5.4. Expressions

Expressions are combinations of operands and operators. Operands are values in themselves, which may be expressions surrounded by ( ). Operators are logical, arithmetic, or string and the valid operators depend on the types of the operands.

5.4.1. Literal Values

Literal values can be individual lexical elements such as identifiers, numbers, and strings.

Literal arrays are sequences of comma-separated values surrounded by brackets [ ].


LET a: Array<Number> := [1, 2, 3]

Literal dictionaries are sequences of comma-separated name/value pairs surrounded by braces { }.


LET d: Dictionary<Number> := {
    "one": 1,
    "two": 2,
    "three": 3

For convenience, both literal arrays and dictionaries accept a trailing comma after the final element:

LET numbers: Array<String> := [

5.4.2. Boolean Operators

The following operator takes one boolean value.

Operator Description
NOT logical negation

The following operators take two boolean values.

Operator Description
= equality
<> inequality
AND logical conjunction
OR logical disjunction

5.4.3. Numeric Operators

The following operators take one number value.

Operator Description
+ identity (provided for symmetry with -)
- arithmetic negation

The following operators take two number values.

Operator Description
+ addition
- subtraction
* multiplication
/ division
INTDIV integer division
MOD modulo (remainder)
^ exponentiation
= equality
<> inequality
< less than
> greater than
<= less than or equal
>= greater than or equal

5.4.4. String Operators

The following operators take two string values.

Operator Description
& concatenation
= equality
<> inequality
< lexicographical less than
> lexicographical greater than
<= lexicographical less than or equal
>= lexicographical greater than or equal

5.4.5. Array Operators

Operator Description
IN membership test (O(n) complexity)
NOT IN membership test (O(n) complexity)

5.4.6. Dictionary Operators

Operator Description
IN membership test (O(log n) complexity)
NOT IN membership test (O(log n) complexity)

5.4.7. Object Operator

Operator Description
ISA type test (object ISA Type)

5.4.8. Pointer Operator

Operator Description
-> pointer dereference

5.4.9. Operator Precedence

The operator precedence is as follows, highest to lowest:

Operator Description
( ) subexpression
^ exponentiation
* / MOD INTDIV multiplication, division, modulo
+ - & addition, subtraction, concatenation
= <> < > <= >= comparison
IN NOT IN membership
AND conjunction
OR disjunction
IF conditional

5.4.10. Array Subscripts

Array subscripts are normally integers greater than or equal to zero:

LET a: Array<String> := ["foo", "bar", "baz"]

Two special values may be used, FIRST and LAST:

LET a: Array<String> := ["foo", "bar", "baz"]

FIRST always means the same as 0 and is provided for completeness. LAST refers to the index of the last element of the array (if the array is not empty).

Array slices are also possible using the TO keyword. Both indexes are inclusive:

LET a: Array<String> := ["foo", "bar", "baz"]
LET b: Array<String> := a[0 TO 1]
LET c: Array<String> := a[LAST-1 TO LAST]

In the above example, b contains ["foo", "bar"] and c contains ["bar", "baz"].

5.4.11. Dictionary Subscripts

Dictionary subscripts are strings:

LET d: Dictionary<String> := {
    "apple": "red",
    "orange": "orange",
    "banana": "yellow"

5.4.12. Conditional Expression

A conditional expression is like an inline IF statement:

LET n: Number := 5
LET s: String := (IF n >= 0 THEN "positive" ELSE "negative")

The condition following IF is evaluated. If it is true, then the THEN expression is evaluated and is the result of the expression. Otherwise, the ELSE expression is evaluated and is the result of the expression.

The parentheses around the entire conditional expression are required.


The branch not taken is not evaluated. This means that if a branch not taken is a function call, the function will not be called.

5.4.13. Try Expression

A try expression is like an inline TRY statement:

EXCEPTION TestException
FUNCTION f(): Number
    RAISE TestException
LET n: Number := (TRY f() TRAP TestException GIVES -1)

The expression following TRY is evaluated. If an exception is raised, then it is matched against the TRAP clauses. A matching TRAP clause with a GIVES keyword evalues the GIVES expression and returns that as the value of the try expression.

The keyword DO can be used instead of GIVES. The DO keywords introduces a new statement block which must end with a block-exiting statement (EXIT, NEXT, RAISE, or RETURN).

5.4.14. Expression Substitution

Literal strings may contain embedded expressions surrounded by the special escape \( ). These expressions are evaluated at run time. The type of the embedded expression must have a .toString() method which will be called automatically to convert the result to a string.


LET a: Array<String> := ["one", "two", "three"]
FOR i := 0 TO 2 DO
    print("i is \(i) and the array element is \(a[i])")


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