I have an initialize method for a class that looks like this:

def initialize(
  date_online: '-',
  date_offline: '-',
  date_modified: '-',
  date_tagged: '-',
  tags: []
  @site          = site
  @name          = name
  @date_online   = date_online
  @date_offline  = date_offline
  @date_modified = date_modified
  @date_tagged   = date_tagged
  @tags          = tags

However, RuboCop is telling me that I should:

Metrics/ParameterLists: Avoid parameter lists longer than 5 parameters. [7/5]

So, what is the best way to rectify this? It's an initializer, so all those parameters are necessary. Is the desired solution to use a hash?

def initialize(args)
  @site          = args[:site]
  @name          = args[:name]
  @date_online   = args[:date_online]   || '-'
  @date_offline  = args[:date_offline]  || '-'
  @date_modified = args[:date_modified] || '-'
  @date_tagged   = args[:date_tagged]   || '-'
  @tags          = args[:tags]          || []

Then how should I manually handle the fact that site and name are required? I could add some code after the assignments that will throw an error if the required fields aren't present:

raise ArgumentError unless @site && @name

That makes sense to me. But I assume the makers of RuboCop know what they're talking about, which leads me to suspect that there's a standard for this sort of thing.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I have rolled back your last edit. Please do not update the code in your question to incorporate feedback from answers, doing so goes against the Question + Answer style of Code Review. This is not a forum where you should keep the most updated version in your question. Please see what you may and may not do after receiving answers. \$\endgroup\$
    – Heslacher
    Jul 27, 2018 at 15:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Heslacher: Cool no problem, thanks for the info. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nossidge
    Jul 27, 2018 at 16:12

1 Answer 1


An in-between solution for you might be:

def initialize(site:, name:, **options)
  @site          = site
  @name          = name
  @date_online   = options[:date_online]   || '-'
  @date_offline  = options[:date_offline]  || '-'
  @date_modified = options[:date_modified] || '-'
  @date_tagged   = options[:date_tagged]   || '-'
  @tags          = options[:tags]          || []

You would probably want to raise an error if an unexpected key was passed in as part of options.

  • \$\begingroup\$ That's great! I didn't realise you could split up parameters like that! This has helped me a lot, thank you. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nossidge
    Jul 27, 2018 at 15:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thx, but now I have Cyclomatic complexity for initialize is too high. [7/6] lol! Hmm, maybe have a hash with default values, then loop through that default hash, and assign to options if key doesn't exist or something.. might not improve readability though :o \$\endgroup\$ Dec 16, 2019 at 16:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @EmileVrijdags personally I take a cyclomatic complexity warning with a pinch of salt. If the code is easily understood by future maintainers, then I'll disable it for that method. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 17, 2019 at 10:20

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