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On Friday 02, Christian Bielert wrote:
> I'm currently in the process of integrating luajit into my game engine,
> using its most superb FFI. I have chosen lua for various reasons, among
> others that I want my own class-system and lua offers the most flexibility
> in this.
> Of course, lua only offers this flexibility by not providing this mechanism
> in the first place. And sadly, while it does provide the tools to build
> your own such mechanism, there's no way to adjust its syntax for this. As
> such, my current plan is to use a preprocessor to create the kind of syntax
> that I desire, such as "class" constructs or typed function signatures.
> Unrelated, but the a+=1 syntax wouldn't hurt either :)
> In either case, my current concern is mostly the semantics, not the syntax.
> A thing that I will need pretty early on will be clean, fast type-checks on
> function entry. provides some
> useful information on that, though I personally would prefer something
> along the lines of:
> function param_guard(var, dtype, default)
>    if not var then return default end
>    if type(var) ~= dtype then error("Type error") end
> end
> function foo(a, b, c)
>    a = param_guard(a, "number")
>    a = param_guard(b, "string", "nA")
>    a = param_guard(c, "int")
> end

You could do that with a pre-processor that only parses and replace special 

function foo(a, b, c)
   --[[PARAMS: number a, string b = "nA", int c ]]

After running it through the pre-processor you would then end up with Lua code 
like your example.  This would also allow the pre-processor step to be 
skipped/disabled for production runs or when you need extra speed.  With the 
"PARAMS" comment inside the function the pre-processor would only need to do a 
simple search/parse/replace to enable the checks.

With a small change the pre-processor could be hooked into lua/luajit so all 
Lua code is passed through it.  The pre-processor could even be written in Lua 
code using LPeg see the example Lua code lexer & parser at [1].  Using a full 
Lua parser would allow the type info to be parsed from a Doxygen/javadoc style 
comment before the function.


> Obviously, the type-checks would have to be extended to also support cdata
> and custom class-objects, but the point should be clear. It basically
> reflects a function declaration as it can be found in C++, i.e. in C++ you
> would write the above code as: void foo(number a, string b = "nA", int c)
> My only concern is whether code like this will be efficient, or in fact, if
> a semantic like this can be achieved at all without huge loss in
> efficiency. I'm mainly concerned since I know that luajit relies on a lot
> of internal optimizations, and I'm concerned that a lot of these manual
> typechecks will make it impossible for some of these optimizations to
> happen.

If you make it easy to disable the checks then you can benchmark the cost of 
the type checking and then decided to keep the checks enabled or not.

> Anyway, I'm mainly asking here since I have little experience with lua, and
> if there are any fundamental flaws with my approach, the sooner I know it
> the better. :)

Robert G. Jakabosky