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Lua 5.2 introduced __ipairs. It's a high-level ipairs() override, as it overrides ipairs() itself.

Lua 5.3 removed __ipairs and instead added the low-level override __index. It overrides the primitive (low-level) operations used by ipairs(), instead of ipairs() itself.

Why can't we have both? I.e. try __ipairs first, if that fails use __index, etc.

We could also get a __next metamethod and a rawnext() function. pairs() would then first try __pairs, then try __next.

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