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Hi all!

Recently I needed to use "objects" (tables holding pairs of numbers) as indexes in a table, but using value semantics, not object identity.

I searched the wiki and the list archives and I understood (I hope :-) ) that the usual technique in such cases is to map the object to a unique string representation (unique in the sense that every distinct value must have a distinct representation and viceversa) and use that representation as the index.

However, coming from a Java world, I realized that this could be conceptually also be solved introducing a new metamethod (say __hash) to "override" default hash calculation.

I wonder why there is no such metamethod. Would it cause problems or impact too heavily (code complexity or speed?) on current Lua implementation. Or is it just not so useful as I think?

In Java I used to introduce "value classes" almost everywhere (Java parlance for classes of objects with value semantics), so I'm curious why in Lua, given that there is an __eq metamethod, there is no way to override hash calculation (since for value semantics equality and hash computation should behave coherently).

Are objects with value semantics in Lua not so heavily used as table indexes?

I'm really curious to know how people solve this problem usually.
Am I missing something, or there are other techniques to achieve the same result? Although I find the string representation technique valid and simple, there are cases IMHO where it would introduce relevant overhead, especially when the internal "object" representation cannot be the same as the "string key" representation, so they cannot be "merged"


-- Lorenzo