Ejectors & Escape Expressions

Ejectors can be hard to explain with words alone, so we will start with code:

# 42
escape ej { 42 }

# 42
escape ej { ej(42) }

# null
escape ej { ej() }

An escape expression creates an ejector, which is an ordinary-looking object, and then evaluates its body. Calling .run() on an ejector will change the return value from the body’s return value to whatever is passed, or null by default.

We can also optionally catch the value and manipulate it. However, any catch clause will only be run if the ejector is called:

# 42
escape ej { 42 } catch p { 5 }

# 5
escape ej { ej() } catch p { 5 }

# 7
escape ej { ej(42) } catch p { p // 6 }

Ejector-based Control Flow

The first major use for ejectors is in implementing several common kinds of control flow. By themselves, ejectors can be used to prematurely end or ‘short-circuit’ a computation; calling an ejector prevents any future computation:

# 42, no exception
escape ej { ej(42); 5 // 0 }

Ejectors even work when called by other objects:

# 6
def f(x, ej):
    return ej(x) * 7
escape ej { f(6, ej) }

Conditional Definitions

# 0
escape ej {
    def x :Int exit ej := "five"
} catch problem { 0 }


Often we might want to ensure that the object we are calling will actually alter control flow. We will see many motivating examples shortly. In these cases, we can use throw.eject/2 to ensure that we will not continue computation:

if (weAreFinished):
    throw.eject(ej, "finished")

This is equivalent to ej("finished") but will only launch missiles conditionally. We might imagine a simple implementation of this method:

def throwEject(ej, problem):