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Language reference

Syntax

Primi is built with a familiar PHP/JS/C-like syntax. Statements are separated using the ; semicolon character. If there's no need to put multiple statements on a single line, statements can be separated with newline, too. Both of these syntaxes are therefore valid:

  • Using semicolons (recommended):

    a = 1 + 2; b = a + 3;
    c = b - a;
    
  • Using newlines:

    a = 1 + 2
    b = a + 3
    c = b - a
    

Data types

Primi has 6 data types:

  • Bool
  • Number
  • String
  • Regex
  • Array
  • Function

Bool

This basic type represents a primitive boolean "truth" value. Possible values are true and false.

Example usage:

a = true;
b = 1 == 2; // false
c = b == false; // true
d = c == "hello"; // ERR: Cannot compare 'bool' and 'string'
e = "hello" == r"[0-9]"; // false
f = "hello" == r"l{2}"; // true

Number

The general number data type represents both integer and float values, whichever is needed. The maximum/minimum integer or float value/precision is determined by PHP version.

Example usage:

a = 4 - 3; // 1
b = a / 3; // 0.333...

String

This data types represents a series of characters. Multi-byte characters (accents, diacritics) are treated properly.

Example usage:

a = "hello";
b = "wóóórld!";
c = a + " " + b; // "hello wóóórld!"

Regex

Regex data type exists for advanced string matching. It is defined using the r"..." literal (a string literal prefixed with r) and treated as PCRE (Perl-compatible) regular expressions (the same as within PHP itself) with Unicode mode enabled.

Example usage:

a = "facebook";
b = r"[o]{2}.*";
c = a == b; // true

Array

Arrays are untyped (PHP-style) containers that can accomodate multiple values of different (or same) types. Optionally, array index can be defined for a value. By default, integer index starting from the lowest index found (or from 0) is used.

Example usage:

a = ["abc", 123, 4: true, false, r"[A-Z]+"];
// Resulting array: [0: "abc", 1: 123, 4: true, 5: false, 6: r"[A-Z]+"]

Ranges

Simple way of defining ranges between numbers is provided via the a..[s..]b range syntax.

  • a is the from value.
  • b is the to value, inclusive, if it is not "skipped" due to a rather large step (see below).
  • s (optionally) is the step value which to use.

Example usage:

a = 1..4; // (array) [0: 1, 1: 2, 4: 3, 5: 4]
b = 1..2..4; // (array) [0: 1, 1: 3]
c = 10..4..16; // (array) [0: 10, 1: 14]
_x = 3
_y = 6
_z = 2
d = _x.._z.._y; // (array) [0: 3, 1: 5]

Return value of such "range literal" is a new array having values that are based on the range's parameters.

Functions

Function is a value type that represents a "unit" of some self-contained logic. In Primi they have their own type and are treated as first-class citizens: they can be stored inside variables and passed around as such. Direct invocation of an anonymous function is supported, provided that the anonymous function's definition is enclosed in parentheses. A function does capture its surrounding variables.

Example usage:


// Traditional definition.
function sub(a, b) {
    return a - b;
}

// A variable "sub" that holds the "sub()" function is now defined in current scope.
sub(1, 2); // Returns -1

// Storing a function value into a variable.
// Note: This is equivalent to the previous definition.
sub_2 = function(a, b) {
    return a - b;
};

// A variable "sub_2" that holds the "sub_2()" function is now defined in current scope.
sub_2(1, 2); // Returns -1

// Creating a function with alternative, short syntax.
// Note: This is equivalent all of the previous definitions.
sub_3 = (a, b) => {
    return a - b;
};

// A variable "sub_3" that holds the "sub_3()" function is now defined in current scope.
sub_3(1, 2); // Returns -1

// Creating and using an anonymous function directly.
// Using an alternative, short syntax.
((a, b) => {
    return a - b;
})(1, 2); // Returns -1

Chained functions

In addition to classical function invocation, Primi additionaly supports Uniform Function Call Syntax (UFCS) as a way to call functions "on values". Essentially, it means that calling foo(bar); is equivalent to calling bar.foo(), or - to provide an example with additional parameters - that calling foo(bar, 1, true, "something"); is equivalent to calling bar.foo(1, true, "something").

Value-type based inference of called function name

When using chained function invocation, Primi interpreter will try to find the most fitting function to call. "Most fitting" meaning that when the client calls bar() function on a value having the string type, Primi will try to find and use the string_bar() first. If such function is not defined, only then will the interpreter use the original bar() function.

Consider this a syntactic sugar to make coding in Primi a bit more user-friendly. Because of this the user is able to call "something".length() on a string the same way as calling [1, 2, 3].length() on an array, even though there are in fact two separate functions string_length() and array_length() invoked behind the scenes.

Operators

Plethora of well known operators can be used to define relationships between and/or affect various values. Different operators can have various effects on various data types, some of which are covered down below.

Precedence

Precedence of various operators is defined as follows (from highest to lowest):

  • ( ... ) (parentheses)
  • ! (logical not)
  • *, / (multiplication/division)
  • +, - (addition/subtraction)
  • ==, !=, >=, <=, >, < (comparison)
  • and (logical and)
  • or (logical not)
  • = (assignment)
Precedence example
Raw source Equivalent to
1 + 2 + 3 + 4 ((1 + 2) + 3) + 4
1 - 2 + 3 - 4 ((1 - 2) + 3) - 4
1 + 2 * 3 + 4 1 + (2 * 3) + 4
1 + 2 * 3 / 4 1 + ((2 * 3) / 4)
1 + -2 * 3 / 4 1 + (((-2) * 3) / 4)
1 and 2 or 3 and 4 (1 and 2) or (3 and 4)
1 or 2 or 3 and 4 (1 or 2) or (3 and 4)
1 or !2 or !3 and 4 (1 or (!2)) or ((!3) and 4))
x = true or false and true x = (true or (false and true))
x = a == b x = (a == b)
x = a > 5 and b < 6 x = ((a > 5) and (b < 6))

Logical operators

  • and
    • Returns true if both operands are truthy.
    • Otherwise returns false.
  • or
    • Returns true if either one (or both) operand is truthy.
    • Otherwise returns false.

Negation

  • !
    • Negate the value located after this operator.
    • Examples:
      a = true;
      b = !a; // false
      c = !b; // true
      d = !!b; // false
      

Assignment

  • =
    • Assigns some value to a variable.
    • Can also be used to insert values to values that support it (eg. arrays).
    • Examples:
      a = 1;
      b = "a word";
      c = false;
      d = r"regul[ar]+";
      e = ["x", "b": "z"];
      e["c"] = "x"; // e == ["x", "b": "z", "c": "x"]
      

Addition and multiplication

  • +, -
    • Performs addition (subtraction) of two values.
      • Numbers:
        • + Add two numbers.
        • - Subtract two numbers.
      • Strings:
        • + Concatenate two strings.
        • - Removes all occurences of the right side from the left side.
        • - (if the right side is a Regex value) Removes all matches of the regex from the left side string.
    • Examples:
      a = 5 + 4 // (number) 9
      b = 5 - 4; // (number) 1
      c = "a word and number " + 5.to_string(); // (string) "a word and number 5"
      d = "a word and number {}".format(5); // (string) "a word and number 5"
      e = "a word" + " and one more"; // (string) "a word and one more"
      f = "a word" - "or"; // (string) "a wd"
      g = "regular expressions" - r"regul[ar]+\s*"; // (string) "expressions"
      _x = 5 + "4" // ERR: Cannot use operator '+' with 'number' and 'string'
      _x = "a word and number " + 5; // ERR: Cannot use operator '+' with 'number' and 'string'
      
  • *, /
    • Performs multiplication (division) of two values.
      • Numbers:
        • + Multiply two numbers.
        • - Divide two numbers.
    • Examples:
      a = 1 * -2; // (number) -2
      b = 2 * 3; // (number) 6
      c = 2 * "3"; // (string) "33"
      d = "3" * 4; // (string) "3333"
      e = 5 / 4; // (number) 1.25
      g = 5 / 5; // (number) 1
      _x = "2" * "3"; // ERR: Cannot use operator '*' with 'string' and 'string'
      _x = 5 / "4"; // ERR: Cannot use operator '/' with 'number' and 'string'
      _x = "20" / 4; // ERR: Cannot use operator '/' with 'string' and 'number'
      

Control structures

You can control the flow of your program with several kinds of statements the language provides.

if construct

The if construct - as in all other programming languages - allows you to dynamically branch your program flow based on some conditions during runtime.

Examples

a = true;
if (a) {
    b = 1;
}
// b == 1
a = false;
b = true;
c = 5;
if (a or b) {
    d = 1;
    if (d < c) {
        e = d + c;
    }
}
// d == 1, e == 6

for construct

The for construct allows you to iterate over a value that supports it (array or string values), while performing a task on that collection's single item.

Examples

txt = "123456789";
result = [];
for (n in txt) {
    if (5 > n.to_number() > 0) {
        result.push(n);
    }
}
// result == [0: "1", 1: "2", 2: "3", 3: "4"]
prices = [100, 200, 300, 600, 1200];
sentence_template = "This costs {} units of money!";
results = [];
for (price in prices) {
    results.push(sentence_template.format(price));
}
// results == [
//   0: "This costs 100 units of money!",
//   1: "This costs 200 units of money!",
//   2: "This costs 300 units of money!",
//   3: "This costs 600 units of money!",
//   4: "This costs 1200 units of money!"
// ]

Note: The flow of program inside the for cycle can be controlled further by using the continue and break statements.

while construct

The while construct does a thing if a specified condition is met (if the condition expression has a truthy value).

c = 0;
while (c < 100) {
    total = total + c;
    c = c + 1;
}
// total == 4950

Note: The flow of program inside the while cycle can be controlled further by using the continue and break statements.

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