Useful Constants in Ruby's Date Class
While tying to modify dates in string form, I came across a convenient way to convert months into their numerical values.
For example, say I had the string
Aug 20, 2020 and I wanted to convert it into
It’s easy to split the string and add a dash in between each number. But what about
Aug? How do we get the numerical form of
Aug and all the other months?
We could manually create something like a hash that contains months in string and numerical form. But, Ruby already comes with a built-in solution.
In the documentation, I discovered that Ruby’s
Date class comes with two array constants that can help in this situation.
Those constants are
MONTHNAMES is an array of the full names of all the months.
ABBR_MONTHNAMES is an array of abbreviated month names.
In my situation,
ABBR_MONTHNAMES will solve my problem since the data I’m parsing contains abbreviated month names.
Now, when parsing
Aug 20, 2020, I can run the following to get a numerical value for
No need to create a hash or array myself, this constant gets the job done.
I noticed both arrays have
nil as their first value. At first I asked “why?”, but it quickly became clear that the
nil values are simply filler to take up index
0 since there is no month with this numerical value.
This was a nice discovery. Ruby continues to make writing code a pleasant experience.