Ruby – How to pick randomly from an array


I want to know if there is a much cleaner way of doing this. Basically, I want to pick a random element from an array of variable length. Normally, I would do it like this:

myArray = ["stuff", "widget", "ruby", "goodies", "java", "emerald", "etc" ]
item = myArray[rand(myarray.length)]

Is there something that is more readable / simpler to replace the second line? Or is that the best way to do it. I suppose you could do myArray.shuffle.first, but I only saw #shuffle a few minutes ago on SO, I haven't actually used it yet.

Best Solution

Just use Array#sample:

[:foo, :bar].sample # => :foo, or :bar :-)

It is available in Ruby 1.9.1+. To be also able to use it with an earlier version of Ruby, you could require "backports/1.9.1/array/sample".

Note that in Ruby 1.8.7 it exists under the unfortunate name choice; it was renamed in later version so you shouldn't use that.

Although not useful in this case, sample accepts a number argument in case you want a number of distinct samples.