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Issue 6.3


Introducing Introspection

REALbasic 2008r1 takes up Navel-Gazing

Issue: 6.3 (March/April 2008)
Author: Andy Dent
Author Bio: Andy is a multi-language developer of 25+ years' experience from Perth, Western Australia. He works in REALbasic as his language of choice for cross-platform user interfaces. His experience with other cross-platform development includes writing in Flash, Java, and many years of C++ including developing his own portability solution - PP2MFC.
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Article Length (in bytes): 9,056
Starting Page Number: 13
Article Number: 6309
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Excerpt of article text...

Introspection is basically a way for a programming language to be able to tell the same things about the program that you can from looking at the source code. It is the major new feature of RB2008r1 and opens the way for improved tools, web frameworks, and gives you more choices in your programming style.

How Introspection Was Added

Rather than extending the Object class, which might occur to some people, Introspection was added as a new Module containing a few methods that can act on any data type. This is a very REALbasic-ish approach and applies the philosophy that RB is not just an object-oriented language but has other data types and containers for functions. Following the recently introduced use of modules as namespaces that contain other modules and classes, everything is found and used from the Introspection module.

The TypeInfo class is the heart of Introspection and contains many methods. Depending on what you pass in, some will return empty results. It is trivial to get the TypeInfo for any current Object.

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