There are a lot funky hook methods in Ruby. Here are three of them you don't normally see.

This article is quite old.Time flies when you're having fun. I've been writing for my blog for a long time. Stuff changes fast, especially in the Ruby world. That's why I've put this warning on old posts. The article might still be valid, though.

Odd Ruby Methods

I recently encountered some methods I didn't know about.


The tilde method (~) is used by Sequel and you can use it like this:

class Post
  def ~

post =
~post # => 11

That's right: you call this method by placing the tilde before the object.

In Sequel it is used to perform NOT queries, by defining the tilde on Symbol:

Post.where(~:deleted_at => nil)
# => SELECT * FROM posts WHERE deleted_at IS NOT NULL


The minus-at (-@) method works just about the same as the tilde method. It is the method called when a minus-sign is placed before the object. In effect, this means that Fixnum is implemented somewhere along the lines of this:

class Fixnum
  def -@
    self * -1

num = 10
negative = -num # => -10

I found this one browsing through the source of the ActiveSupport::Duration class (you know, the one you get when you do I guess it makes sense.

Be careful with chaining methods though:

ruby-1.9.1-p378 > num = 5
 => 5
ruby-1.9.1-p378 > -num.to_s
NoMethodError: undefined method `-@' for "5":String
  from (irb):5
  from /Users/iain/.rvm/rubies/ruby-1.9.1-p378/bin/irb:17:in `

This also applies to the tilde method.


I don't know. Enrich your DSLs and APIs, if it makes any sense to do it.

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