[ Syntax Settings | The ECLiPSe Built-In Predicates | Reference Manual | Alphabetic Index ]

local struct(++Prototype)

export struct(++Prototype)

Declare a structure according to Prototype.
A structure with ground arguments.


ECLiPSe structure notation provides a way to use structures with field names rather than positional arguments. Note that this is not a new data type, just a new syntax for normal compound terms. It is intended to make programs more readable and easier to modify, without compromising efficiency (it is implemented by macro expansion).

E.g. if a structure is declared by specifying the prototype

	book(author, title, year, publisher)
then subsequently book/4-terms can be written as follows:
	book{title:'tom sawyer'}
	book{year:1886, title:'tom sawyer'}
which will be completely equivalent to the usual
	book(_, _, _, _)
	book(_, 'tom sawyer', _, _)
	book(_, 'tom sawyer', 1886, _)
The advantage is that the order and position of the fields or the arity of the whole structure do not have to be known and can be changed by just changing the initial declaration.

The argument index of a field in a structure can be obtained using a term of the form

	FieldName of StructName
so instead of arg(3,B,Y) one can write
	arg(year of book, B, Y)

The arity of the structure can be obtained using a term of the following form

        property(arity) of StructName
instead of having to explicitly give the arity of the structure. So,
        property(arity) of book
would be equivalent to the integer 4. Similarly, a Name/Arity specification can be obtained by writing
        property(functor) of StructName
so book/4 can alternatively be written as
        property(functor) of book

Structures can also be declared to contain other structures, e.g.

	:- local struct(film(based_on:book,director,year)).
This allows the fields of book to be accessed as if they were fields of film. Note that the declaration of the year-field in the film-structure hides the year-field in the book structure.

Modes and Determinism


(4) instantiation fault
Struct is not ground.
(5) type error
Struct is neither variable nor structure.


% A simple structure:

    [eclipse 1]: local struct(person(name,address,age)).

    [eclipse 2]: John = person{age:30, name:john},
            John = person{age:A},
            arg(name of person, John, N).

    John = person(john, _146, 30)
    A = 30
    N = john

    [eclipse 3]: N is (property(arity) of person) + 1.
    N = 4

    [eclipse 4]: PersonStructure = (property(functor) of person).
    PersonStructure = person / 3

% Example for structure inheritance:

    [eclipse 4]: local struct(employee(p:person,salary)).

    [eclipse 5]: Emp = employee{name:john,salary:2000}.

    Emp = employee(person(john, _105, _106), 2000)
    [eclipse 6]: Emp = employee{name:john, salary:2000},
            Emp = employee{p:Person, salary:S},
            arg(name of employee, Emp, N).

    Person = person(john, _169, _170)
    S = 2000
    Emp = employee(person(john, _169, _170), 2000)
    N = john

% Subscript syntax can be used with structures:

    [eclipse 7]: Emp = employee{name:john, salary:2000},
             Cost is 5 * Emp[salary of employee].

     Cost = 10000
     Emp = employee(person(john, _137, _138), 2000)

See Also

local / 1, export / 1, current_struct / 2, arg / 3, subscript / 3, update_struct / 4