Fields are storage locations used to store a class variable. The following keywords may be applied to a field declaration:

In addition to the keywords above, a field may be annotated with a protection scope keyword. If no protection scope is specified, then public is assumed.

Static versus Instance Fields

If a field is marked with the static keyword, then the field is stored once for all instances of that class. Static fields are essentially global variables scoped within a class type. Instance fields on the other hand allocate storage for each instance of the declaring type:

class Display
  static int maxId = 5
  int id = -1
  int width
  int height

In the code above we declare a class called Display with three instance fields id, width, and height. Each instance of Display will store its own copies of these fields. The static field maxId has one fixed memory location for the whole Sedona VM.

Field Access

Access to instance fields is done through an implicit or explicit instance pointer. The keyword this may be used to reference the current instance inside an instance method. If no instance pointer is used, then this is implied (only available inside an instance method):

  int area()
    return this.width * this.height  // this keyword

  int area()
    return width * height  // shortcut for above

  static int area(Display d)
    return d.width * d.height  // explicit instance pointer

Access to static fields is done through an implicit or explicit type literal. Implicit static access (where the type name is not specified) is only available inside methods of the Display class:

  static bool isValidId(int id)
    return id < maxId  // implicit static field access

  static bool isValidId(int id)
    return id < Display.maxId  // explicit static field access

Also see Safe Navigation for how to use the "?." operator for field access.

Field Defaults

Fields of a primitive type can declare a default expression. For example in the Display class declared above, the maxId field defaults to 5 and the id field defaults to -1.

Static fields are initialized when the Sedona VM is booted. The compiler will automatically create a synthetic method called _sInit(), which executes the initialization code for static fields.

Instance fields are initialized in the declaring class's constructor.

Any field without a default value has its memory initialized to zero. In the case of bool fields it is false, for numeric fields it is 0, and for references it is null.

Const Fields

Some of the core types in the sys kit contain fields marked with the const keyword. This indicates that these fields are immutable, and are actually stored within the scode memory itself. On some platforms these fields may be stored in readonly memory such as ROM. Attempts to set a const field will result in a compiler error. You cannot create your own const fields directly - only the predefined sys types can use this keyword. However you can use the define keyword to declare user defined constants.

Define Fields

The define keyword is used to declare a named constant. Defines are like const fields - if you try to assign to a define field you will get a compiler error. Defines don't actually allocate memory, rather they are inlined at compile time. Because of this trait, the value of a define field must be expressed as a literal value:

class Flags
  define int tooBig   = 0x01
  define int tooSmall = 0x02

Defines are accessed just like static fields:

  if ((f & tooBig) != 0) return true        // implicit access
  if ((f & Flags.tooBig) != 0) return true  // explicit access

The following types are supported for defines:

Array Literal Defines

The define keyword may be used to create constant array literals. This allows you to declare readonly data lookup tables that will be stored in scode. The following array literal types are supported:

Array literals are declared using curly braces with a comma separator. The values inside an array literal must be literals themselves (they cannot be expressions). Examples:

define byte[] daysInMonths = {31, 28, 31, 30, 31, 30, 31, 31, 30, 31, 30, 31}
define Str[] weekdays = {"sun", "mon", "tue", "wed", "thu", "fri", "sat" }

Array literals are treated like const structures and are read-only. It is a compile time error to assign to a array literal (or any define).

Inline Fields

A field with a non-primitive (i.e. object) type is normally a reference to a sys::Obj object. Inside the SVM, an object field is a pointer to an object. For example on a 32-bit machine, an object field would allocate 4 bytes for a pointer. The object itself resides elsewhere in memory.

However, often we wish the field to contain an instance of the object. This is done with the inline keyword. Let's look at an example:

class Point { int x; int y }

class Foo
  Point a
  inline Point b

In this example Foo.a is a pointer field - it allocates just enough space to store a pointer to a Point instance (typically 4 bytes). However, Foo.b actually allocates memory to store the entire Point instance (8 bytes to store two 32-bit ints).

Inline fields play an important role in the Sedona Framework's static memory management. They allow you to develop complex data structures where memory is laid out by the compiler. This makes it possible for tools to calculate ahead of time exactly how much memory a component requires, since they can assume the component will not be allocating any additional memory during runtime.

Inline fields can be static or instance based. Inline fields use the same syntax as reference fields. However an inline field is not assignable. You cannot point the reference to another instance since the entire instance is already embedded (you will get a compiler error if you try).

Property Fields

Fields may be annotated with the property keyword to promote the field into a Component property. Properties must be instance fields on a subclass of sys::Component. See Component Properties for more details.