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Field Symbols

Field symbols are placeholders or symbolic names for existing data objects (or parts of existing data objects), declared by the statement FIELD-SYMBOLS or by the declaration operator FIELD-SYMBOL. A memory area is assigned to a field symbol at program runtime. A field symbol does not reserve any physical space for a field, but is a type of dynamic label for a memory area hosting a particular data object (or part of the object). A field symbol can be used instead of data objects at operand positions of statements. When a statement of this type is executed, a memory area must be assigned to the field symbol by the statement ASSIGN or the addition ASSIGNING when processing internal tables.

Field symbols can point to almost any data object. A field symbol is the equivalent of a data reference variable dereferenced using ->*. Unlike data reference variables, value semantics are used to access a field symbol Accessing a field symbol is like accessing the named data object (or part of the object). For data reference variables, however, reference semantics apply.

Field symbols are implemented both for generic work with data objects and for explicit casting of data objects (only possible using field symbols).

Other versions: 7.31 | 7.40 | 7.54

Programming Guideline

Use field symbols and data references in appropriate ways


Field symbols to which data objects or parts of data objects are assigned in the heap are memory-preserving, like heap references.