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  • Encode in UTF-8.
  • End lines Unix-style (LF).
  • No line longer than 80 - 100 characters. Makes it possible to read code e.g. in version control diffs and ack search results.
  • Indent with 2 spaces. No tabs, ever. They make reading diffs hard.
  • If you break up long argument lists, hashes, or arrays, keep the elements and the closing delimiter on their own lines.

        :key1 => 1,
        :key2 => 2,
        :key3 => 3,
      dont_do_this({:key1 => 1,
                    :key2 => 2,
                    :key3 => 3})
  • If you break up a chain of method calls, put first call right after receiver and put subsequent ones each on its own line.

      receiver.method1(arg1, arg2)
              .map { |e| e.to_s }
  • Avoid indentation other than at the beginning of a line. In other words don’t vertically align tokens on consecutive lines. It might look pretty at first sight, however it creates more work because a change to one line might affect all other lines. It makes it harder to spot the actual change in version control diffs. Exception: chained method calls (see above).

      def do_this
          :a => 1,
          :very_long_hash_key => 2,
          :medium => 3
      def dont_do_this
          :a                  => 1,
          :very_long_hash_key => 2,
          :medium             => 3
  • Put spaces around operators, after commas, colons and semicolons, around { and before }.

      1 + 3
      array = [1, 2, 3, 4]
      hash = { :a => 1, :b => 2, :c => 3 }
      "#{ interpolated_strings }"
      lambda { |args| also_for_blocks }
  • No spaces after (, [ and before ], ).

      array = [1, 2, 3, 4]
  • Put two spaces before statement modifiers (postfix if/unless/while/until/rescue).

      "true"  if true
      "true"  unless false
  • Indent when as deep as case.

      case arg
      when 1
      when 2
  • Use YARD and its conventions for API documentation. Don’t put an empty line between the comment block and the def. YARD info.
  • Use empty lines to break up a long method into logical paragraphs. Corollary: Avoid long methods.
  • Use newlines around multi-line blocks (case, if, do, while, etc.).
  • No trailing whitespace at line endings.


  • Use def with parentheses when there are arguments.
  • Never use for, unless you exactly know why.
  • Never use then.
  • Use &&/|| for boolean expressions, and/or for control flow. (Rule of thumb: If you have to use outer parentheses, you are using the wrong operators.)

      p = Person.find_by_id(id) or raise "Could not find person"
      p = Person.find_by_id(id) ||
      p = Person.find_by_id(id) and p.update_last_seen_at
  • Avoid multiline ternary operators (? : ), use if.
  • Use parentheses liberally. Omit them only in the simplest cases. They are helpful in breaking long lines and keeping row length under 100 characters. Makes your ruby look a bit more like C.

      x = Math.sin(y)
  • Prefer {...} over do...end. Multiline {...} is fine: having different statement endings (} for blocks, end for if/while/…) makes it easier to see what ends where. But use do...end for “control flow” and “method definitions” (e.g. in Rakefiles and certain DSLs.). Avoid do...end when chaining.
  • Avoid return where not required.
  • Using the return value of = is okay. Put parentheses around it to indicate that this is intentional:

      if (v = array.grep(/foo/))
        # do something with v
  • When comparing two values, put the constant first. This will raise an error if you use = where you should have used ==: if "start" == state.
  • Use ||= freely.
  • Use w%[...] notation for arrays that contain single word strings: %w[project todo collaborator].each { |e| puts e }.
  • Use \A and \z to set boundaries on regular expressions, don’t use ^ and $. \A and \z match to the beginning/end of the string. ^ and $ match to the beginning/end of a line.
  • Append a comma after the last array entry or hash key. Ruby can parse this syntax, and it helps you avoid syntax errors when you resort the elements:

      a = [


  • Use snake_case for methods.
  • Use CamelCase for classes and modules. (Keep acronyms like HTTP, RFC, XML uppercase.)
  • Use SCREAMING_SNAKE_CASE for other constants.
  • The length of an identifier determines its scope. Use one-letter variables for short block/method parameters, according to this scheme:
    • e: elements of an Enumerable: ary.each { e puts e }
    • ex: rescued exceptions: rescue
    • f: files and file names
    • i,j: indexes
    • k: the key part of a hash entry
    • r: a return value
    • s: a string
    • v: any value
    • v: the value part of a hash entry
  • Use _ for unused variables: def mock(_).
  • When using inject with short blocks, name the arguments |m, e| (mnemonic: memo, each).
  • When defining binary operators, name the argument “other”: def +(other).
  • Prefer map over collect, find over detect, find_all over select.
  • Use the following format for boolean getters: has_permission?, is_yellow?
  • Start expensive method names with “compute_”, memoize result in a wrapping method where appropriate.
  • When iterating over an enumerable in a multi-line block, name the block param the singular of the collection.


  • Comments longer than a word are capitalized and use punctuation.
  • Avoid superfluous comments that don’t add any information to what the code already provides.


  • Code in a functional way, avoid mutation when it makes sense. Mark methods with side effects with a ! at the end of the method name.
  • Do not mess around in core classes when writing libraries.
  • Do not program defensively.
    One should not test input data to functions for correctness. Most of the code in the system should be written with the assumption that the input data to the function in question is correct. Only check data when it "enters" the system for the first time.

Ruby idiosyncrasies

  • When testing if a DateTime falls into a range, use cover? instead of include?. This article explains why. This is the fix if you experience warning: Time#succ is obsolete.

The rest

  • Avoid long methods.
  • Avoid long parameter lists.
  • Avoid message chaining (task.project.user), use #delegate instead (task.user)
  • Use def self.method to define singleton/class methods. It communicates much more clearly what’s a class method. Unless you need to mark a class method as private or protected. Then you have to use the class << self (singleton_class) form.
  • Avoid alias when alias_method will do.
  • Write for Ruby 2.0. It’s time leave 1.8 and 1.9 behind.
  • Don’t optimize prematurely. Optimize when you have no other choice.
  • Don’t over-engineer (unnecessary abstractions)
  • Don’t under-engineer (copy and paste code)
  • Avoid needless metaprogramming. Prefer explicity over magic. Your future self and other readers of your code with thank you for it.
  • Be consistent.
  • Don’t generalize prematurely. Build 2 specific solutions before you build a general solution.
  • Design breadth first. Don’t jump on the first implementation idea that pops up in your mind. Make an effort to come up with 2 alternative approaches. This doesn’t have to take long.