Issue #7792 has been updated by B Kelly.


Hi Daniel,

Daniel Ferreira wrote:
>
> >  (If not for the garbage collection problem, I would have designed
> >  the system to preserve externally generated symbols, and so would
> >  have then required a different approach to distinguish internal
> >  vs. external message names.  So current design is arbitrary in
> >  that sense, but nevertheless, the symbol/string distinction is
> >  being put to use.)
> 
> With symbols being garbage collected now is this functionality broken
> or are you still relying on symbols over strings for your solution?

I've continued using the aforementioned RPC system without enabling
the setting that would allow it to recreate symbols on the receiving
end.

So it continues to work as it did before (if the remote sends symbols,
they appear only as strings locally.)

I will say however that on the balance, in the time I've been using
this system, it can feel sub-optimal to have to keep track of which
parameters are symbols and which are strings.  I'd say my primary
motivation for using producing symbols on the sending end is Ruby's
convenient hash syntax:

  result = some.rpc_method(foo:123, bar:"baz")

I find that i like the syntax enough, that I'll put up with having
to think about when those symbols will have been turned into strings
down the line.

But it would be nice to not have to keep track of that detail.


Regards,

Bill



----------------------------------------
Feature #7792: Make symbols and strings the same thing
https://bugs.ruby-lang.org/issues/7792#change-62988

* Author: Rodrigo Rosenfeld Rosas
* Status: Rejected
* Priority: Normal
* Assignee: Yukihiro Matsumoto
* Target version: Next Major
----------------------------------------
Recently I had to replace several of my symbols to plain strings in my project. Here is what happened:

I generated some results with some class that would add items to an array like this:

results << {id: 1, name: 'abc'}

Then I would store such results in cache using Redis, encoded as a JSON string. But then when I restore the data from cache the hash will be {'id' => 1, 'name' => 'abc'}.

This wasn't a problem until recently because I never used the results directly in the same request before and would always use the value stored on Redis and parsed by JSON.

But recently I had to use the values directly in a view. But then I had a problem because I would have to use symbols in the results for the first time and strings the next times when the result was available on cache. I really don't want to care about memory management in Ruby if possible and symbols forces me to abandon the new sexy hash syntax many times. Now I have to write

results << {'id' => 1, 'name' => 'abc}

when I'd prefer to write

results << {id: 1, name: 'abc}

This is not the first time I had a bad user experience due to symbols being different from strings. And I'm not the only one or ActiveSupport Hash#with_indifferent_access wouldn't be so popular and Rails wouldn't use it all the time internally.

It is really bad when you have to constantly check how you store your keys in your hashes. Am I using symbols or strings as keys? If you use the wrong type on plain hashes you can find a bad time debugging your code. Or you could just use Hash#with_indifferent_access everywhere, thus reducing performance (I guess) and it is pretty inconvenient anyway.

Or if you're comparing the keys of your hash in some "each" closure you have to worry about it being a symbol or a string too.

Ruby is told to be programmers' friendly and it usually is. But symbols are certainly a big exception.



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