@ingox Solving the users problem it seemed to me that Pd is seething with key/value pairs.
To be clear, I'm talking about dictionaries which are collections of key/value pairs. You can use a list, a symbol or even a float as a single makeshift key/value pair, but that's different than a dictionary. (Also known as an associative array.)
The headers/tags float, symbol etc. are used extensively as key/value for message routing.
This is a flat list where the first atom of the list acts as a selector. That's definitely a powerful data structure but it isn't an associative array.
[list] permits longer value strings.
These are variable-length lists, not associative arrays.
The problem for the OP was only that a series of key/value pairs had been stored as a list and that needed splitting.... but it's not a common problem..... and luckily the key was not also a float.
The OP's problem is instructive:
- If you need to send a single key/value(s) pair somewhere in Pd, a Pd message will suffice.
- If you need to store a bunch of key/value(s) pairs as a group (like an associative array does), a
[text] object will allow you to do that with semi-colon separated messages. The important thing here is that the semi-colon has a special syntactic meaning in Pd, so you don't have to manually parse atoms in order to fetch a "line" of text.
- If you want to send a group of key/value(s) pairs downstream, or you want to keep a history of key/value(s) pair groups, you have to start building your own solution and manually parsing Pd messages, which is a pain.
It may be that number 3 isn't so common in Pd-- I'm not sure tbh. But the design of the OP's data storage thingy doesn't look unreasonable. It may just be that those of us used to Pd's limitations tend to work around this problem from the outset.
The old [moonlib/slist] shared keys throughout a patch.
I used to use [slist] extensively as a dictionary, loading it from text files as necessary.
I'll have to play around with that one-- I'm not entirely sure what it does yet.
Keys are already a fundamental part of message passing/parsing.
And the correct way to store them as a string in Pd would have been with comma separators.
(I think...!! ...??)
I tend to use
[foo bar, bar 1 2 3, bee 1 2 3 4 5 6 7( as a substitute for an associative array. But again, there's a limitation because you stream each message separately. E.g., if you have a situation where you route your "foo... bar... bee" thingy to some other part of the chain based on some condition, it's way easier to do that with a single message. But again, perhaps we're used to these workarounds and plan our object chains to deal with it.