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[ASL Tutorials]

Last updated February 21, 2008


Regular Type

adobe::dictionary_t is a typedef for adobe::closed_hash_map<adobe::name_t, adobe::any_regular_t>.


adobe::dictionary_t is a movable type, which means that the container can be freely returned from functions without incurring unessary copies [see adobe::move].

Random Access

Every element in an adobe::dictionary_t can be accessed in constant time. There are also iterator classes that allow for bidirectional iteration of the container.

adobe::value_t Elements

adobe::dictionary_t stores key/pair elements of types <adobe::name_t, adobe::any_regular_t>. Because of the features of adobe::any_regular_t, this means that an adobe::dictionary_t can store any data type that models the Regular concept at a given key.


A key point to remember is an adobe::dictionary_t is essentially a specialized map. Consequently just about anything you can do with a map you can do with an adobe::dictionary_t. The reasons you would want to use an adobe::dictionary_t over a std::map<adobe::name_t, adobe::any_regular_t> is primarily because of the move semantics and because the storage characteristics of a closed_hash_map, which allow for optimized copying when returned from a functions. It is also much more lightweight than a std::map.


One initializes an adobe::dictionary_t in one of several ways:
// Method 1: Default Construction
adobe::dictionary_t my_first_dictionary;

// Method 2: Copy Construction
adobe::dictionary_t my_second_dictionary(my_first_dictionary);
Constructing an empty dictionary will never throw an exception - no allocations are required until something is stored into it.


Setting a value in an dictionary can only be done just as with a map:
adobe::dictionary_t my_dictionary;
my_dictionary[adobe::static_name_t("pi")] = adobe::any_regular_t(3.141526);
my_dictionary[adobe::static_name_t("greeting")] = adobe::any_regular_t("Hello, world!");
my_dictionary[adobe::static_name_t("my_rt")] = adobe::any_regular_t(my_regular_type(/*...*/));


Getting values out of an adobe::dictionary_t is easy, you merely index into the adobe::dictionary_t to access the values. The only thing to remember is that the data stored is wrapped in an adobe::any_regular_t, so it must first be extracted out of there before it can be used:
// Singleton element retrieval

adobe::dictionary_t my_dictionary;
// ... fill my_dictionary with elements
std::string my_string_value(my_dictionary[adobe::name_t("key_string")].cast<std::string>());

// Iterative retrieval of elements

adobe::dictionary_t::const_iterator first(my_dictionary.begin());
adobe::dictionary_t::const_iterator last(my_dictionary.end());

for (; first != last; ++first)
    if (first->second.type_info() == adobe::type_info<std::string>())
        std::cout << "Found a string: " << first->second.cast<std::string>() << std::endl;
    else if (first->second.type_info() == adobe::type_info<double>())
        std::cout << "Found a number: " << first->second.cast<double>() << std::endl;
        std::cout << "I have no idea what we've found!" << std::endl;
Note that iterative retrieval of elements will not take place in key-sorted order. Use a table_index<> if key-sorted order is needed.

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