Ruby Blocks

In Ruby, a block is a piece of code that can be executed. It is similar to a function or a method, but it is not an object. Blocks are used in many places in Ruby, such as iterators and callbacks. A block is a self-contained unit of code that can be passed around as a parameter to a method or another block. This is what makes them so powerful and versatile.


A block is enclosed in curly braces {} or do-end. Here's an example of a block that prints the numbers from 1 to 5:

5.times { |i| puts i+1 }

The pipe symbol | is used to define a parameter for the block. In this case, the parameter is i. The block is executed 5 times, and each time it prints the value of i+1.

The same block can be written using the do-end syntax:

5.times do |i|
  puts i+1

The advantage of using the do-end syntax is that it allows you to write multi-line blocks. This can make your code more readable, especially if the block contains a lot of code.

Passing Blocks to Methods

Blocks can be passed to methods as arguments. The method can then execute the block at a later time. Here's an example:

def repeat(n)
  n.times { yield }

repeat(3) { puts "Hello" }

The repeat method takes an argument n and a block. The block is executed n times using the yield keyword. In this example, the block prints "Hello" 3 times.

Blocks can also be passed to methods using the & operator. This operator converts a block into a Proc object, which can be passed as an argument to a method that expects a Proc. Here's an example:

def my_method(&block)

my_method { puts "Hello" }

The my_method method takes a block as an argument and calls it using the call method. The block prints "Hello" to the console.

Common Use Cases

Blocks are used in many places in Ruby. Here are a few common use cases:


An iterator is a method that executes a block of code for each element in a collection. Here's an example:

[1, 2, 3].each { |i| puts i }

This code prints the numbers 1, 2, and 3 to the console. The each method is an iterator that executes the block for each element in the array.


A callback is a method that is executed when a certain event occurs. Here's an example:

class MyClass
  def initialize(&block)
    @callback = block

  def do_something
    # do something

obj = { puts "Callback executed" }
obj.do_something # prints "Callback executed"

In this example, the MyClass constructor takes a block as an argument and assigns it to an instance variable @callback. The do_something method does something and then executes the callback using the call method.

DSLs (Domain-Specific Languages)

A DSL is a language that is specific to a certain domain or problem space. Blocks are often used to create DSLs in Ruby. Here's an example:

class MyDSL
  def initialize(&block)

  def hello(name)
    puts "Hello, #{name}!"
end do
  hello "John"

In this example, the MyDSL constructor takes a block as an argument and evaluates it using the instance_eval method. The block contains a call to the hello method, which prints "Hello, John!" to the console.

Ruby blocks are a powerful feature of the language. They allow you to write concise and expressive code, and are used extensively in the standard library. Understanding how to use blocks is essential for any Ruby developer. With blocks, you can write code that is more flexible and reusable, and that can be used in a variety of contexts. So if you're new to Ruby, or if you haven't used blocks before, take some time to learn this important feature. And if you're already familiar with blocks, explore some of the advanced techniques that are available to you.