Re: method call on result of method call

Eric Sosman <esosman@ieee-dot-org.invalid>
Tue, 15 Jun 2010 10:40:36 -0400
On 6/15/2010 10:23 AM, Lew wrote:

patrol wrote:

  From Wikipedia: Reference(Computer Science)

"A reference is distinct from the data itself. Typically, a reference
is the physical address of where the data is stored in memory or in
the storage device. For this reason, a reference is often called a
pointer or address, and is said to point to the data."

This seems to be saying that a reference *is* synonymous with a
pointer. They both refer/point to the memory address where the data is
located. No?

Eric Sosman wrote:

      No. A reference is any kind of datum that allows you to
locate some other datum, the thing the reference refers to.
One particularly efficient type of reference, suitable for use
in a computer's memory, is an address. But that's by no means
the only possible kind of reference, nor the only kind used!

Everything you say is true, but this conversation is primarily about
references in Java, as defined by the JLS. While the Wikipedia entry
and your comments apply to the wide universe, it isn't the only
example where the usage in the context of Java is much more narrowly
and idiosyncratically defined.

     s/is primarily/was primarily/. The immediate question ("No?")
is about the Wikipedia quote concerning references in general, not
about the more restricted form of "reference" specific to Java.

Eric Sosman

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