/Crystal 0.31

Fresh variables

Once macros generate code, they are parsed with a regular Crystal parser where local variables in the context of the macro invocations are assumed to be defined.

This is better understood with an example:

macro update_x
  x = 1

x = 0
x #=> 1

This can sometimes be useful to avoid repetitive code by deliberately reading/writing local variables, but can also overwrite local variables by mistake. To avoid this, fresh variables can be declared with %name:

macro dont_update_x
  %x = 1
  puts %x

x = 0
dont_update_x # outputs 1
x #=> 0

Using %x in the above example, we declare a variable whose name is guaranteed not to conflict with local variables in the current scope.

Additionally, fresh variables with respect to some other AST node can be declared with %var{key1, key2, ..., keyN}. For example:

macro fresh_vars_sample(*names)
  # First declare vars
  {% for name, index in names %}
    print "Declaring: ", "%name{index}", '\n'
    %name{index} = {{index}}
  {% end %}

  # Then print them
  {% for name, index in names %}
    print "%name{index}: ", %name{index}, '\n'
  {% end %}

fresh_vars_sample a, b, c

# Sample output:
# Declaring: __temp_255
# Declaring: __temp_256
# Declaring: __temp_257
# __temp_255: 0
# __temp_256: 1
# __temp_257: 2

In the above example, three indexed variables are declared, assigned values, and then printed, displaying their corresponding indices.

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