[swift-evolution] [Discussion] Using dot prefixes to infer non-enumeration static members

Erica Sadun erica at ericasadun.com
Mon Feb 15 10:58:12 CST 2016

While discussing leading enumeration dot prefixes, Howard Lovatt asked why static properties and methods could not be inferred via a dot prefix as well. Based on Swift-Evolution conventions, here's a new thread to discuss this idea: specifically, would it be beneficial (and/or possible) to use dot prefixes to denote static member references in instance member code.

Howard wrote:

> +1 for the proposal, it is wierd to use `.` in some places and not others. 
> On the subject of static methods and properties in general, would it be possible for `.name` to be a reference to a static and `name` a reference to an instance? EG:
>     .name = x // static
>     name = x // instance
>     x = name + .name // instance + static
>     r = name ... .name // instance ... static, needs space
>     r = name...Type.name // Can still qualify with type name

Under the current system, you must explicitly name or derive a type to access static members from instance member implementations.

struct MyStruct {
    static func staticMember() {}
    func instanceMember() {
        // name a type
        MyStruct.staticMember() // works

        // derive a type
        self.dynamicType.staticMember() // works
        // error: value of tuple type '()' has no member 'staticMember'
        // does not work

Using dot prefixes for static member access:

* Has precedent in enumeration members
* Would streamline Swift code
* Is visually differentiated from `self`-prefixed instance member references

What are your thoughts, both technical and philosophical, on a change like this? Thanks in advance for your feedback.

-- Erica

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