I have seen so many attempts to memoize a value in the form:
@foo ||= some_heavy_calculation(...)
improperly, i.e., even when the value can potentially be falsy. This practice is wide spread, and since in most cases memoization is about efficiency and it would not be critical if it does not work correctly, people do not seem to care so much about correcting the wrong usage.
In such case, the correct form would be:
unless instance_variable_defined?(:@foo) @foo = some_heavy_calculation(...) end
but this looks too long, and perhaps that is keeping people away from using it.
What about allowing
Kernel#instance_variable_set to take a block instead of the second argument, in which case the assignment should be done only when the instance variable is not defined?
Or, if that does not look right or seems to depart from the original usage of
instance_variable_set, then what about having a new method?