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Function with structure field syntax

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Gerrit on 15 Oct 2019
Commented: Steven Lord on 15 Oct 2019
Hello all: I have been given a script that includes the following code:
hws = get_param(bdroot, 'modelworkspace');
hws.DataSource = 'MAT-File';
hws.FileName = 'filename_xyz';
The first three lines I understand, but how does the last line work? It is, or appears to be, a function or command, which I would expect to be "saveToSource(hws)" as the usual function syntax (looking at the help for saveToSource). Is there any documentation on this apparent use of the structure field '.' (dot) as a function?
Thanks in advance for any replies.

Accepted Answer

dpb on 15 Oct 2019
"You can also call a method using dot notation....It is not necessary to pass the object explicitly as an argument when using dot notation. The notation uses the object to the left of the dot and method name."
See <Class Basics> and links therein to the details on class syntax. Again, it's a complaint w/ the form of MATLAB documentation that it is so example based it's hard to find the details of syntax in any one place outlined unequivocally, unfortunately. I've never written a class in anger, but I was aware of the allowable syntax (by osmosis, I presume)...
dpb on 15 Oct 2019
I don't really know just how much formal documentation there is on classes other than the descriptive/narrative/example format; I'm an old fogey who only writes procedural code. Since I've retired from the consulting gig, I'm basically just writing for myself so there's no pressure to produce anything "pretty".
The one thing of the dot notation for calling procedures is that unless one instills some sort of naming convention, it is can be difficult to know whether a given line of code is invoking a procedure or referencing a property.
Steven Lord
Steven Lord on 15 Oct 2019
FYI the dot notation and function notation syntax for calling class methods is documented here.

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