This example demonstrates a simple use of operator overloading with the [] (array indexing) operator. We create an object class (hexRGB_doc) whose only purpose is to provide an easy way to convert web-style hexadecimal color specifications to three-element RGB vectors.

The hexRGB_doc object definition and operator overloading code listed in this section is contained in the procedure file, and is located in the examples/doc/objects subdirectory of the IDL distribution. To view the file in an IDL editor window, enter .EDIT at the IDL command line.

The following code, located in, defines the hexRGB_doc object and the overloaded [] (array indexing) operator method.


FUNCTION hexrgb_doc::_overloadBracketsRightSide, isRange, sub1
   ; Check to see that the input is a single, six-character string.
   ; If not, generate an error.
   IF (N_ELEMENTS(sub1) NE 1 || $
      SIZE(sub1, /TYPE) NE 7 || $
      STRLEN(sub1) NE 6 ) $
      MESSAGE, 'Input must be a single, six-character string'
   ; Read the input string, using the 'z' format code
   ; to convert from hexadecimal to floating-point values.
   READS, sub1, red, green, blue, FORMAT='(z2,z2,z2)'
   ; Create the return RGB array, converting to integer type.
   retval = FIX([red, green, blue])
   RETURN, retval
PRO hexrgb_doc__define
   STRUCT = { hexrgb_doc, $
   INHERITS IDL_Object }

The following code snippet creates a hexRGB_doc object and uses it to convert a hexadecimal color value to a three-element RGB vector.

c = hexrgb_doc()
PRINT, c['FF2C9D']

You could use this method to supply color values to IDL routines or keywords that expect a three-element RGB vector. For example:

p = PLOT(INDGEN(10), COLOR=c['FF00CC'])