curiosities in object reference

Richard Gaskin ambassador at
Tue Apr 21 09:58:20 EDT 2015

Peter M. Brigham wrote:

 > It seems to depend entirely on the context of the command.
 > If the engine sees something that can only be done to an
 > object reference, it resolves the reference. If it doesn't,
 > it treats it as an ordinary container with a text string
 > content.

This was a mental challenge for me for many years across all the xTalks 
I've worked with.  Thankfully LiveCode offers a broad range of 
property-oriented syntax to work with container objects, so as a rule I 
tend to favor things like this:

    set the text of tFieldObj to "Hello World"

...over using "put":

    put "Hello World" into tFieldObj

...which of course will merely do exactly what I'm telling it to do (put 
a value into a variable), which many not be what I mean (put a value 
into an object referred to in a variable). :)

Since only objects have properties and strings don't, when using 
property settings for content manipulation the engine will never guess 
wrong about what it's supposed to do with tFieldObj.

One nice thing that's unique to LiveCode among all xTalks is its 
htmlText property, which allows us to faithfully reproduce all content 
and styling for field objects, and can be used for a portion of field 

    set the htmlText of word 2 of line 3 of tFieldObj \
      to "<b>Hello World</b>"

And if styling isn't needed, the text property can be used just as flexibly:

    set the text of word 2 of line 3 of tFieldObj \
      to "Hello World"

When "set the text of..." is cumbersome (when you're working with lots 
of fields), you can use any string in which at least part of the object 
reference is hard-coded:

    put "Hello World" into field tMyFieldName

I haven't read the User Guide section on working with containers in a 
long time - anyone here have an opinion on how clearly it treats object 
references?  Might be nice to have the docs team clean that up if it 
includes any examples which are ambiguous at runtime.

  Richard Gaskin
  Fourth World Systems
  Software Design and Development for the Desktop, Mobile, and the Web
  Ambassador at      

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