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Hi all,

We all know that global variables can be a pain [1] and should be
avoided.  The 'strict struct' pattern brings these benefits to tables
with named keys

A 'struct' can be declared so:

struct.Alice {
	x = 1;
	y = 2;

And instantiated like so:

a = Alice {x = 10, y = 20}


b = Alice {x = 10}  -- y will be set to 2

Any attempt to access an unknown field of a and b will be an error,
like a.z = 1 or print(b.zz), or even Alice{z = 4}.

So this brings two things to the party:
(1)  typos in fieldnames are errors, not silent problems.
(2) such tables now have an _identity_, and this in particular helps
when trying to write more self-documenting code. In LuaDoc, you can
then confidently give the type of a parameter as Alice, rather than 'a
table with x and y being numbers'

Stronger typing also means that type-specific assertions can be thrown.

A simple overload of __tostring would also give you type-specific
string representations like 'Alice #23' for debugging purposes.

It would be possible (using a suitable proxy table) to enforce dynamic
type checking on field assignments, but of course this would incur a
run-time cost.

-- struct.lua
--- defining a struct constructor ---
local struct_mt = {
	-- instances can be created by calling the struct object
	__call = function(s,t)
		local obj = t or {}  -- pass it a table (or nothing)
		local fields = s._fields
		-- attempt to set a non-existent field in ctor?
		for k,v in pairs(obj) do
			if not fields[k] then
		-- fill in any default values if not supplied
		for k,v in pairs(fields) do
			if not obj[k] then
				obj[k] = v
		return obj

-- creating a new struct triggered by struct.STRUCTNAME
struct = setmetatable({},{
	__index = function(tbl,sname)
		-- so we create a new struct object with a name
		local s = {_name = sname}
		-- and put the struct in the enclosing context
		_G[sname] = s
		-- the not-found error
		s._error_nf = function (tbl,key)
			error("field '"..key.."' is not in "..s._name)
		-- reading or writing an undefined field of this struct is an error
		s._mt = {
			_name = s._name;
			__index = s._error_nf;
			__newindex = s._error_nf;
		-- the struct has a ctor
		-- return a function that sets the struct's fields
		return function(t)
			s._fields = t


steve d.