Writing your own JRuby extension. Part II: Creating your first class.

More Mormon Matryoshki
What’s the point of coding a JRuby extension if you don’t create classes? Well, I cannot think of any case, but if you find one, please, let me know.

Do you remember Java’s classes hierarchy? If so, you’ll realize  that Java objects inherit from java.lang.Object by default but that is not actually what we need. But how can we tell JRuby that our object inherits from Object, the king of Ruby world? The answer is so simple: just extend RubyObject! (There is a RubyBasicObject too) Taken from Nokogiri::XML::Node:

Of course, you can extend any other class, as long as it is a “Ruby object”. For example, Nokogiri::XML::Document extends from Nokogiri::XML::Node, and we do not need to do anything special to reflect it, just extend XmlNode like XmlDocument does:

After talking a bit about hierarchy, let’s talk about Java constructors. At least two parameters are needed: a org.jruby.Ruby object and a org.jruby.RubyClass object. Being the importance of the former quite obvious, the reason for the latter may not be so clear. Let me show you some real world code: Nokogiri::XML::Node’s dup method. Take a look at the following test:

Both new and dup methods in subclass rely on Nokogiri::XML::Node’s. In here, you can see the this snippet of code:

The rb_obj_class method returns the class of an object, in this case, self. This way, the new node will be an instance of the same class as the original node. That’s the reason a RubyClass is needed in the constructor, in order to know which is the actual class being instantiated.

By the way, do not forget to call super with the Ruby and RubyClass objects.

Next step: creating methods.

Creative Commons License photo credit: quinn.anya

1 thought on “Writing your own JRuby extension. Part II: Creating your first class.”

  1. Heyho!

    Im looking forward to the next part of this tutorial!

    I think i will not get used to it fast enough to help properly with nokogiri, but lets see what happens,…

    University takes lots of time. :/


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