ircII help - expressions

  This help file describes expresssions available in ${}, and the

  @, IF, WHILE, and FOREACH commands.

  Variable expressions are used to perform arithmetic, string and

  boolean operations. Their syntax is similar to the syntax of most

  computer languages, and is modelled on C syntax. A simple example

  of this, is that when ${A + 2} is used, and the assigned variable

  A has the value '3', the result is 5.

  Brackets can be used in these expressions, so (A+2)*3 would give a

  value of (3+2)*3 == 15, whereas A+2*3 would give a value of 9, because

  multiplication is performed before addition.

  Note that there is no consitency in the associatity of ircII

  expressions, complex expressions MUST use brackets to force the

  correct evaluation. Even a simple "5 - 2 - 1" does not work

  as expected, as this is evaluated as "5 - (2 - 1)". This is a

  bug and may one day be fixed but don't count on it.

  The common arithmetic operations (+, -, *, /) are all available.

  Additionally, there is a string concatenation operator (##).

  This treats both sides as strings and pastes them together. Thus

  if A is 3 and B is 7, "A##B" becomes "37", but "A+B" becomes 10.

  The C-like increment (++) and decrement (--) operators are available.

  The expression "A++" is like "@A = A + 1".

  You can also assign values to a variable in these expressions

  using the '=' operator. Thus if you have the expression "C = A+B",

  it will assign the value 10 to C. This has a number of affects.

  The most common case is the @ command, where you can enter this expression


    @ C = A + B

  The '=' operator returns the value assigned. Thus you can extend

  this to:

    @ D = C = A + B

  Which will assign the value 10 to both C and D. In a $ expression,

  you might want to assign a value to a variable, and display it at the

  same time. Thus you might do the following:

    echo The value of C is now ${C = A+B}

  which would set C to 10 and display "The value of C is now 10".

  Comparison operations also exist. These return 1 if the comparison is

  valid (true) and 0 if it is invalid (false). The comparison operations

  available are:

    == (equal to)

    > (greater than)

    >= (greater than or equal to)

    < (less than)

    <= (less than or equal to)

    != (not equal to)

  Thus, the following expressions would result in the following results:

   ( recall A = 3 and B = 7 )

A == B FALSE 0

A == 3 TRUE 1

A > 3 FALSE 0

A >= 3 TRUE 1

A != 3 TRUE 1

  These expressions can be combined with || (OR), && (AND) and ^^ (XOR).

  So (A == 3) || (B==3) would be TRUE, and (A == 2) && (B == 7) would be

  FALSE. You can also negate expressions with ! (NOT), so !(A == 3) would

  be FALSE. These boolean expressions are used primarily in IF and WHILE.

  A string expression is considered to be true if it is non empty. So

  if E has the value "word", then E || (A > 3) is true, because E has

  a non empty value, and !E is false.

  Functions can also appear in expressions. The arguments to functions

  are evaluated as normal $ type expressions. Thus the following alias:

    alias test echo ${ MID(3 2 $0) + 5) }

  is executed with /test 123456, would give 34 (Two digits from position 3

  in $0) + 5, giving 39. If the function returns another function name, that

  function name can be called with another set of brackets. Thus if you have

  the following set of aliases:

    alias fptr


        if ( [$0] )

            { @ function_return = func1 }

            { @ function_return = func2 }


    alias func1 @ function_return = this is $0

    alias func2 @ function_return = that is $0

    alias check echo ${ fptr($0)($1) }

  then /check 0 1 would print "that is 1", and /check 1 0 would print

  "this is 0".

  Array expressions can also be used in this way. For example:

    assign A.1.1 One One was a racehorse

    assign A.1.2 Two Two was one too

    assign A.2.1 One One won one race

    assign A.2.2 Two Two won one too

    alias rhyme echo ${ A[$0][$1] }

  would cause /rhyme 2 1 to print "One One won one race".

  Function and array expressions can be combined to give a form

  of pointer arithmetic like that seen in C. If a function

  RhymeNum exists as follows:

    alias RhymeNum @ function_return = [A]

  and rhyme is changed to:

    alias rhyme echo ${ RhymeNum()[$0][$1] }

  /rhyme 2 1 still prints "One One won one race". This is because

  RhymeNum returns A, and the expression then becomes A[$0][$1].

  The $0 is expanded to 2, so it becomes A.2[$1], and the $1 is

  expanded to 1, so it becomes A.2.1, which is then substituted as

  a variable for "One One won one race". The reverse is also possible.

  For example, a robot might have the following:

     alias thing.0 @ function_return = laughs his silly head off

     alias thing.1 @ function_return = growls menacingly

     alias thing.2 @ function_return = smiles like a crocodile

     alias thing.3 @ function_return = wails uncontrollably

     alias something SAY WereBot ${ thing[$RANDOM(4)]() }

  Will cause WereBot to say that it's laughing itself silly, growling

  menacingly, smiling like a crocodile or wailing uncontrollably.

  Assuming RANDOM(4) results in a value of 2, This expands to

  thing.2(), which is then considered to be a function and substituted

  to "smiles like a crocodile", the end result being that WereBot will

  say "WereBot smiles like a crocodile".

  Finally, there are occasions when you need to get back to the $

  substitution level. This can be done by enclosing text to be used at

  this level in [..]. For example, [A] substitutes to a literal 'A',

  whereas A on its own substitutes to 3, and [$0] is needed to get

  argument 0, because 0 on its own is taken to be the number 0.


    alias something SAY WereBot ${ [$0][$RANDOM(4)]() }

  will case /something thing to first expand [$0] to thing, giving

  thing[$RANDOM(4)](), and if $RANDOM(4) returns 1, this becomes

  thing.1(), which expands to "growls menacingly", and causes

  WereBot to say "WereBot growls menacingly".

  The following is the parse tree for expressions such as those






NU_ASSN = varexp = NU_ASSN |

















unaryop token |

( NU_EXPR ) |

[ expression ] NUX_MODIF

NUX_MODIF = ( expression ) NUX_MODIF |

[ expression ] NUX_MODIF

Special cases:

  If a (...) or {...} construct is quoted with \(...\) or \{...\}

  then variable expansion will take place on the first available

  parse run. However, after parsed, the \'s are eaten. e.g.

    alias bonk echo ($0) will return "($*)" regardless of

  the argument to the alias. No expansion takes place. However, in

    alias bonk echo \($0\)

  expansion takes place as the special meaning of the () is taken

  away by \. This will return "(arguments to bonk)".

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