New to programming and to Ruby, and I hope this question about symbols is in line. I understand that symbols in Ruby (e.g.,
:price) are useful particularly as hash keys, and for all-around doing a lightweight, specific subset of the things that strings can do.
However, I am confused about symbols in one respect. Specifically, when they're used in the
attr_accessor types of methods, it appears that they are behaving more like a variable. E.g.,
attr_reader :book, :price.
If true that they are variables in that usage, this is a bit puzzling because they are not typically listed among variable types (like the $global, @instance, local, @@class, and sometimes, CONSTANT, variable types) when variables types are described.
And if symbols are variables when used this way, what scope should be expected of them? Or are they still somehow lightweight strings in this context as well? (Or perhaps in some broader way, do symbols, strings, and variables all share a fundamental duck-like nature?) Thank you in advance for your insights and advice.