Ruby Object Model

Ruby Object Model


  • What’s the difference between a class and an instance from Ruby’s perspective?
  • How are modules used as “mix-ins”?
  • How do you know what variables, methods and classes you have available at any given time?

Investigative Methods

  • .ancestors
  • .included_modules
  • .superclass

Mapping Ruby’s Object Model

Definitions and Rules

  • Classes: store instance methods, have a superclass pointer
  • Instances: store instance variables, have a class pointer
  • Classes are also instances (of Class)
  • Classes can only inherit from one other class (its ‘superclass’)
  • Classes can include multiple Modules.
  • Modules can be mixed-in to multiple classes (mixins)


Use .class, .ancestors, .included_modules, and .superclass to diagram the lookup chain of the following Ruby classes:

  • Hash
  • Array
  • String
  • Integer
  • Float


Ruby Inheritance Diagram

Scope with Variables & Methods

  • See lesson plan for code


When I call what will be my output? How could I get it to print module? How could I get to print method? How could I get to print superclass? How could I get to print superclass's superclass?

Lookup Chain

  • Start by looking for a local variable
  • Check its class for a method
  • Look to that class’s included_modules
  • Until it finds the method, go to the superclass
  • Once you find it, create a scope for that object


  • When a scope is created, it’s called a Binding.
  • Binding: a Ruby class that captures the context in which code is executed.
  • The binding retains the context for future use, including
    • relevant variables
    • methods
    • the value of self
    • some other contextual details


  • See lesson plan.


  • How does Ruby’s look up chain work? What is the order it checks things?
  • What are three methods you can use to learn about where a built in Ruby method gets its components?
  • Draw a diagram of where Ruby would look for the method ::new
  • What is a binding?

Lesson Search Results

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