Syntactic sugar

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Syntactic sugar is a term used to describe alternate ways of performing the same task using different syntax. This is a common way of making programming languages easier to read or making some tasks shorter to type.

A common sugar seen in many languages involves accessing a value stored in an associative array. Often called dot syntax, what would normally be typed as array["key"] can be typed as array.key instead. For example, Lua uses colon syntax for methods, a dot syntax sugar that makes var:function(params) equivalent to var.function(var, params). In a more extreme form, C and C++ use the square-bracket array notation to stand in for a pointer arithmetic expression: a[b] means *(a+b); incidentally this means b[a] is also another possibility.

Operators are also commonly provided sugars in many languages, for example, x += i is often the equivalent of x = x + i.