Bindings are a central concept to Onyx. A binding declares that certain symbol is bound to something in a scope. This "something" can be an compile-time known object. Here is a non-exhaustive list or some of the compile-time known objects.

  • Procedure
  • macros
  • structs
  • enums
  • packages
  • constant literals


A binding is written in the following way:

symbol_name :: value

This says that symbol_name will mean the same thing as value in the scope that it was declared in. Normally, value is something like a procedure, structure, enum, or some other compile-time known object. However, there is nothing wrong with re-binding a symbol to give it an alternate name.

Note, the ability to alias symbols to other symbols has an interesting consequence. Since names are not inheritly part of a procedure or type defintion, a procedure or type can have multiple names.

f :: () { ... }
g :: f

Notice that the procedure defined here can be called g or f. When reporting errors the compiler will use the name that was originally bound to the procedure (f).

Use as constants

Onyx does not have a way so specify constant variables. When you declare a variable with :=, it is always modifiable. While constants are very useful, Onyx would suffer from the same problem that C and C++ have with constants: they aren't necessarily constant. You can take a pointer to it, and use that to modify it. Onyx does not want to make false promises about how constant something is.

That being said, bindings can serve as compile-time constants. You can declare a binding to a constant literal, or something that can be reduced to a constant literal at compile time. Here are some examples.

A_CONSTANT_STRING :: "a string"

// Since A_CONSTANT_STRING.length and A_CONSTANT_INTEGER are compile-time known
// the addition can happen at compile-time.

Targeted Bindings

Bindings can be also placed into a scope other than the current package/file scope. Simply prefix the binding name with the name of the target scope, followed by a ..

Foo :: struct {}

// `bar` is bound inside of the `Foo` structure. :: () {

Here the bar procedure is placed inside of the Foo structure. This makes it accessible using When combined with the method call operator, methods can be defined on types in Onyx in a similar manner to Go.

The target scope does not have to be a structure however; it can also be a package, union, enum, or #distinct type.

Using targeted bindings is very common in many Onyx programs, because it allows for a defining procedures that are associated with a type, directly on the type. This makes them easier to find, and able to be used by the method call operator.