Is [ ] really a method?


#1

Hi all,

Well while running down the text I read that [] (used in case Arrays and
Hashes) is actually a method called on that Array/hash object and also
that it can be overridden.

well point taken.

BUT if this is just another case of operator overloading then how come
we can call

a[1]=‘item’

rather than calling

a[]1 =‘item’

(Anyways this gave me a syntax error)
Or perhaps it is just another case of Syntactic Sugar?
Or perhaps not, because if that has to be true than the second statement
should also have been true.

So Is [] really a method or is a simple grammar token?

Thanks
Raja


#2

On Jun 1, 2007, at 11:42 PM, Vin R. wrote:

we can call
statement
should also have been true.

So Is [] really a method or is a simple grammar token?

You are really asking about []= which is a different method than [].
And, yes, it really is a method, as is shown by

a = [‘a’]
a.[]=(1, ‘b’)
a # => [“a”, “b”]

which is the same as

a = [‘a’]
a[1] = ‘b’
a # => [“a”, “b”]

Regards, Morton


#3

On Sat, Jun 02, 2007 at 12:42:54PM +0900, Vin R. wrote:

rather than calling

a[]1 =‘item’

(Anyways this gave me a syntax error)
Or perhaps it is just another case of Syntactic Sugar?
Or perhaps not, because if that has to be true than the second statement
should also have been true.

So Is [] really a method or is a simple grammar token?

Everything is a token in the grammar, of course. When the code is being
parsed the [] is matched as a token, in this case the brackets operator.
The reason your first example works and your second does not is that the
grammar rules for the brackets operator take the arguments to the
operator
from between the literal open and close bracket characters. Placing
those
arguments outside the brackets, unsurprisingly, does not work.

Since all operators are implemented as method calls in Ruby, the text is
indeed correct in that [] is called as a method on an Array, Hash, or
whatever the object is.

Note, by the way, that the operator in your examples is actually []=
rather
than [], i.e. it is an element assignment rather than an element
retrieval.

Thanks
Raja
–Greg


#4

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On Jun 1, 2007, at 10:42 PM, Vin R. wrote:

we can call

a[1]=‘item’

rather than calling

a[]1 =‘item’

(Anyways this gave me a syntax error)

try:

a.

and

a.[]=(1,‘item’)

I’d say it is syntactical sugar for those methods…

David M.
Maia Mailguard http://www.maiamailguard.com
removed_email_address@domain.invalid

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