exercism fetch ruby circular-buffer

Circular Buffer

A circular buffer, cyclic buffer or ring buffer is a data structure that uses a single, fixed-size buffer as if it were connected end-to-end.

A circular buffer first starts empty and of some predefined length. For example, this is a 7-element buffer:

[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][ ]

Assume that a 1 is written into the middle of the buffer (exact starting location does not matter in a circular buffer):

[ ][ ][ ][1][ ][ ][ ]

Then assume that two more elements are added — 2 & 3 — which get appended after the 1:

[ ][ ][ ][1][2][3][ ]

If two elements are then removed from the buffer, the oldest values inside the buffer are removed. The two elements removed, in this case, are 1 & 2, leaving the buffer with just a 3:

[ ][ ][ ][ ][ ][3][ ]

If the buffer has 7 elements then it is completely full:


When the buffer is full an error will be raised, alerting the client that further writes are blocked until a slot becomes free.

When the buffer is full, the client can opt to overwrite the oldest data with a forced write. In this case, two more elements — A & B — are added and they overwrite the 3 & 4:


3 & 4 have been replaced by A & B making 5 now the oldest data in the buffer. Finally, if two elements are removed then what would be returned is 5 & 6 yielding the buffer:

[ ][7][8][9][A][B][ ]

Because there is space available, if the client again uses overwrite to store C & D then the space where 5 & 6 were stored previously will be used not the location of 7 & 8. 7 is still the oldest element and the buffer is once again full.


For installation and learning resources, refer to the exercism help page.

For running the tests provided, you will need the Minitest gem. Open a terminal window and run the following command to install minitest:

gem install minitest

If you would like color output, you can require 'minitest/pride' in the test file, or note the alternative instruction, below, for running the test file.

Run the tests from the exercise directory using the following command:

ruby circular_buffer_test.rb

To include color from the command line:

ruby -r minitest/pride circular_buffer_test.rb


Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Circular_buffer

Submitting Incomplete Solutions

It's possible to submit an incomplete solution so you can see how others have completed the exercise.