Lua Raw table access


Example

Sometimes, you don't want to trigger metamethods, but really write or read exactly the given key, without some clever functions wrapped around the access. For this, lua provides you with raw table access methods:

-- first, set up a metatable that allows no read/write access
local meta = {
    __index = function(object, index)
        -- raise an error
        error(string.format("the key '%s' is not present in object '%s'", index, object))
    end,
    __newindex = function(object, index, value)
        -- raise an error, this prevents any write access to the table
        error(string.format("you are not allowed to write the object '%s'", object))
    end
}

local t = { foo = "bar" }
setmetatable(t, meta)

-- both lines raise an error:
--print(t[1])
--t[1] = 42

-- we can now circumvent this problem by using raw access:
print(rawget(t, 1)) -- prints nil
rawset(t, 1, 42) -- ok

-- since the key 1 is now valid, we can use it in a normal manner:
print(t[1])

With this, we can now rewrite ower former __newindex method to actually write the value to the table:

meta.__newindex = function(object, index, value)
    print(string.format("writing the value '%s' to the object '%s' at the key '%s'",
                         value, object, index))
    rawset(object, index, value)
end