Operators in Basic Storm simply call functions with the same name as the operator itself. For example, the expression 1 + 2 is equivalent to 1.+(2) (even though it is not possible to call operators in that fashion). As such, overloading operators can be done simply by defining functions with the appropriate names and parameter lists.

The syntax rule lang:bs:SOperator matches all operators in the language. The operators can be divided into the following broad categories:

Binary Operators

These operators take two operands:

Variants combined with assignments (e.g. +=) are also available for all operators. If a special implementation is available, it is used. Otherwise, Basic Storm expands operators of the form a += b into a = a + b automatically.

Comparison Operators

The following comparison operators exist:

These operators are similar to the binary operators above in that all but the is and !is operators call overloaded comparison operators where available. The exception is that == and != operators compare object identity for actor types.

Comparison operators are also special in that the system attempts to implement missing operators in terms of operators that exist. For example, if the operator > is not defined for some type, expressions like a > b are automatically transformed into a < b. Similarly, if >= is not present, the expression a >= b is transformed into !(a < b). While this makes it possible to implement all comparisons by only implementing the < operator, it is usually desirable to implement at least the == operator as well, since a == b would otherwise have to be transformed into !(a < b) & !(b < a), which is likely not very efficient.

Prefix Unary Operators

The following operators preceed a single expression:

Uniary Operators

The following unary operators have both postfix and prefix variants. Prefix operators call the function named ++* and postfix operators call the function named *++.

String Concatenation

The string concatenation operator # is special. It is used to concatenate strings efficiently using a string buffer. As such, a sequence of # operators are transformed into a single operation that creates a string buffer and concatenates all operands to it in order. The operator attempts to convert each operand to a string before concatenation.


The assignment operator (=) is also a bit special. For value types, it calls the = member of the value, but it provides a default implementation for class- and actor types that are manipulated by reference.

Basic Storm also allows creating member functions that simulate a member variable. This is useful in cases where get- and set functions are required but it is desirable to treat the concept as if it was a regular member variable. This mechanism also helps a smooth transition from an implementation using a member variable to an implementation that uses get- and set functions (e.g. to invalidate caches or to notify other systems about a change to the variable).

Since Basic Storm does not differentiate between an empty list of actual parameters (i.e. fn()) and no parameter list (i.e. fn), implementing the get function is trivial. Simply provide a member function without any parameters, and the function can be used to read the value as if it was a regular variable. The set functionality, however, requires an additional mechanism, called assignment functions in Basic Storm. Assignment functions are regular function that are marked using assign instead of a return type as follows:

class MyClass {
    init() {
        init() { data = 2; }

    Int v() {

    assign v(Int x) {
        data = x;

    private Int data;

Declaring a function as assign makes the assignment operator consider using that function to implement assignment to a particular member. In this case, the assignment operator in the expression c.v = 3 will realize that it is not possible to assign to the value c.v and look for an assignment function c.v(3) to implement the assignment. Note that this transformation is only performed if the function called by c.v(3) is marked as an assignment function, it is not done in general.

void useClass() {
    MyClass c;
    c.v = 20; // equivalent to foo.v(20)

Array Access

The array access operator ([]) is special in that it is not an inline operator, but rather it works similarly like function calls. It is typically used to access elements in array-like types as follows: array[3]. It is possible to overload it using the name [].