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LPL compared with Java
The semantics of LPL can be readily understood by comparison with the procedural core of
Java (no classes). Making that comparison is the purpose of this document. This document
does not attempt to provide complete coverage of LPL’s syntax (consult the LPL grammar
document for that).
Compare the Java program on the left with the LPL program on the right:
• An LPL program starts with an initial function definition, which plays a similar role to
a main method in Java. In this example the initial function is called test and it has
a return type of unit; the unit type is similar to void in Java (but see below). In
contrast with a main method in Java, which must have a single parameter of type
String, the initial function in LPL can have multiple parameters of various types
(there is no String type in LPL, however).
• The rest of an LPL program is a sequence of zero or more function definitions. All
function definitions in LPL are like static methods in Java. An LPL function with unit
return type corresponds to a Java method with void return type but, in contrast to
void in Java, unit is a first-class type in LPL; for example you can declare a variable
with type unit, though there is nothing useful that can be done with such a
• As in Java, an LPL return statement is used to return a value from a function. In
contrast with Java, return statements in LPL functions are optional; if execution of an
LPL function reaches the end of the function body without executing an explicit
return, then it returns the default value for the function’s return type (0 for int,
false for bool, null for array types).
public static void main(String a)
int x = Integer.parseInt(a);
int b = new int x, x ;
System.out.println(sumTwo(b));static void inc(int a)
for(int i = 0; i < a.length; ++i)
a[i] = a[i] + 1;static int sumTwo(int a)
return a + a;def unit test(int x)
b = new int;
b = x; b = x;
outchar 13; outchar 10;def unit inc(int a)
int i; i = 0;
while (i < (a.length))
a[i] = (a[i]) + 1;
i = i + 1;def int sumTwo(int a)
return (a) + (a);• The LPL command output behaves the same way as System.out.print in
Java, but it can only be applied to expressions of type int.
• LPL has an outchar command for printing single characters, where the character is
specified by its Unicode code (which coincides with ASCII for ASCII characters). So
outchar 13; outchar 10; prints a newline (a CR followed by a LF).
• Because there is no class structure, LPL doesn’t have visibility modifiers.
Additional features of LPL
• Numbers and operators: int is the only numeric type in LPL. / is integer division.
&& and || are Boolean conjunction and disjunction, respectively, both with shortcircuit semantics (as in Java, if the first argument of && evaluates to false, or if the
first argument of || evaluates to true, these operators return a result immediately,
without evaluating their second argument).
• Arrays: array creation works in essentially the same way as in Java. Array elements
are initialized to the default value for their element type. For example, new
bool creates a new array of Booleans, with five elements (all initially containing
the value false).
Unlike Java, there is no special syntax for initialising multi-dimensional arrays. For
example, in Java you could write
int a = new int;
a = 77;
but in LPL you would have to do something like:
a = new int;
a = new int; a = new int;
(a) = 77;
• Null pointers: isnull tests if a reference is null; it can only be applied to
expressions of array type. The Java equivalent of (isnull e) would be (e == null)
but there is no explicit literal for null in LPL. As in Java, all elements in a newly
created array of arrays will contain null (see above).
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