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REBOL 3 Functions: mold

mold  value  /only  /all  /flat

Converts a value to a REBOL-readable string.


value [any-type!] - The value to mold


/only - For a block value, mold only its contents, no outer []

/all - Mold in serialized format

/flat - No indentation

See also:

form   remold   join   insert   reduce  


The mold function converts values to a source-code formatted string (REBOL-readable).

print mold 10:30
print mold %image.jpg
print mold [1 2 3]
[1 2 3]

The primary importance of mold is to produce strings that can be reloaded with load.

str: mold [1 + 2]
probe load str
[1 + 2]

The mold function is the cousin of form which produces a human-readable string (used by the print function.) For example a block will be shown with brackets [ ] and strings will be " " quoted or use braces { } (if it is long or contains special characters).

Also, remold first uses reduce then mold.

The /only Refinement

In some cases it is useful to not mold the outermost brackets of blocks. This is done with the /only refinement:

print mold/only [1 2 3]
1 2 3

This is commonly true for blocks of values that are saved to files:

write %example.r mold/only [1 2 3]

See the save function.

The /all Refinement

For some values mold produces an approximate string value, not a perfect representation. If you attempt to load such a string, its value may be different.

For example:

mold 'true
mold true

The first is the word true the second is the logic! value true -- they are different but represented by the same word. If you load the resulting string, you will only obtain the word true not the logic value:

type? load mold true

The /all option provides a more accurate transformation from values to strings and back (using load.)

mold/all 'true
mold/all true

Using load, you can see the difference:

type? load mold/all 'true
type? load mold/all true

Another difference occurs with strings that are indexed from their head positions. Sometimes this is desired, sometimes not. It can be seen here:

mold next "ABC"
mold/all next "ABC"
{#[string! "ABC" 2]}

Affected Datatypes

The following datatypes are affected: unset!, none!, logic!, bitset!, image!, map!, datatype!, typeset!, native!, action!, op!, closure!, function!, object!, module!, error!, task!, port!, gob!, event!, handle!.

Note on Restoring Semantics

It should also be noted that some datatypes cannot be returned to a source form without losing semantic information. For example, functions cannot maintain the binding (scoping context) of their words. If such semantics reproduction is required it is recommended that your code output entire blocks that as a whole are evaluated to produce the correct semantic result. This is commonly done in REBOL code, including the common storage of mezzanine and module functions and other definitions.

Accuracy of Decimals

The decimal! datatype is implemented as IEEE 754 binary floating point type. When molding decimal! values, mold/all will need to use the maximal precision 17 digits to allow for accurate transformation of Rebol decimals to string and back, as opposed to just mold, which uses a default precision 15 decimal digits.

The /flat Refinement

The /flat refinement is useful for minimizing the size of source strings. It properly removes leading indentation (from code lines, but not multi-line strings.) The /flat option is often used for data exchanged between systems or stored in files.

Here is code often used for saving a script in minimal format (in R3):

write %output.r mold/only/flat code

For code larger than about 1K, you can also compress it:

write %output.rc compress mold/only/flat code

Such a file can be reloaded with:

load/all decompress read %output.rc

Note that if using R2, these lines must be modified to indicate binary format.

Code Complexity Comparisons

It should be noted that mold function is used for computing the relative complexity of code using the Load Mold Sizing method.

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