Lua Metatables Make tables callable


Example

There is a metamethod called __call, which defines the bevahiour of the object upon being used as a function, e.g. object(). This can be used to create function objects:

-- create the metatable with a __call metamethod
local meta = {
    __call = function(self)
        self.i = self.i + 1
    end,
    -- to view the results
    __tostring = function(self)
        return tostring(self.i)
    end
}

function new_counter(start)
    local self = { i = start }
    setmetatable(self, meta)
    return self
end

-- create a counter
local c = new_counter(1)
print(c) --> 1
-- call -> count up
c()
print(c) --> 2

The metamethod is called with the corresponding object, all remaining arguments are passed to the function after that:

local meta = {
    __call = function(self, ...)
        print(self.prepend, ...)
    end
}

local self = { prepend = "printer:" }
setmetatable(self, meta)

self("foo", "bar", "baz")