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On 26-Aug-05, at 9:35 AM, Chris Marrin wrote:

    Function MyClass:f(v) a = v end

then you could go:

    local instance = MyClass()

and when f(v) runs, the __setindex metamethod would get called with the parameters of the common function environment, the property 'a' and the value 'v'. This __setindex method can then go up to the next function to the stack and find the 'self' reference as the first param. It can then look up 'a' in this reference, set its value to 'v' and you're done. A nice object-oriented mechanism for handling instance local access.

Isn't this a complicated way of confusing the difference between instance and class members? I would have thought that:

  function MyClass:f(v) self.a = v end

was not much harder to type and quite a bit more self-documenting.

I'm aware that some languages do perform this sort of scoping exercise, so I guess some people must like it. I think it also leads to obscure bugs.

That doesn't avoid the self confusion error which you noted.

However, in many cases you can avoid the problem by using get/set notation instead of methods. If the user interface were:

  obj.f = v

instead of


then there would be no possibility of programmer error, and it would have the advantage of letting you define both an f-setter and an f-getter. (Or the disadvantage of forcing you to :) Anyway, that was the motivation for the library for which I sent you an excerpt.

This doesn't work in the case of setters which require more than one argument, or getters which require arguments. But that's not the common case (although it's not a rare case, either).