Module

A Module is a collection of methods and constants. The methods in a module may be instance methods or module methods. Instance methods appear as methods in a class when the module is included, module methods do not. Conversely, module methods may be called without creating an encapsulating object, while instance methods may not. (See Module#module_function.)

In the descriptions that follow, the parameter sym refers to a symbol, which is either a quoted string or a Symbol (such as :name).

module Mod
  include Math
  CONST = 1
  def meth
    #  ...
  end
end
Mod.class              #=> Module
Mod.constants          #=> [:CONST, :PI, :E]
Mod.instance_methods   #=> [:meth]

Module Reference

Class

Classes in Ruby are first-class objects—each is an instance of class Class.

Typically, you create a new class by using:

class Name
 # some code describing the class behavior
end

When a new class is created, an object of type Class is initialized and assigned to a global constant (Name in this case).

When Name.new is called to create a new object, the new method in Class is run by default. This can be demonstrated by overriding new in Class:

class Class
  alias old_new new
  def new(*args)
    print "Creating a new ", self.name, "\n"
    old_new(*args)
  end
end

class Name
end

n = Name.new

produces:

Creating a new Name

Classes, modules, and objects are interrelated. In the diagram that follows, the vertical arrows represent inheritance, and the parentheses metaclasses. All metaclasses are instances of the class Class.

                         +---------+             +-...
                         |         |             |
         BasicObject-----|-->(BasicObject)-------|-...
             ^           |         ^             |
             |           |         |             |
          Object---------|----->(Object)---------|-...
             ^           |         ^             |
             |           |         |             |
             +-------+   |         +--------+    |
             |       |   |         |        |    |
             |    Module-|---------|--->(Module)-|-...
             |       ^   |         |        ^    |
             |       |   |         |        |    |
             |     Class-|---------|---->(Class)-|-...
             |       ^   |         |        ^    |
             |       +---+         |        +----+
             |                     |
obj--->OtherClass---------->(OtherClass)-----------...

Class Reference