( Vtables

Info Catalog ( Structure Basics ( Structures
 22.5.4 Vtables
 Vtables are structures that are used to represent structure types.  Each
 vtable contains a layout specification in field `vtable-index-layout' -
 instances of the type are laid out according to that specification.
 Vtables contain additional fields which are used only internally to
 libguile.  The variable `vtable-offset-user' is bound to a field
 number.  Vtable fields at that position or greater are user definable.
  -- Scheme Procedure: struct-vtable handle
  -- C Function: scm_struct_vtable (handle)
      Return the vtable structure that describes the type of STRUCT.
  -- Scheme Procedure: struct-vtable? x
  -- C Function: scm_struct_vtable_p (x)
      Return `#t' iff X is a vtable structure.
    If you have a vtable structure, `V', you can create an instance of
 the type it describes by using `(make-struct V ...)'.  But where does
 `V' itself come from?  One possibility is that `V' is an instance of a
 user-defined vtable type, `V'', so that `V' is created by using
 `(make-struct V' ...)'.  Another possibility is that `V' is an instance
 of the type it itself describes.  Vtable structures of the second sort
 are created by this procedure:
  -- Scheme Procedure: make-vtable-vtable user_fields tail_array_size .
  -- C Function: scm_make_vtable_vtable (user_fields, tail_array_size,
      Return a new, self-describing vtable structure.
      USER-FIELDS is a string describing user defined fields of the
      vtable beginning at index `vtable-offset-user' (see
      TAIL-SIZE specifies the size of the tail-array (if any) of this
      INIT1, ... are the optional initializers for the fields of the
      Vtables have one initializable system field--the struct printer.
      This field comes before the user fields in the initializers passed
      to `make-vtable-vtable' and `make-struct', and thus works as a
      third optional argument to `make-vtable-vtable' and a fourth to
      `make-struct' when creating vtables:
      If the value is a procedure, it will be called instead of the
      standard printer whenever a struct described by this vtable is
      printed.  The procedure will be called with arguments STRUCT and
      The structure of a struct is described by a vtable, so the vtable
      is in essence the type of the struct.  The vtable is itself a
      struct with a vtable.  This could go on forever if it weren't for
      the vtable-vtables which are self-describing vtables, and thus
      terminate the chain.
      There are several potential ways of using structs, but the standard
      one is to use three kinds of structs, together building up a type
      sub-system: one vtable-vtable working as the root and one or
      several "types", each with a set of "instances".  (The
      vtable-vtable should be compared to the class <class> which is the
      class of itself.)
           (define ball-root (make-vtable-vtable "pr" 0))
           (define (make-ball-type ball-color)
             (make-struct ball-root 0
           	       (make-struct-layout "pw")
                          (lambda (ball port)
                            (format port "#<a ~A ball owned by ~A>"
                                    (color ball)
                                    (owner ball)))
           (define (color ball) (struct-ref (struct-vtable ball) vtable-offset-user))
           (define (owner ball) (struct-ref ball 0))
           (define red (make-ball-type 'red))
           (define green (make-ball-type 'green))
           (define (make-ball type owner) (make-struct type 0 owner))
           (define ball (make-ball green 'Nisse))
           ball => #<a green ball owned by Nisse>
  -- Scheme Procedure: struct-vtable-name vtable
  -- C Function: scm_struct_vtable_name (vtable)
      Return the name of the vtable VTABLE.
  -- Scheme Procedure: set-struct-vtable-name! vtable name
  -- C Function: scm_set_struct_vtable_name_x (vtable, name)
      Set the name of the vtable VTABLE to NAME.
  -- Scheme Procedure: struct-vtable-tag handle
  -- C Function: scm_struct_vtable_tag (handle)
      Return the vtable tag of the structure HANDLE.
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