Feeds

Converting Groovy to Ruby

A different spin on Java

Build a business case: developing custom apps

In this post, Glen Stampoultzis posts a very interesting and clever sequence of steps by which he converts a piece of Java code into idiomatic Groovy code. I thought it was a nice article, so I'll do a very short spin on it: taking Glen's final Groovy code and converting it into idiomatic Ruby.

(I'll probably get my pants flamed off by you-know-who, but hey, it's a slow Thursday afternoon).

Glen's code, an algorithm for finding all n-length subsequences in a given array, ends up here:

def subn(n, list) {
    if (n == 0) return [[]];
    if (list.isEmpty()) return [];

    def remainder = list.subList(1, list.size());
    return subn(n-1, remainder).collect() { [list.get(0)] + it } + subn(n, remainder);
}

(I had to make some edits because his code didn't appear to format right; I don't claim this code is 100 per cent correct in this state).

Admittedly it's a very nice reduction from the original Java code. As Glen correctly surmises, it's largely due to those super-nice closures we get from Groovy. My first step is to make a few minor changes to make it run correctly in Ruby:

def subn(n, list)
    return [[]] if (n == 0);
    return [] if (list.empty?());

    remainder = list.slice(1, list.size());
    return subn(n-1, remainder).collect() {|it| [list.at(0)] + it } + subn(n, remainder);
end

The most notable changes here are flopping the statement-modifying conditionals on the first two returns and adding an "it" parameter to the collect block. Oh, there's also the "empty?" method. But largely it looks like pretty much the same code. The next obvious step is to remove things that aren't needed in Ruby.

def subn(n, list)
    return [[]] if n == 0
    return [] if list.empty?

    remainder = list.slice(1, list.size)
    return subn(n-1, remainder).collect {|it| [list.at(0)] + it } + subn(n, remainder)
end

Mostly just removing some parens that are unnecessary (and distracting, for me) as well as line-terminating semicolons. Note that Groovy also can omit line-terminating semicolons. I think it's a matter of taste.

def subn(n, list)
    return [[]] if n == 0
    return [] if list.empty?

    remainder = list[1..-1]
    subn(n-1, remainder).collect {|it| [list[0]] + it } + subn(n, remainder)
end

Now we've eliminated the last "return" statement and made the list accesses use the array-referencing "[]" method... in the first case with a more idiomatic range of values rather than two parameters. Again, a matter of taste I suppose; two arguments works just fine. So that brings us mostly to the end of converting from the original Groovy code into Ruby. The new version is as readable as the original, but shorter by several characters. And of course this is my biased opinion, but it reads nicer too. I'm sure that will bring about all sorts of flaming in itself.

At any rate, my point in this is certainly not to start a flame war about which version is better. My point is that the Groovy and Ruby versions are still largely the same. If you can learn to produce the Groovy end result, you can just as easily learn to produce the Ruby end result. So if you've stuck with Java because you're worried you can't learn Ruby, or you don't think Ruby is enough like Java... don't be scared! A whole Rubylicious world awaits you.

Oh, and for you Rubyists out there... feel free to post your own improvements in the comments. I didn't want to change the original flow of the code, but I know it can be golfed down a lot more.

Originally published at Charles Nutter’s blog Headius. A Java developer since 1996, JRuby project-lead Charles joined Sun Microsystems in 2006.

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.