IRB Rocks!

# Hack your code

Reduce nil verifications in nested hashes

Post image

Rails provide us multiple methods to help developers and we are used to calling them, check the article Living outside Rails for more info ;). To write Ruby scripts return us to the core language.

Recently I work in a script to parse data from an external API. It returns data in JSON format, but some keys are optional so my code is full of these conditionals:

if res['user'] && res['user']['avatar'] && res['user']['avatar']['small_uri']
  avatar_uri = res['user']['avatar']['small_uri']
  avatar_uri = nil

I need to check every level in the hash response. This problem can be solved using Hash#dig, but it's only available from Ruby 2.3.0.

For older versions, I created a recursive method that return the value of the given path or nil.

# Check if a hash constains the path of keys.
# Example:
# h = { a: { b: { c: 1 }}}
# dig h, :a, :b              # { c: 1 }
# dig h, :a, :b, :c          # 1
# dig h, :a, :b, :d          # nil
# dig h, :a, :d              # nil
# dig h, :a, :d, :c          # nil
# dig h, :a, :b, :c, :d      # nil
# == Parameters:
# hash::
#   Hash to check.
# keys::
#   Array with the sequence of keys to get value
# == Returns:
# Value of the key in the hash or nil
def dig(hash, *keys)
  if hash[keys.first] && keys.size == 1
    return hash[keys.first]
  elsif hash[keys.first] && hash[keys.first].is_a?(Hash)
    dig(hash[keys.first], *keys[1..keys.size-1])
    return nil

Using this method, the code to get avatar_uri from the API can be simplified to:

avatar_uri = dig res, 'user', 'avatar', 'small_uri'


You can grab the code in Github ;).

gem share .gem