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7.5.1 Introduction to Slots

An object of metaclass standard-class has zero or more named slots. The slots of an object are determined by the class of the object. Each slot can hold one value. The name of a slot is a symbol that is syntactically valid for use as a variable name.

When a slot does not have a value, the slot is said to be unbound. When an unbound slot is read, the generic function slot-unbound is invoked. The system-supplied primary method for slot-unbound on class t signals an error. If slot-unbound returns, its primary value is used that time as the value of the slot.

The default initial value form for a slot is defined by the :initform slot option. When the :initform form is used to supply a value, it is evaluated in the lexical environment in which the defclass form was evaluated. The :initform along with the lexical environment in which the defclass form was evaluated is called a captured initialization form. For more details, see Section 7.1 (Object Creation and Initialization).

A local slot is defined to be a slot that is accessible to exactly one instance, namely the one in which the slot is allocated. A shared slot is defined to be a slot that is visible to more than one instance of a given class and its subclasses.

A class is said to define a slot with a given name when the defclass form for that class contains a slot specifier with that name. Defining a local slot does not immediately create a slot; it causes a slot to be created each time an instance of the class is created. Defining a shared slot immediately creates a slot.

The :allocation slot option to defclass controls the kind of slot that is defined. If the value of the :allocation slot option is :instance, a local slot is created. If the value of :allocation is :class, a shared slot is created.

A slot is said to be accessible in an instance of a class if the slot is defined by the class of the instance or is inherited from a superclass of that class. At most one slot of a given name can be accessible in an instance. A shared slot defined by a class is accessible in all instances of that class. A detailed explanation of the inheritance of slots is given in Section 7.5.3 (Inheritance of Slots and Slot Options).

The following X3J13 cleanup issue, not part of the specification, applies to this section:

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