Other Hash Methods Code Along


  • Use the #values method to return the values in a hash
  • Use the #keys method to return the keys in a hash
  • Use the #min method to return the minimum value of hash

Let's learn some interesting methods we can call on hashes. Previously, you were asked to iterate over a hash and collect the key that pointed to the lowest value. We asked you not to use some of the higher level hash methods there. Now, we're going to learn a few tricks that can make a task like that much easier.


You can collect all of the values in a hash with the #values method:

groceries = {fruit: "Banana", vegetable: "Broccoli", dessert: "Cookie"}

#  => ["Banana", "Broccoli", "Cookie"]

We can see that the #values method returns an array of the values of the keys in the hash.


This method, not surprisingly, returns an array containing all of the keys in the hash that #keys has been called on:

groceries = {fruit: "Banana", vegetable: "Broccoli", dessert: "Cookie"}

#  => [:fruit, :vegetable, :dessert]


You can use the #min method on a hash to return the key/value pair whose key is the lowest value. What return type can return two different things? Arrays!:

letters = {a: 1, b: 2}

#  => [:a, 1]

alphabetical_order = {c: 100, d: 1}
#  => [c:, 100] # Because the key :c is lower than :d in alphabetical order.

These are only a few of the many helpful methods out there. Be sure to check out the Ruby Docs on Hashes to learn more.

Let's practice before you move on to the next challenge:

Code Along: Manipulating Nested Hashes

You'll be coding your solution to this challenge in lib/values.rb, lib/keys.rb, and lib/min.rb. We have a nested hash of grocery items.

groceries = {
  dairy: ["milk", "yogurt", "cheese"],
  vegetable: ["carrots", "broccoli", "cucumbers"],
  meat: ["chicken", "steak", "salmon"],
  grains: ["rice", "pasta"]

Challenge 1: Return the keys

Use the #keys method to collect all of the keys of the hash. This one is simple enough.

#=> [:dairy, :vegetable, :meat, :grains]

After you have written the correct code in lib/keys, check the return value of your method by running ruby bin/keys in the terminal.

Challenge 2: Return the values

Use the #values method to collect all of the values of the grocery type keys (:dairy, :vegetables, :meat, :grains). The method should return a one-dimensional (or "flat") array that only includes the values (groceries such as "milk" and "carrots") without their keys.

Hint: What happens when you call #values on a nested hash? What is the return value? How can you flatten an array of arrays? Make sure to use binding.pry to help you solve this one.

#=> [["milk", "yogurt", "cheese"], ["carrots", "broccoli", "cucumbers"], ["chicken", "steak", "salmon"], ["rice", "pasta"]]

Now, to get all the values in a flat array:

#=> ["milk", "yogurt", "cheese", "carrots", "broccoli", "cucumbers", "chicken", "steak", "salmon", "rice", "pasta"]

After you have written the correct code in lib/values, check the return value of your method by running ruby bin/values in the terminal.

Challenge 3: Return the min

Use the #min method to collect the value that comes first alphabetically ("broccoli").

Step 1. Grab all the grocery values

Lucky for us, we already did this in Challenge 2. If we call, groceries.values.flatten we should get back: ["milk", "yogurt", "cheese", "carrots", "broccoli", "cucumbers", "chicken", "steak", "salmon", "rice", "pasta"]

Step 2. Get the minimum value

Simply calling #min on what we did in Step 1 should do the trick:

#=> "broccoli"

After you have written the correct code in lib/min, check the return value of your method by running ruby bin/min in the terminal.

Note: #min will also work for the entire hash. Play around in pry to see what is returned when you call groceries.min.


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