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It helps not to think of :a as a variable (you won't see it on
left-hand-side).  It is an identifier called a  'symbol' or in some other
languages an 'atom' or 'interning.' A symbol is guranteed to be the same
(for the same string) everywhere it is used. Atoms can be introduced ad-hoc
in your code and anywhere you use the same atom is assured to match  :foo !=
:bar  but :foobar == :foobar. It is a space and time saver to use symbols as
constants, keys etc. rather than using a string constant.

More on Pg. 308 of Pickaxe 2nd edition.

<Mark/>

On 12/4/05, Daniel Vöěkerts <daniel / voelkerts.de> wrote:
>
> Hi out there,
>
> after looking at rails and the pickaxe book (not totally red yet, just
> used as a reference) I still wondering when to use just a construct
>
> :a => something
>
> What does it stands for and when to use it? Please apologize if it's a
> basic questions, but I can't realize myself the usage.
>
> If someone has a page no. in the pickaxe book, I'm glad to read the
> chapter ;)
>
> Thanks in advance.
> --
> Daniel Vöěkerts
> Protected by Anti Pesto.
>
>

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