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Re: Symbolic dereferentiation of magical variables

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Larry Wall
August 21, 2005 07:23
Re: Symbolic dereferentiation of magical variables
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On Sat, Aug 20, 2005 at 10:33:03PM +0000, Ingo Blechschmidt wrote:
: Hi, 
: S02 says: 
:     our $a; say $::("a");     # works 
:     my $a; say $::("a");      # dies, you should use: 
:     my $a; say $::("MY::a");  # works 

That looks like somebody's relic of Perl 5 thinking.  Personally,
I don't see why the second one should die.  I was kind of hoping
that symbolic lookups would include lexicals in Perl 6, unlike in
Perl 5.  Then you use MY or OUR to force it one way or the other.
An unqualified lookup should find exactly the same symbol at run-time
that the compiler would find at compile time (though with non-strict
semantics on undeclared globals regardless of lexical strictness,
since the whole point of differentiating $::() notation from ${}
notation is to get rid of "use strict refs").  Also remember that
leading :: in general doesn't imply "main" as it does in Perl 5.

: How can I use symbolic dereferentiation to get $?SELF, $?CLASS, 
: ::?CLASS, %MY::, etc.? 
:     say $::('$?SELF');        # does this work? 

Probably not, since the ::() notation doesn't want sigils in the key,
and you have to say


to have any hope of it working.  On the other hand


might get you the symbol out of the symbol table hash, unless $?SELF
is too macro-y for that.  $? variables aren't required to have
a dynamically lookupable meaning at run time, since their native
dynamic context is the compiler, not the run-time.

:     say $::('MY::$?SELF');    # or this? 

No, we don't currently allow sigils after ::.  But maybe we could have
some quoting mechanism to allow it:

    say $::('MY::<$?SELF>');    # or this? 

: Also, is $::! valid syntax? (Or am I required to write this as 
: $::("!")?) 

I suspect :: after a sigil is always a no-op unless it's followed by
parens (and maybe <>, if we allow sigil lowering, which would also
give us:


and such.)  I think I like the option lowering the sigil to the key.
Maybe the outer sigil is meaningless in that case, and it's just


But if we say that any package/type name can tagmemically function
as a hash if you use like one, then the last :: can go too:


Though we're getting close to confusing this notation with


which looks similar, but (if we take the Perl 5 meaning) doesn't
do :: splitting on the key.  In other words, this would also get
to OUTER::OUTER<$_>:


because it's accessing through the package as a hash and does further
:: breakdown.  But this wouldn't work:


because it's accessing through the actual symbol table hash, which doesn't
have any such symbol as one of its keys.

That's an awfully subtle distinction, though.  I think OUTER::OUTER's
symbol table hash needs a better name than %OUTER::OUTER.  Maybe it's
named OUTER::OUTER<%OUR> or OUTER::OUTER::<%MY> or some such.
Which makes me think that Perl 5's %FOO::{'name'} symbol table
notation is really bogus, because %OUTER:: doesn't really refer to a
single symbol table in Perl 6, but the starting place for a symbol
search that may span several symbol tables.  At least, that's how
I've been thinking of it.  Maybe we nail OUTER down to one MY and
just use OUTER.findsym('$x') if that's what we mean.  But then we
get bad interactions if someone says


on a class that defines its own findsym method.  Or maybe that's
a feature.  Or maybe only pseudo classes that resolve to MY variants
have a findsym method.  ENOCAFFEINE.


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