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Feature #15225

OpenStruct: Recursively converting child Hash objects to OpenStruct objects.

Added by abhionlyone (Abhilash Reddy) 6 months ago. Updated 6 months ago.

Status:
Open
Priority:
Normal
Assignee:
-
Target version:
-
[ruby-core:89406]

Description

Currently, OpenStruct allows this:

person = OpenStruct.new
person.age = 25
person.name = "Abhilash"
puts person.name # "Abhilash"

But something like this is not possible:

person.more_info = {country: "Japan",  skills: ["Ruby", "C++"]}
puts person.more_info.country # NoMethodError (undefined method `country' for {:country=>"Japan"}:Hash)

It will be very helpful if we can provide an option to recursively convert child Hash objects to OpenStruct objects. By default it can be set to false.

I've done a basic implementation of this and created a PR here: https://github.com/ruby/ostruct/pull/5

Please let me know if there are any objections. If this can be accepted, I would like to add test cases for the same.

History

#1

Updated by abhionlyone (Abhilash Reddy) 6 months ago

  • Subject changed from OpenStruct: Recursively converting child Hash object attributes to OpenStruct objects. to OpenStruct: Recursively converting child Hash objects to OpenStruct objects.

Updated by shevegen (Robert A. Heiler) 6 months ago

This is an interesting suggestion.

I actually implemented something similar for a class that I tend to call Configuration.

This class also allows for using its keys as method names, so I can relate to your
suggestion here. (If you are curious, class Configuration usually reads .yml files
from a configuration directory, and then enables/disables certain functionality
and information on a per-project basis).

On the other hand, I am not sure if this should be the (new) default for OpenStruct,
despite feeling that it may be useful. Perhaps something of a toggle way, to allow
a variant of OpenStruct that responds to methods as you describe, without changing
the status quo of OpenStruct's behaviour (You should also define the behaviour what
happens when a key is removed again; will the method remain or be removed as well?
Or just return nil but remain there?)

I myself probably do not need it, primarily because I rarely use Struct/OpenStruct;
and for keys-as-methods, I already use specialized classes such as my custom
class Configuration (although I have this for my colour-class too, where I can
simply use .slateblue() or .royalgreen() etc... to make use of the "HTML web-colours"),
yet I can see that this may be useful for other people too, so it may be worthwhile
to think about it (that is of course my personal opinion; at the end of the day you only
have to convince matz).

I think we could actually decouple your suggestion, away from OpenStruct, to a more
general question:

Should core-ruby allow for a class or a pattern that allows for keys in a key-value
pair (a hash) to be used/usable as method calls?
I can not answer this question really
but I think it is worth to have a deeper look at it.

Last but not least, I would encourage a little patience in regards to the proposal, mostly
so that other people can also comment on the usefulness of the underyling pattern
(even though your suggestion is solely about OpenStruct, I think the idea and intent
behind the suggestion can also be asked more generally).

Having this as the new default may be somewhat difficult though, as the path towards
ruby 3.x will probably not have too many incompatibilities (e. g. as opposed to the
full transition from ruby 1.8.x to 2.x) - but again, that is only my own perception, I
have been very wrong before. :)

Updated by mame (Yusuke Endoh) 6 months ago

Objection. It is too implicit and ad-hoc to convert a symbol-key hash to an OpenStruct only when assigning it to a field of another OpenStruct. I believe, in many cases, it can be statically determined that the value being assigned is Hash or not. It would be readable and easy to maintain to convert it explicitly only when it is a Hash.

I somewhat agree with shevegen: accessing an entry of a symbol-key hash in a method style would be useful, without OpenStruct. Though, it is very very big change, so I'm unsure if it is acceptable or not.

Updated by abhionlyone (Abhilash Reddy) 6 months ago

shevegen (Robert A. Heiler) wrote:

This is an interesting suggestion.

I actually implemented something similar for a class that I tend to call Configuration.

This class also allows for using its keys as method names, so I can relate to your
suggestion here. (If you are curious, class Configuration usually reads .yml files
from a configuration directory, and then enables/disables certain functionality
and information on a per-project basis).

On the other hand, I am not sure if this should be the (new) default for OpenStruct,
despite feeling that it may be useful. Perhaps something of a toggle way, to allow
a variant of OpenStruct that responds to methods as you describe, without changing
the status quo of OpenStruct's behaviour (You should also define the behaviour what
happens when a key is removed again; will the method remain or be removed as well?
Or just return nil but remain there?)

I myself probably do not need it, primarily because I rarely use Struct/OpenStruct;
and for keys-as-methods, I already use specialized classes such as my custom
class Configuration (although I have this for my colour-class too, where I can
simply use .slateblue() or .royalgreen() etc... to make use of the "HTML web-colours"),
yet I can see that this may be useful for other people too, so it may be worthwhile
to think about it (that is of course my personal opinion; at the end of the day you only
have to convince matz).

I think we could actually decouple your suggestion, away from OpenStruct, to a more
general question:

Should core-ruby allow for a class or a pattern that allows for keys in a key-value
pair (a hash) to be used/usable as method calls?
I can not answer this question really
but I think it is worth to have a deeper look at it.

Last but not least, I would encourage a little patience in regards to the proposal, mostly
so that other people can also comment on the usefulness of the underyling pattern
(even though your suggestion is solely about OpenStruct, I think the idea and intent
behind the suggestion can also be asked more generally).

Having this as the new default may be somewhat difficult though, as the path towards
ruby 3.x will probably not have too many incompatibilities (e. g. as opposed to the
full transition from ruby 1.8.x to 2.x) - but again, that is only my own perception, I
have been very wrong before. :)

Thanks for taking the time to review this feature request. If possible please take a look at this PR https://github.com/ruby/ostruct/pull/5/files.

I'm really sorry that I've not explained what I'm trying to do in a proper manner.

person = OpenStruct.new({name: "Abhilash", more_info: {country: "JAPAN", skills: ["Ruby", "C++"]}})
puts person.more_info # This will be still a Hash

person = OpenStruct.new({name: "Abhilash", more_info: {country: "JAPAN", skills: ["Ruby", "C++"]}}, {recursive: true})
puts person.more_info # Now this will be a OpenStruct object

So unless you explicitly pass recusrive: true to the OpenStruct constructor, The child Hash Objects will never be converted to OpenStruct objects.

So, This will not create any compatibility issues for the existing code.

Updated by shevegen (Robert A. Heiler) 6 months ago

My apologies; I wasn't quite fully awake when I wrote my above
comment since, obviously, easy "creation of ad-hoc methods" is a
characteristic trait of struct/openstruct already (not sure why I somewhat
forgot this; guess I have not used these two for a while), so please disregard
some of my above comment accordingly

It may still be worthwhile to have a pattern that may be used for classes, e. g. a
module that may extend this functionality onto different classes - but this may
be for another suggestion altogether rather than distract from what the author
of the issue request here.

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