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- Subject: Re: strings
- From: steve donovan <steve.j.donovan@...>
- Date: Wed, 16 Dec 2009 18:17:47 +0200
On Wed, Dec 16, 2009 at 5:45 PM, Alexander Gladysh <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> I'm for a metatable on string module's table — to catch __index and
> __newindex access and fail with meaningful runtime error.
That would be easy. It's already an error to try set a new key using a
string, just need the __index fallback further up.
'Overloading the index operator' for strings is a one of those cool
tricks that enact a penalty, The first is that __index becomes a
function that has to check the type of the key, and that means that
any string method access is slightly slower, but the one that is hard
to quantify is loss of type specificity; strings become 'indexable'
but they are not tables. Initially I was fond of overloading __call
for strings so that s(3) was equivalent to s:sub(3,3) and s(3,5) was
equivalent to s:sub(3,5). But then all my strings were callable, and
mostly they were not meant to be callables! So error messages get
more obscure if you pass a string to something expecting a function.
And that's the other downside: this is a global change, and soon as
you start mixing libraries from different people, there's a disaster
waiting to happen, probably in an obscurely silent way.