Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Fluent Smalltalk

The other week I wrote about creating HTML controls in ASP.NET MVC using the Fluent Interface pattern. I haven't been a Smalltalker since the 90s so it took awhile for it click where I had seen this pattern before. In Smalltalk the default return value from a message send (aka method) is the receiver (aka the object itself or 'self'). You are encouraged by the language to create readable chains of method sends.

I also had a thought about how the C# compiler could support this as a language level feature by allowing the 'this' keyword as the return type for a method.

So instead of having to write a method like:
public Image ImagePath(string path) {
  imagePath = path;
  return this;
You could just write:
public this ImagePath(string path) {
  imagePath = path;

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