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HELP VARS                                          A.Sloman March 1989

    vars <variable1>, <variable2>, <variable3> = <initalisation>,  ...;

For the present, commas may be omitted except after an initialisation,
but it is recommended that they be used.

For a tutorial introduction to variables, see TEACH *VARS.

VARS is used to declare dynamically scoped variables. Lexically scoped
variables are also available in POP-11, and are declared with LVARS,
described in HELP *LVARS. (See HELP *EFFICIENCY for information on the
difference.) Additional facilities are provided by LCONSTANT and DLVARS,
explained in the section on lexical scoping in REF *VMCODE.

VARS is used to declare variables of various kinds. See HELP *CONSTANT
for declaring constant identifiers. See also HELP *GLOBAL.

VARS is the first word of a variable declaration for dynamically scoped
variables, local or global. Undeclared input or output locals in
procedure definitions are assumed to be dynamically scoped, as if
declared using VARS.

For example

    vars x, y;

tells the compiler that you want to use two ordinary variables called x
and y (the POP-11 compiler distinguishes between upper and lower case
names for variables). If the declaration occurs within a procedure
definition then the variables are also declared as local to that
procedure. Any number of variables can be declared in a single VARS
statement, but the list must be terminated by a semicolon.

Variables can also be given a precedence, allowing them to be used as
'infix' operators. For example

    vars 5 ++;

declares '++' to be a variable of precedence 5. This means that an
expression like

    x ++ y;

will mean 'apply ++ to X and Y'. If the precedence of '**' is 4, as it
would be if we executed

    vars 4 **;

then the expression

    x ++ y ** z;

will mean 'apply ++ to X and the result of applying ** to Y and Z'.
Variables can also be declared as type *MACRO, for example, the

    vars macro d;

declares D to be a macro. When the compiler reads in a macro word it
applies its value (which, therefore, had better be a procedure). The
procedure may return results which are spliced into the compiler input
in place of the macro call.

    vars procedure foo;

declares FOO to be a procedure variable. Attempts to assign anything but
a procedure to it thereafter will cause an error. Uses of FOO in other
procedures will by-pass the type-check for a procedure, and will
therefore be more efficient.

Finally, words can be declared as syntax words, for example:

    vars syntax enddo;

This declares ENDDO to be a syntax word (see HELP *SYNTAX). This won't
have much effect unless a SYNTAX procedure somewhere makes use of this
new word. The advantage of declaring such a word as a syntax word, if
for example it is meant to be a closing bracket, is that more
informative error messages will occur when illegal syntax is used.

A declaration does not alter the value of any variables - it only
signifies that the variable is going to be used. See HELP *DEFINE, for
the implications of this for local variables.

The only time a declaration can change the value of a variable is when
the initialisation and declaration of a variable are performed at the
same time, e.g.,

     vars x;
     [goodbye]-> x;
     * [goodbye]

     vars x = [hello];
     ** [hello]
     vars y = x, p = [goodbye], n = [how are you];
     ** [hello]
     ** [how are you]
     ** [goodbye]

-- WORDS, IDENTIFIERS and VARIABLES -----------------------------------
Strictly speaking, it is important to distinguish
    1. the WORD, e.g. "+", "enddo", "x",
    2. the IDENTIFIER which is (currently) associated with that word
       and defines its syntactic character for POP-11 (e.g. whether it is
       a macro, a syntax word, an ordinary identifier, an infix
       operator, etc.)
    3. the variable, which is a location in memory where the value is

The relationship between a word and the identifier depends on which
SECTION is the current one. See HELP * SECTIONS for details. Changing
from one section to another may cause a word to be associated with an
entirely different identifier.

The procedure *IDENTPROPS when applied to a word returns the syntactic
category of the associated identifier in the currently active section.
*IDENTTYPE provides more information. The procedure *SYSSYNONYM
enables a word to be associated with the identifier already associated
with another word. So this gives the new word the same syntactic
properties as if it had been declared in the same way as the old word,
as well as enabling it to refer to the same thing.

The VARIABLE associated with an identifier is the only object that needs
to exist when the programs using the variables run. The word and the
identifer are required when the program is being compiled, or if the
user later wishes to access the value of the variable by typing in the
name, or using *VALOF. At present POP-11 uses a part of the identifier
record as the variable, but in principle this could change, in order to
save space in situations where identifiers are not preserved. Computing
terminology generally confuses words, identifiers and variables, and
many of the POPLOG help files do so too. Fortunately it is normally
clear from the context which is meant. See HELP *IDENTIFIERS

-- Using VARS in declarations -----------------------------------------
Declarations may specify a type, then all identifiers of that type in

    vars procedure(proc1, proc2, proc3), 5 (++, op2), x, y;

similarly with 'constant' instead of 'vars'.

Variable names can be of any length but must obey the following rules:

(1) A variable name that starts with a letter can have any sequence of
letters, digits or underscore (ie '_') following it.

(2) A variable name that starts with a sign letter, ie one of the characters

    ! # $ & = - ~ ^ | \ @ + * : < > ? /

can contain only sign letters.

The following are valid:

    +               ***             ---         -<+         ==
    cat             goat        x23         x1b2c3      cat_lover

But not

    23x             cat-lover           cat:lover       :a:

-- ASSOCIATED DOCUMENTATION -------------------------------------------

TEACH VARS       - tutorial introduction to POP-11 variables.
REF  *REFFILES   - lists REF files describing POP-11 identifiers
HELP *VEDVARS    - variables controlling the behaviour of VED
HELP *ACTIVE_VARIABLES - active variables
HELP *CONSTANT   - on the use of constant identifiers
HELP *GLOBAL     - on the declaration and use of global identifiers
HELP *MACRO      - on defining macros in POP-11
HELP *DEFINE     - on the form and content of procedure definitions
HELP *SYNTAX     - a brief overview of POP-11 syntax

REF *POPSYTAX    - Pop-11 syntax
REF *VMCODE      - describes relevant poplog virtual machine instructions

--- C.all/help/vars ----------------------------------------------------
--- Copyright University of Sussex 1987. All rights reserved. ----------