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Associative Arrays with COM

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Posted (edited)

Associative Array Functions

I've seen a couple of UDFs for this on the forum. One of them I quite like. But it's still nearly not as good as this method, IMHO.

I don't recall if I discovered the "Scripting.Dictionary" COM object myself or if I got the original base code from somewhere online. I have recently searched the web (and here) hard for any AutoIt references to this, other than my own over the years I've been using this (in ffe, etc..), and I can find nothing, so I dunno. If anyone does, I'd love to give credit where it's due; this is some cute stuff! It could actually be all my own work! lol

At any rate, it's too useful to not have posted somewhere at autoitscript.com, so I've put together a wee demo.

For those who haven't heard of the COM "Scripting.Dictionary".. 


A Dictionary object is the equivalent of a PERL associative array. Items can be any form of data, and are stored in the array. Each item is associated with a unique key. The key is used to retrieve an individual item and is usually an integer or a string, but can be anything except an array. 


If you've ever coded in Perl or PHP (and many other languages), you know how useful associative arrays are. Basically, rather than having to iterate through an array to discover it's values, with an associative array you simply pluck values out by their key "names".

I've added a few functions over the years, tweaked and tuned, and this now represent pretty much everything you need to easily work with associative arrays in AutoIt. En-joy!

The main selling point of this approach is its simplicity and weight. I mean, look at how much code it takes to work with associative arrays! The demo is bigger than all the functions put together! The other selling point is that we are using Windows' built-in COM object functions which are at least theoretically, fast and robust.

I've used it many times without issues, anyhow, here goes..

; Associative arrays in AutoIt? Hells yeah!

; Initialize your array ...
global $oMyError = ObjEvent("AutoIt.Error", "AAError") ; Initialize a COM error handler

; first example, simple.

global $simple

AAAdd($simple, "John", "Baptist")
AAAdd($simple, "Mary", "Lady Of The Night")
AAAdd($simple, "Trump", "Silly Man-Child")

debug("It is said that Trump is a " & AAGetItem($simple, "Trump") & ".", @ScriptLineNumber);debug

; slightly more interesting..

$ini_path = "AA_Test.ini"
; Put this prefs section in your ini file..
; [test]
; foo=foo value
; foo2=foo2 value
; bar=bar value
; bar2=bar2 value

global $associative_array

; We are going to convert this 2D array into a cute associative array where we
; can access the values by simply using their respective key names..
$test_array = IniReadSection($ini_path, "test")

for $z = 1 to 2 ; do it twice, to show that the items are *really* there!
    for $i = 1 to $test_array[0][0]
        $key_name = $test_array[$i][0]
        debug("Adding '" & $key_name & "'..");debug
        ; key already exists in "$associative_array", use the pre-determined value..
        if AAExists($associative_array, $key_name) then
            $this_value = AAGetItem($associative_array, $key_name)
            debug("key_name ALREADY EXISTS! : =>" & $key_name & "<=" , @ScriptLineNumber);debug
            $this_value = $test_array[$i][1]
            ; store left=right value pair in AA
            if $this_value then
                AAAdd($associative_array, $key_name, $this_value)

debug(@CRLF & "Array Count: =>" & AACount($associative_array) & "<=" , @ScriptLineNumber);debug

debug(@CRLF & "Removing 'foo'..");debug
AARemove($associative_array, "foo")

debug(@CRLF & "Array Count: =>" & AACount($associative_array) & "<=" , @ScriptLineNumber);debug

debug(@CRLF & "Removing 'bar'..");debug
AARemove($associative_array, "bar")

debug(@CRLF & "Array Count: =>" & AACount($associative_array) & "<=" , @ScriptLineNumber);debug


func quit()

;; Begin AA Functions

func AAInit(ByRef $dict_obj)
    $dict_obj = ObjCreate("Scripting.Dictionary")

; Adds a key and item pair to a Dictionary object..
func AAAdd(ByRef $dict_obj, $key, $val)
    $dict_obj.Add($key, $val)
    If @error Then return SetError(1, 1, -1)

; Removes a key and item pair from a Dictionary object..
func AARemove(ByRef $dict_obj, $key)
    If @error Then return SetError(1, 1, -1)

; Returns true if a specified key exists in the associative array, false if not..
func AAExists(ByRef $dict_obj, $key)
    return $dict_obj.Exists($key)

; Returns a value for a specified key name in the associative array..
func AAGetItem(ByRef $dict_obj, $key)
    return $dict_obj.Item($key)

; Returns the total number of keys in the array..
func AACount(ByRef $dict_obj)
    return $dict_obj.Count 

; List all the "Key" > "Item" pairs in the array..
func AAList(ByRef $dict_obj)
debug("AAList: =>", @ScriptLineNumber);debug
    local $k = $dict_obj.Keys ; Get the keys
    ; local $a = $dict_obj.Items ; Get the items
    for $i = 0 to AACount($dict_obj) -1 ; Iterate the array
        debug($k[$i] & " ==> " & AAGetItem($dict_obj, $k[$i]))

; Wipe the array, obviously.
func AAWipe(ByRef $dict_obj)

; Oh oh!
func AAError()
    Local $err = $oMyError.number
    If $err = 0 Then $err = -1
    SetError($err)  ; to check for after this function returns

;; End AA Functions.

; debug()   (trimmed-down version)
; provides quick debug report in your console..
func debug($d_string, $ln=false)
    local $pre
    ; For Jump-to-Line in Notepad++
    if $ln then $pre = "(" & $ln & ") " & @Tab
    ConsoleWrite($pre & $d_string & @CRLF)


;o) Cor

Edited by corz

nothing is foolproof to the sufficiently talented fool..

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Uh ???

A forum search for "Scripting Dictionary" returns 680 results prior to your post.

This wonderful site allows debugging and testing regular expressions (many flavors available). An absolute must have in your bookmarks.
Another excellent RegExp tutorial. Don't forget downloading your copy of up-to-date pcretest.exe and pcregrep.exe here
RegExp tutorial: enough to get started
PCRE v8.33 regexp documentation latest available release and currently implemented in AutoIt beta.

SQLitespeed is another feature-rich premier SQLite manager (includes import/export). Well worth a try.
SQLite Expert (freeware Personal Edition or payware Pro version) is a very useful SQLite database manager.
An excellent eBook covering almost every aspect of SQLite3: a must-read for anyone doing serious work.
SQL tutorial (covers "generic" SQL, but most of it applies to SQLite as well)
A work-in-progress SQLite3 tutorial. Don't miss other LxyzTHW pages!
SQLite official website with full documentation (may be newer than the SQLite library that comes standard with AutoIt)

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It has only been discussed heavily on the forum since 2005, easy to miss :)

√-1 2^3 ∑ π, and it was delicious!

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