Commit ff83799c authored by Michal 'vorner' Vaner's avatar Michal 'vorner' Vaner

lang: Morphers ‒ functions without parentheses

Describe how we'll implement functions without parentheses around the
parent 366e37ff
requirements \
ideas \
language \
DOCS += $(addprefix design/,$(DESIGN_DOCS))
......@@ -62,3 +62,22 @@ simply describe in what situation the OS should be.
It is possible to hook some functions in between (after, before)
installation of packages, or even between installation and
Available commands
Most of the commands can be called in parenthesis mode, eg:
Command("string", "string", {param = 1})
Or in a parentheses-less mode:
Command "string" "string" {param = 1}
This is done by a trick with metatables returns a delayed morpher
object. It should be mostly invisible most of the time, though. The
result may be used as a handle to the created object and manipulate it
Also, most of the commands start with a capital letter, since they act
as constructors.
Delayed morphers
It is possible to create Lua functions that may be called with or
without parentheses. However, this needs a small trick, especially
when the functions have multiple parameters or even variable number of
When calling the function with parentheses, it happens as a single
Command("string", "string", {param = 1})
When calling without parameters (and also without commas), the call is
actually multiple calls, each with a single added parameters. So these
two things are equivalent:
Command "string" "string" {param = 1}
Command("string")("string")({param = 1})
Therefore, to make this work, every call must store the parameter
somewhere and then return something that can be called. That something
is a table with metatable. The table contains the parameters and
appends it there. The metatable specifies that it can be called.
After all the parameters are collected, the real function may be
called. For this to work, one active morpher must be kept in a global
* When another function is started. The old one is first executed and
the result is morphed into the real result.
* When an end of script is reached.
* When the morpher is used. We can use meta-tables to hook into the
events, like stringyfying the result, or indexing it. It would
first morph into the real result and then perform the operation on
the morphed object.
The morphing is calling the real function and replacing the insides of
the morpher object with insides of the result. Also, the metatable
needs to be switched. This however works only on single table results.
The morpher functions can be generated from the real function,
therefore this machinery needs to be written just once.
The morphers should act similarly as if the functions were called
directly, except that some error conditions and side effects may
happen later on.
Some of these tricks may be demonstrated on the following code (until
the real code is written):
local m = {
__call = function(table, text)
print "Meta"
return x(text)
__tostring = function(table)
print "Morph"
return tostring(setmetatable(table, nil))
function x(text)
print "Called"
return setmetatable({ t = text }, m)
local y = x"hello" "y" {} ()
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