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O'Reilly Open Source Convention


Understanding Ruby's Object Model
Chris Pine

Track: Ruby
Date: Thursday, July 10
Time: 4:30pm - 5:15pm
Location: Eugene

In Ruby, where classes are objects, metaclasses are classes, and any object can have its own singleton class, the general object model is deeper (and stranger) than it first appears. While, on the surface, it gives us all of the features of traditional OO languages such as Java, it is in fact a far more intricate, dynamic, and powerful structure.

However, all of this power comes at a conceptual price, and you can't fully use what you don't fully understand. This talk will describe the _right_ way think about objects in Ruby: how an object relates to its class, and how classes and superclasses actually work. In the course of the discussion, we will see how modules and singleton classes fit into the framework. We'll also see how the singleton classes of objects differ from the singleton classes of classes, and why.

Why do you care about all this (after all, you can write perfectly decent Ruby programs using only standard OO techniques)? Because knowing how all of this works will enable you to write better programs faster. For example, sometimes it's overkill to create a singleton class when quickly extending an object will do. Learn to use all of Ruby's meta-programming capabilities, capabilities not found in most other languages, to write dynamic and flexible programs and to code past the conventional OO idioms.

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