On 30/12/05, Chad Perrin <perrin / apotheon.com> wrote:
> I'm afraid I disagree with the implication that what strings do from
> Ruby's perspective is not useful information.  Simply saying that a
> symbol is "something that represents itself" might explain it perfectly
> to you, as it might to legions of (for instance) Python programmers used
> to using names rather than variables, or whatever it is that Python
> programmers do, but it clearly didn't help Steve or me very much.  This
> indicates that another approach is needed, at least sometimes, and that
> approach might involve an understanding of *why* symbols act the way
> they do in context so that symbol behavior in code can be predicted when
> one is writing said code.
>
> . . . and please don't point out that symbols don't "do" anything, or
> have any "behavior".  You (should) know what I mean from context.

Except that by trying to suggest that Symbols "act" a particular way
is nonsense. They don't do anything, they don't have any behaviour;
they just are simple names. In 99% of all uses of Symbols, that's
absolutely all that matters.

Do I *really* care that they're stored in Ruby on the internal symbol table?

No. Not in the last two and a half years have I cared once. Sure, it's
nice that they only end up representing a single object, but I really
have never cared how they're represented. I use them for what they
*are*, not how they're implemented. And what they are, is names.

-austin
--
Austin Ziegler * halostatue / gmail.com
               * Alternate: austin / halostatue.ca