Issue #2422 has been updated by katz bo.


Dave B wrote:
>Producing an empty array from a splatted empty array seems unproductive.
Agreed.

Tanaka Akira wrote:
> 2009/12/21 katz bo <redmine / ruby-lang.org>:
>> I personally think *[1, 2, 3] should be always unpacked first.
>
> Your way cannot interpret a = *[].
>
> a = *[]
> a =
>
> It is not a valid Ruby statement.

Why not think of this as a special case?
There's always something special about zeros and nils in my shallow opinion. :P

In fact, a = *[] should _exactly_ be a = IMHO. And strictly speaking, a = *[] should not be a valid syntax at all.
But, this is Ruby!

What does Ruby do with a = *[] ? Let me illustrate an IMO proper way:
Ruby looks at *[] and goes, "Fine, let me unpack it."
Ruby unpacks *[].
Then Ruby goes, "Nothing? But I can't _carry_ <nothing>! No.. not in an assignment! Wait.. Let's do it!"
Ruby marks it as nil.

One of the reasons why I think this special case should be handled this way, is the way Ruby handles parallel assignments:
a, b = [1] # => [1]
p a # => 1
p b # => nil
This is not the case, for example, in python. (It spits "ValueError: need more than 1 value to unpack" when you do a, b = [1]).
Since Ruby auto-pads the out-of-range elements as nil, we have a good reason to make Ruby automatically handle a = *[] in this way.

I also have a vague observation that the splatted array is actually dealt differently by the internal Ruby in some cases. Assignment is such a case.

# COMMAND    # OUTPUT # RETURN # NOTES
p            #        # => nil
p *[]        #        # => nil # Fits very well in my "unpack first" theory
p nil        # nil    # => nil
a = *[]; p a # []     # => []  # ruby 1.9; should both be nil IMO
a =* []; p a # []     # => []  # ruby 1.9; should both be nil IMO; the space between * and [ is allowed!

Additionally, I find `return' fails my expectations in a similar way assignment does:

def foo; return *[]; end;       foo # => []  # ruby 1.9; I have doubt: nil or []?
def bar; return *[1]; end;      bar # => [1] # ruby 1.9; I was expecting 1
def baz; return *[],*[1]; end;  baz # => [1]
def ban; return *[1],*[2]; end; ban # => [1, 2]
def boo; return *[1,2]; end;    boo # => [1, 2]

We know that return packs multiple parameters into an array. This, combined with my "unpack first" theory, makes me think the first two results are not correct. But I don't know. Can't test it with ruby 1.8 since I don't have it installed.

Can somebody post the result to the code above for ruby 1.8?

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