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RFC from a newbie: Method References

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Ian Hickson
December 15, 2000 23:39
RFC from a newbie: Method References
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I'm very new to the Perl 6 development process, and apart from browsing
through the RFCs and the archives of this mailing list, I haven't done
much research. So I apologise in advance if I'm breaking some etiquette/
convention by jumping in here with a half-baked idea!

Having said that: The only feature that I really miss from Perl 5 is the
lack of method pointers -- that is, references to functions in a package
with an associated object.

In straight Perl, the following works fine:

   sub function { }
   my $subref = \&function;

...however, the "natural" extension of this to a reference to a method

   package Foo;
   sub create { bless({},shift); }
   sub method { }
   package main;
   $foo = Foo->create();
   $methodref = \$foo->method;

This can be "faked" at the moment by storing the object reference ($object
= $foo) and the CODE reference ($subref = \&Foo::method) separately, and
then constructing the method call:

   &$subref($object, ...arguments...);

...but this breaks inheritance and all the other niceties of objects,
which are the main reason for using method references in the first place.

So: What I would love to see in Perl 6 is a way of having a single scalar
that holds a reference to a particular instance's method.

Is there any chance that this would be considered? Or is this already
possible in Perl 5 but I have missed it?

Thanks for your time!
Ian Hickson                                     )\     _. - ._.)       fL
Netscape, Standards Compliance QA              /. `- '  (  `--'
+1 650 937 6593                                `- , ) -  > ) \ _________________________  (.' \) (.' -' __________

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