Is ‘c’ said to be a character or a string in Ruby – or both? – Education Career Blog

char hello = "hello"; #C
hello = 'h', 'e', 'l', 'l', 'o' #Ruby

If I output the class of hello0 in Ruby, it says “String”. This is because single quoted Strings exist in Ruby and there does not seem to be the notion of a char type. The other day I said to my coworker that he had an array of characters and he said “no I don’t, I have an array of Strings”. Nitpicky, yes, but technically perhaps he is correct. Coming from the world of C I tend not to think of a single character as a String. Is it agreed that the hello array above is an array of Strings rather than an array of characters?

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In C, a character is distinct from a string (which is an array of characters). Ruby does not have an individual character type. Strings can hold any number of characters, and Fixnums can hold the ASCII value for a character and be converted to a printable string containing that character with the #chr method.

The difference between the single-quote and double-quote string syntax in Ruby has to do with how much preprocessing (interpolation, for example) is done on the string.

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Your coworker would be right, Ruby doesn’t seem to have any kind of Character class.

>> 'c'.class                                                            
=> String

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Yes. While in C a string is represented as C-String, which is basically a zero-terminated array of characters, a String in Ruby is a class that stores its content in a more complex way. You can extract any part of it to a new String, and Ruby probably won’t give you lower access to it. In C you get direct access to the memory of it, Ruby is a lot more abstract than that.

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Yes, there is no char class in Ruby, there is only String. (Note that char is defined as 1 byte in the C standard, but that is not the case for unicode characters).

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