Range

A Range represents an interval—a set of values with a beginning and an end. Ranges may be constructed using the s..e and s...e literals, or with Range::new. Ranges constructed using .. run from the beginning to the end inclusively. Those created using ... exclude the end value. When used as an iterator, ranges return each value in the sequence.

(-1..-5).to_a      #=> []
(-5..-1).to_a      #=> [-5, -4, -3, -2, -1]
('a'..'e').to_a    #=> ["a", "b", "c", "d", "e"]
('a'...'e').to_a   #=> ["a", "b", "c", "d"]

Endless Ranges

Since Ruby 2.6

An “endless range” represents a semi-infinite range. Literal notation for an endless range is:

(1..)
# or similarly
(1...)

Which is equivalent to

(1..nil)  # or similarly (1...nil)
Range.new(1, nil) # or Range.new(1, nil, true)

Endless ranges are useful, for example, for idiomatic slicing of arrays:

[1, 2, 3, 4, 5][2...]   # => [3, 4, 5]

Some implementation details:

  • end of endless range is nil;
  • each of endless range enumerates infinite sequence (may be useful in combination with Enumerable#take_while or similar methods);

  • (1..) and (1...) are not equal, although technically representing the same sequence.

Custom Objects in Ranges

Ranges can be constructed using any objects that can be compared using the <=> operator. Methods that treat the range as a sequence (#each and methods inherited from Enumerable) expect the begin object to implement a succ method to return the next object in sequence. The #step and #include? methods require the begin object to implement succ or to be numeric.

In the Xs class below both <=> and succ are implemented so Xs can be used to construct ranges. Note that the Comparable module is included so the == method is defined in terms of <=>.

class Xs                # represent a string of 'x's
  include Comparable
  attr :length
  def initialize(n)
    @length = n
  end
  def succ
    Xs.new(@length + 1)
  end
  def <=>(other)
    @length <=> other.length
  end
  def to_s
    sprintf "%2d #{inspect}", @length
  end
  def inspect
    'x' * @length
  end
end

An example of using Xs to construct a range:

r = Xs.new(3)..Xs.new(6)   #=> xxx..xxxxxx
r.to_a                     #=> [xxx, xxxx, xxxxx, xxxxxx]
r.member?(Xs.new(5))       #=> true

Range Reference