.

first_pet  = OpenStruct.new(:name => "Rowdy", :owner => "John Smith")
second_pet = OpenStruct.new(:name => "Rowdy")

first_pet.owner = nil
first_pet                 # => #<OpenStruct name="Rowdy", owner=nil>
first_pet == second_pet   # => false

first_pet.delete_field(:owner)
first_pet                 # => #<OpenStruct name="Rowdy">
first_pet == second_pet   # => true

Ractor compatibility: A frozen OpenStruct with shareable values is itself shareable.

Caveats

An OpenStruct utilizes Ruby's method lookup structure to find and define the necessary methods for properties. This is accomplished through the methods method_missing and define_singleton_method.

This should be a consideration if there is a concern about the performance of the objects that are created, as there is much more overhead in the setting of these properties compared to using a Hash or a Struct. Creating an open struct from a small Hash and accessing a few of the entries can be 200 times slower than accessing the hash directly.

This is a potential security issue; building OpenStruct from untrusted user data (e.g. JSON web request) may be susceptible to a “symbol denial of service” attack since the keys create methods and names of methods are never garbage collected.

This may also be the source of incompatibilities between Ruby versions:

o = OpenStruct.new
o.then # => nil in Ruby < 2.6, enumerator for Ruby >= 2.6

Builtin methods may be overwritten this way, which may be a source of bugs or security issues:

o = OpenStruct.new
o.methods # => [:to_h, :marshal_load, :marshal_dump, :each_pair, ...
o.methods = [:foo, :bar]
o.methods # => [:foo, :bar]

To help remedy clashes, OpenStruct uses only protected/private methods ending with `!` and defines aliases for builtin public methods by adding a `!`:

o = OpenStruct.new(make: 'Bentley', class: :luxury)
o.class # => :luxury
o.class! # => OpenStruct

It is recommended (but not enforced) to not use fields ending in `!`; Note that a subclass' methods may not be overwritten, nor can OpenStruct's own methods ending with `!`.

For all these reasons, consider not using OpenStruct at all.

Constants

VERSION

Public Class Methods

new(hash=nil) click to toggle source

Creates a new OpenStruct object. By default, the resulting OpenStruct object will have no attributes.

The optional hash, if given, will generate attributes and values (can be a Hash, an OpenStruct or a Struct). For example:

require "ostruct"
hash = { "country" => "Australia", :capital => "Canberra" }
data = OpenStruct.new(hash)

data   # => #<OpenStruct country="Australia", capital="Canberra">
 
               # File ostruct.rb, line 125
def initialize(hash=nil)
  if hash
    update_to_values!(hash)
  else
    @table = {}
  end
end