String

A String represents an immutable sequence of UTF-8 characters.

A String is typically created with a string literal, enclosing UTF-8 characters in double quotes:

"hello world"

A backslash can be used to denote various special characters inside the string:

"\"" # double quote
"\\" # backslash
"\e" # escape
"\f" # form feed
"\n" # newline
"\r" # carriage return
"\t" # tab
"\v" # vertical tab

You can use a backslash followed by at most three digits to denote a code point written in octal:

"\101" # == "A"
"\123" # == "S"
"\12"  # == "\n"
"\1"   # string with one character with code point 1

You can use a backslash followed by an u and four hexadecimal characters to denote a unicode codepoint:

"\u0041" # == "A"

Or you can use curly braces and specify up to six hexadecimal numbers (0 to 10FFFF):

"\u{41}"    # == "A"
"\u{1F52E}" # == "🔮"

A string can span multiple lines:

"hello
      world" # same as "hello\n      world"

Note that in the above example trailing and leading spaces, as well as newlines, end up in the resulting string. To avoid this, you can split a string into multiple lines by joining multiple literals with a backslash:

"hello " \
"world, " \
"no newlines" # same as "hello world, no newlines"

Alternatively, a backlash followed by a newline can be inserted inside the string literal:

"hello \
     world, \
     no newlines" # same as "hello world, no newlines"

In this case, leading whitespace is not included in the resulting string.

If you need to write a string that has many double quotes, parentheses, or similar characters, you can use alternative literals:

# Supports double quotes and nested parenthesis
%(hello ("world")) # same as "hello (\"world\")"

# Supports double quotes and nested brackets
%[hello ["world"]] # same as "hello [\"world\"]"

# Supports double quotes and nested curlies
%{hello {"world"}} # same as "hello {\"world\"}"

# Supports double quotes and nested angles
%<hello <"world">> # same as "hello <\"world\">"

Heredoc

You can also use a "heredoc" to create strings:

<<-XML
<parent>
  <child />
</parent>
XML

A "heredoc" starts with <<-IDENT, where IDENT is an identifier: a sequence of letters and numbers that must start with a letter. The "heredoc" finishes with a line that starts with IDENT, ignoring leading whitespace, and is either followed by a newline or by a non-alphanumeric character.

The last point makes it possible to invoke methods on heredocs, or use them inside parentheses:

<<-SOME
hello
SOME.upcase # => "HELLO"

def upcase(string)
  string.upcase
end

upcase(<<-SOME
  hello
  SOME) # => "HELLO"

Leading whitespace is removed from the heredoc contents according to the number of whitespace that this last IDENT has. For example:

# Same as "Hello\n  world"
<<-STRING
  Hello
    world
  STRING

# Same as "  Hello\n    world"
<<-STRING
    Hello
      world
  STRING

Interpolation

To create a String with embedded expressions, you can use string interpolation:

a = 1
b = 2
"sum = #{a + b}"        # "sum = 3"

This ends up invoking Object#to_s(IO) on each expression enclosed by #{...}.

Without interpolation nor escapes

To create a String without interpolation nor escapes use %q:

%q(hello \n #{world}) # => "hello \\n \#{world}"

Delimiters for %q(...) can also be {}, [] and <>.

Heredoc without interpolation nor escapes is also possible, simply enclose the heredoc delimiter in single quotes:

<<-'HERE'
hello \n #{world}
HERE

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