Properties don't behave like variables?

Jonathan M Davis jmdavisProg at
Mon May 7 15:08:42 PDT 2012

On Monday, May 07, 2012 23:41:33 Chris Cain wrote:
> On Monday, 7 May 2012 at 21:34:29 UTC, Jonathan M Davis wrote:
> > You mean the setter?
> > 
> > Having a getter property function return by ref does allow you
> > to use a
> > property exactly as you would a variable, because you're
> > operating on the ref
> > that's returned. It also makes the property function
> > nigh-on-useless, because
> > then you're operating on its associated variable outside of the
> > property
> > function, making it so that you can no longer control access to
> > it. You pretty
> > much might as well make it a public variable at that point. Not
> > to mention,
> > even if returning by ref didn't have that problem, it would
> > only work in cases
> > where the property function was associated with an actual
> > variable (since you
> > have to return a ref to _something_), so it would still be
> > impossible to
> > emulate a variable with property functions which calculate the
> > value from
> > other variables or which grab the value from somewhere else
> > (e.g. a database).
> > 
> > - Jonathan M Davis
> And what about my idea of returning a struct by ref and using a
> struct to represent all of the operations you're interested in?
> As far as I can see, it should work, but admittedly, it's not as
> slick as it could be.

It doesn't work unless you have a member variable which is the struct, which 
may or may not be acceptable (properties don't _have_ to have underlying 
member variables at all), and while it may work as a clever workaround, I'd 
definitely argue that it's something that should be fixed in the language. It 
seems pretty bad to me to have to create a struct which you return by ref just 
to get a property to fully act like a variable.

- Jonathan M Davis

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