wrap_word: A Simple Ruby Method for Formatting CLI Output in Terminal

wrap_word: A Simple Ruby Method for Formatting CLI Output in TerminalEli LauffenburgerBlockedUnblockFollowFollowingMar 12The Problem:Last week I was working on a project (found here for those interested) that is designed to demonstrate the use of ActiveRecord in modeling Many to Many relationships in Ruby.

A main feature of my end product is an info page output in terminal that allows users to get a brief summary of a company that meets their search parameters.

Before implementing a formatting method, this was the output in OSX terminal:*Almost* literally unreadable.

Obviously, I wasn’t happy that one of my main features had “business” being truncated into “busine” and “ss”.

After a brief foray into Google, I decided to create a simple method of my own to force clean word wrapping in long strings.

Because my project handled long-form input strings from a database with 5000+ entries, I couldn’t manually edit each string.

I needed a one-size-fits-all solution.

The Solution:My improvised solution took form in a method I call wrap_word.

The goal of wrap_word is to take in a string and return it with carriage returns added at a predetermined given width.

The carriage returns will only be added in between complete words and will take into account if the input string has carriage returns present already.

def wrap_word(input_string, given_width = <default value>) #<default value> to be replaced with an integer by user array_of_characters = input_string.

split("") output_string = [] counter_variable = 0 array_of_characters.

each do |character| #first check if the original character is a carriage return.

#If so, reset the counter variable.

if character == "!." counter_variable = 0 #if not, check if the counter is greater than the desired width, #also checking if the original character is a space.

#if so, replace it with a carriage return.

elsif counter_variable >= given_width && character == " " character = "!." counter_variable = 0 end output_string << character counter_variable += 1 end return output_string.


to_sendThe default value for given_width will change depending on the size of text you’re using in Terminal as well as the resolution of your display.

A simple trick for finding the default value for given_widthfollows:Copy a string the width of your terminal window:Enter irb and run str.

length on the string:My screen width is approximately 119 characters.

Subtract about 15% from the value to allow for margins, and you have your default value.In my example, the total width was 119 characters (my terminal was greatly magnified!) and I ended up using a value of 105 for my default value.

Use yours in the method definition.

The Result:I used this code to replace any longform string that would be output to my terminal.

Whenever using puts [string] on a long string, the new syntax would be puts wrap_word([string]).

Referring to the prior example of my project, the company descriptions output by wrap_word fit nicely on my terminal window:Clean and simple!This code could be improved upon by finding a more simple or automatic solution to the default value for given_width.

Feel free to copy this code and improve upon it.After creating wrap_word I found that someone had created a ruby gem that seems to tackle the same problem from a different approach.

Take a look at it here.


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