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New types can be constructed using the define-record-type macro from the define-record-types structure The general syntax is:

(define-record-type tag type-name
  (constructor-name field-tag ...)
  (field-tag accessor-name [modifier-name])
This makes the following definitions: Type-name is the record type itself, and can be used to specify a print method (see below). Constructor-name is a constructor that accepts values for the fields whose tags are specified. Predicate-name is a predicate that returns #t for elements of the type and #f for everything else. The accessor-names retrieve the values of fields, and the modifier-name's update them. Tag is used in printing instances of the record type and the field-tags are used in the inspector and to match constructor arguments with fields.

Define-record-discloser determines how records of type type are printed. Discloser should be procedure which takes a single record of type type and returns a list whose car is a symbol. The record will be printed as the value returned by discloser with curly braces used instead of the usual parenthesis.

For example

(define-record-type pare :pare
  (kons x y)
  (x kar set-kar!)
  (y kdr))
defines kons to be a constructor, kar and kdr to be accessors, set-kar! to be a modifier, and pare? to be a predicate for a new type of object. The type itself is named :pare. Pare is a tag used in printing the new objects.

By default, the new objects print as #{Pare}. The print method can be modified using define-record-discloser:

(define-record-discloser :pare
  (lambda (p) `(pare ,(kar p) ,(kdr p))))
will cause the result of (kons 1 2) to print as #{Pare 1 2}.

Define-record-resumer can be used to control how records are stored in heap images.

Low-level access to records

Records are implemented using primitive objects exactly analogous to vectors. Every record has a record type (which is another record) in the first slot. Note that use of these procedures, especially record-set!, breaks the record abstraction described above; caution is advised.

These procedures are in the structure records.

These the same as the standard vector- procedures except that they operate on records. The value returned by record-length includes the slot holding the record's type. (record-type x) is equivalent to (record-ref x 0).

Record types

Record types are themselves records of a particular type (the first slot of :record-type points to itself). A record type contains four values: the name of the record type, a list of the names its fields, and procedures for disclosing and resuming records of that type. Procedures for manipulating them are in the structure record-types.

These procedures construct the usual record-manipulating procedures. Record-constructor returns a constructor that is passed the initial values for the fields specified and returns a new record. Record-predicate returns a predicate that return true when passed a record of type record-type and false otherwise. Record-accessor and record-modifier return procedures that reference and set the given field in records of the approriate type.

Record-types is the initial exporter of define-record-discloser (re-exported by define-record-types described above) and define-record-resumer (re-exported by external-calls).

The procedures described in this section can be used to define new record-type-defining macros.

(define-record-type pare :pare
  (kons x y)
  (x kar set-kar!)
  (y kdr))
is (sematically) equivalent to
(define :pare (make-record-type 'pare '(x y)))
(define kons (record-constructor :pare '(x y)))
(define kar (record-accessor :pare 'x))
(define set-kar! (record-modifier :pare 'x))
(define kdr (record-accessor :pare 'y))

The "(semantically)" above is because define-record-type adds declarations, which allows the type checker to detect some misuses of records, and uses more efficient definitions for the constructor, accessors, and modifiers. Ignoring the declarations, which will have to wait for another edition of the manual, what the above example actually expands into is:

(define :pare (make-record-type 'pare '(x y)))
(define (kons x y) (record :pare x y))
(define (kar r) (checked-record-ref r :pare 1))
(define (set-kar! r new)
  (checked-record-set! r :pare 1 new))
(define (kdr r) (checked-record-ref r :pare 2))
Checked-record-ref and Checked-record-set! are low-level procedures that check the type of the record and access or modify it using a single VM instruction.

Previous: Arrays | Next: Finite record types