V                        |
        +-- STRICT--+         +-name-+----------+--+

USE ARG retrieves the argument objects provided in a program, routine, function, or method and assigns them to variables or message term assignments.

Each name must be a valid variable name. The names are assigned from left to right. For each name you specify, the language processor assigns it a corresponding argument from the program, routine, function, or method call. If there is no corresponding argument, name is assigned the value of expr. If expr is not specified for the given argument, the variable name is dropped. If the assignment target is a messaging term, no action is taken for omitted arguments.

A USE ARG instruction can be processed repeatedly and it always accesses the same current argument data.

If expr is specified for an argument, the expression is evaluated to provide a default value for an argument when the corresponding argument does not exist. The default expr must be a literal string, a constant expression, or an expression enclosed in parentheses.

The names may be any valid symbol or message term which can appear on the left side of an assignment statement (See Assignments and Symbols).

The STRICT options imposes additional constraints on argument processing. The number of arguments must match the number of names, otherwise an error is raised. An argument may be considered optional if expr has been specified for the argument.

The ellipsis ("...") can be given in place of the last variable in the USE STRICT ARG statement and indicates that more arguments may follow. It allows defining a minimum amount of arguments that must be supplied or for which there are default values defined and that may be followed optionally by any additional arguments.


/* USE Example                       */
/* FRED("Ogof X",1,5) calls function */
Fred: use arg string, num1, num2

/* Now: STRING contains "Ogof X"     */
/*      NUM1 contains "1"            */
/*      NUM2 contains "5"            */
/* Another example, shows how to pass non-string arguments with USE ARG */
/* Pass a stem and an array to a routine to modify one element of each  */
stem.1 = "Value"
array = .array~of("Item")
say "Before subroutine:" stem.1 array[1]  /* Shows "Value Item"         */
Call Change_First stem. , array
say "After subroutine:" stem.1 array[1]   /* Shows "NewValue NewItem"   */

Change_First: Procedure
  Use Arg substem., subarray
  substem.1 = "NewValue"
  subarray[1] = "NewItem"
/* USE STRICT Example                */
/* FRED("Ogof X",1) calls function  */
Fred: use strict arg string, num1, num2=4

/* Now: STRING contains "Ogof X"     */
/*      NUM1 contains "1"            */
/*      NUM2 contains "4"            */

In the above example, a call to the function FRED may have either 2 or 3 arguments. The STRICT keyword on the USE instruction will raise a syntax error for any other combination of arguments.


call test "one"
call test "one", "two"
call test "one", "two", "three"
call test "one", , "three", "four", "five"

test: procedure /* a minimum of one argument must be supplied */
  use strict arg v1, v2="zwei", ...
  say "There are ["arg()"] argument(s); v1,v2=["v1","v2"]"
  do i=3 to arg()
    say " arg #" i"=["arg(i)"]"
  say "--"


There are [1] argument(s); v1,v2=[one,zwei]
There are [2] argument(s); v1,v2=[one,two]
There are [3] argument(s); v1,v2=[one,two]
 arg # 3=[three]
There are [5] argument(s); v1,v2=[one,zwei]
 arg # 3=[three]
 arg # 4=[four]
 arg # 5=[five]

The assignment targets may be any term that can be on the left side of an assignment statement. For example,

expose myArray myDirectory
use arg myArray[1], myDirectory~name

would be equivalent to

myArray[1] = arg(1)
myDirectory~name = arg(2)

You can retrieve or check the arguments by using the ARG built-in function (see ARG (Argument)). The ARG and PARSE ARG instructions are alternative ways of retrieving arguments. ARG and PARSE ARG access the string values of arguments. USE ARG performs a direct, one-to-one assignment of arguments. This is preferable when you need direct access to an argument, without translation or parsing. USE ARG also allows access to both string and non-string argument objects; ARG and PARSE ARG convert the arguments to values before parsing.