Declare a procedure name and formal parameters


       [STATIC] PROCEDURE <idProcedure> [(<idParam list>)]
              [FIELD <idField list> [IN <idAlias>]
              [LOCAL <identifier> [[:= <initializer>], ... ]]
              [MEMVAR <identifier list>]
              [STATIC <identifier> [[:= <initializer>], ... ]]
              . <executable statements>


<idProcedure> is the name of the procedure to be declared. Procedure names can be any length, but only the first 10 characters are significant. Names can contain any combination of characters, numbers, or underscores, but leading underscores are reserved.

<idParam list> is the declaration of one or more parameter variables. Variables specified in this list are declared local.

STATIC PROCEDURE declares a procedure that can be called only by procedures and user-defined functions declared in the same program (.prg) file.

FIELD declares a list of identifiers, <idField list>, to use as field names whenever encountered. If the IN clause is specified, referring to the declared name, <idAlias> is a reference to the appropriate work area of the specified database.

LOCAL declares and optionally initializes a list of variables or arrays whose visibility and lifetime is the current procedure.

<identifier>, <identifier list> is a label or labels used as variable or array names. If the <identifier> is followed by square brackets ([ ]), it is created as an array. If the <identifier> is an array, the syntax for specifying the number of elements for each dimension can be array[<nElements>, <nElements2>, …] or array[<nElements>][<nElements2>]… The maximum number of elements per dimension is 4096. The maximum number of dimensions per array is limited only by available memory.

<initializer> is the value to which an optional inline assignment sets the <identifier> variable–essentially, the assignment operator, (:=) –followed by any valid Harbour expression, including a literal array. If no <initializer> is specified, variables are initialized to NIL. In the case of arrays, all element are initialized to NIL.

MEMVAR declares a list of identifiers, <identifier list>, to use as private or public memory variables or arrays whenever encountered.

STATIC declares and, optionally, initializes a list of variables or arrays whose visibility is the current procedure and whose lifetime is the duration of the program.

RETURN passes control back to the calling procedure or user-defined function. If a RETURN is not specified, control passes back to the calling routine when the procedure definitions ends. In all cases, the compiler terminates the procedure definition when it encounters another PROCEDURE statement, FUNCTION statement, or end of file character.


The PROCEDURE statement declares a procedure and an optional list of local variables to receive parameters passed from a calling routine. A procedure is a subprogram comprised of a set of declarations and statements executed whenever you refer to <idProcedure>, followed by an open and close parentheses pair or with the DO statement. A procedure definition begins with a PROCEDURE statement and ends with the next PROCEDURE statement, FUNCTION statement, or end of file.

Procedures that encapsulate computational blocks of code provide readability and modularity, isolate change, and help manage complexity.

A procedure in Harbour is the same as a user-defined function, with the exception that it always returns NIL. Each procedure must begin with a PROCEDURE statement and may, optionally, contain a RETURN statement to return control to the calling procedure or user-defined function. A RETURN statement, however, is not required. Procedure declarations cannot be nested within other procedure definitions.

The visibility of procedure names falls into two classes. Procedures that are visible anywhere in a program are referred to as public procedures and declared with a PROCEDURE statement. Procedures that are visible only within the current program (.prg) file are referred to as static procedures and declared with a STATIC PROCEDURE statement. Static procedures have filewide scope.

Static procedures are quite useful for a number of reasons. First, they limit visibility of a procedure name thereby restricting access to the procedure. Because of this, subsystems defined within a single program (.prg) file can provide an access protocol with a series of public procedures and conceal the implementation details of the subsystem within static procedures and functions. Second, since the static procedure references are resolved at compile time, they preempt references to public procedures and functions which are resolved at link time. This ensures that, within a program file, a reference to a static procedure executes that procedure if there is a name conflict with a public procedure or function.

For more information on procedures, variable declarations, and parameter passing, refer to the “Basic Concepts” chapter.


. Calling a procedure: There are two ways to call a procedure in Harbour. The first and preferred way is the function-calling convention. Here you call the procedure as you would a Harbour function on a line by itself:

<idProcedure>([<argument list>])

The second and obsolete way is the command-calling convention using the DO…WITH command. The two methods of calling procedures differ only in the default method of passing parameters. The function- calling convention passes variables by value as a default, whereas the command-calling convention passes them by reference as a default.

A procedure can also be called as an aliased expression if it is prefaced with an alias and invoked using the function-calling convention, like this: <idAlias> ->(<idProcedure>(<argument list>)) When called as an aliased expression, the work area associated with <idAlias> is selected, the procedure is executed, and then the original work area is reselected. Like an expression or function, an aliased procedure can be specified on a line by itself. A procedure in Harbour may call itself recursively. This means you can call a procedure in the same procedure definition.

. Parameters: Procedures like user-defined functions can receive parameters passed from a calling procedure, user-defined function, or the DOS command line. A parameter is a place for a value or reference. In Harbour there are two ways to receive parameters: a list of local variable names can be declared as a part of the PROCEDURE declaration (referred to as formal parameters), or a list of private variables can be specified in a separate PARAMETERS statement. Note that you cannot mix a declaration of formal parameters with a PARAMETERS statement. Attempting this will cause a fatal compiler error.

Procedures receive parameters in the order passed. In Harbour the number of parameters need not match the number of arguments passed. Arguments can be skipped or left off the end of the argument list. A parameter not receiving a value or reference is initialized to NIL. If arguments are specified, PCOUNT() returns the position of the last argument passed.

Parameters specified in a procedure can receive arguments passed by value or by reference. The default method for expressions and variables depends on the calling convention. With the function-calling convention, the default passing method for expressions and variables is by value. This includes variables containing references to arrays and objects. With the command- calling convention, the default method for passing variables is by reference except for field variables, which are always passed by value. Whenever a field variable is passed, it must be specified enclosed in parentheses unless declared with the FIELD statement. Failure to do so will generate a runtime error.


       .  This example shows a skeleton of a typical Harbour
          procedure that uses lexical variables:
          PROCEDURE Skeleton( cName, cClassRoom, nBones, ;
                                  nJoints )
             LOCAL nCrossBones, aOnHand := {"skull", ;
             STATIC nCounter := 0
             . <executable statements>
       .  This example determines whether an argument was skipped by
          comparing the parameter to NIL:
          PROCEDURE MyProc( param1, param2, param3 )
             IF param2 != NIL
                param2 := "default value"
             . <statements>
       .  This example invokes the procedure, UpdateAmount(), as an
          aliased expression:
          USE Invoices NEW
          USE Customer NEW
          Invoices->(UpdateAmount(Amount + Amount * nInterest))




One response to “PROCEDURE

  1. Pingback: Harbour Statements | Viva Clipper !

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