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On Fri, Jul 19, 2013 at 5:51 PM, Coda Highland <> wrote:
> On Fri, Jul 19, 2013 at 5:31 PM, Greg Fitzgerald <> wrote:
>> On Fri, Jul 19, 2013 at 4:02 PM, Javier Guerra Giraldez
>> <> wrote:
>>> local f = o:m
>>> as syntax sugar to:
>>> local f = function(...) return o.m(o, ...)  end
>> That would be a good addition too.
>>> i think it's better than Greg's proposal because it doesn't magically
>>> changes the meaning of an existing operator (dot)
>> That's not exactly fair.  It magically changes the dot operator in the
>> same way the __index metamethod magically changes the dot operator.
>> Both are tucked under the hood.  From the user's perspective, the same
>> code could have just as easily been written with no metamethods at
>> all:
>> local funcs = {
>>     inc = function(self)
>>         self.a = self.a + 1
>>         return self
>>     end
>> }
>> local function new(t)
>>    local o = t or {a = 0}
>>    for k,f in pairs(funcs) do
>>       o[k] = function(...) return f(o, ...) end
>>    end
>>    return o
>> end
>> assert(new().inc().inc().inc().a == 3)
>> Using the __index metamethod is a handy way of exposing a Lua library
>> with the familiar syntax of JavaScript, Python, Java, etc.  Using this
>> proposed __method metamethod is a technique for getting that syntax
>> without the performance regression.
>> -Greg
> Overloading : to work when not coupled with a parameter list is the
> better solution. It's still important to be able to access the unbound
> version of the method, so you want x.y to still return the unbound
> version, and you don't want to overload the behavior of . any more
> than it already is. Meanwhile, : without a parameter list is currently
> a syntax error, so adding it would cause no incompatibilities and
> minimal overhead (there would still be a __method dispatch on a:b()
> where there wasn't one before, but that overhead can be brought down
> to just a single comparison by requiring that __method be defined on
> the metatable already when setmetatable is called).
> That said... I'm not convinced that it would be anything more than
> syntactic sugar. Adding "bound functions" that aren't closures to the
> language... well, I can see how it could be done with less overhead
> than defining a closure, but would it actually make a substantive
> difference, and could it be done CLEANLY?
> It sounds to me like this is the time to put one's money where one's
> mouth is and put together a patch so that it can be tested instead of
> merely speculated upon.
> /s/ Adam

Upon further reflection, I think __method may not even be necessary.

The proposal seems to say that "local x = y:z" ought to mean "local x
= getmetatable(y).__method(y,z)", analogous to how "local x = y.z"
means "local x = getmetatable(y).__index(y,z)".

But instead, "local x = y:z" could be defined to have behavior
equivalent to "local x = function(...) return
getmetatable(y).__index(y,z)(y, ...) end". (I say "equivalent" because
of course it could be generating a special bound-function object
instead of a closure.) This avoids the need to create a new metatable
entry or new dispatch rules, and it makes "a:b()" perform exactly the
way it already does.

I'm still not convinced that this is NECESSARY, but if it were to be
implemented, I think this would be best.

/s/ Adam