Pigeon variables

A variable is created with a var statement:

var foo        # create a variable 'foo'

A variable starts out with the value null.

Variables in Pigeon do not store values directly. Instead, assignment stores the address of the value. (This distinction is significant when we deal with lists in a later lesson.)

An assignment statement starts with the word as followed by a variable name and a value to assign to the variable:

as foo 3       # assign 3 to the variable 'foo'

Once we create a variable, we can use its value in subsequent operations and assignments:

var foo
var bar
as foo 3       
(print foo)    # display 3
as foo 7       # assign a new value, 7, to 'foo'
(print foo)    # display 7
as bar foo     # assign 7 to variable 'bar'
as foo 29      # assign 29 to variable 'foo'
(print bar)    # display 7

The value assigned can be produced by an operation:

as foo (sub 10 2)    # assign 8 to the variable 'foo'
as foo (add foo 4)   # assign 12 to the variable 'foo'
(print foo)          # display 12


An expression is anything which evaluates into a value:

For example, these are all expressions:

3                     # evaluates into the number 3
"yo"                  # evaluates into the string "yo"
foo                   # evaluates into whatever variable 'foo' references at this moment
(add 4 2)             # evaluates into the number 6
(mul 2 (sub 9 1))     # evaluates into the number 16

(Note that operations are expressions built out of other expressions.)

reserved words

A reserved word is any word given special significance in the language. Most of the reserved words in Pigeon are the operators (add, sub, mul, etc.), and three others are the values true, false, and null. The several remaining reserved words each have their own particular meaning and syntax, e.g. if, while, return.

You cannot create variables with reserved word names:

as sub 3      # error