Why metatables?

I’m making this post because, I see many people talk about meta tables and use meta tables, but why? What benefits do they give compared to normal tables? When should you use meta tables over regular tables and vice versa?

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Metatables are used to add attributes/properties, functions to the table you are given. For example, here when you call a key in a dictionary, it will create a NumberValue inside the script

local Table = {} :: {[string]: NumberValue}
setmetatable(Table, {["__index"] = function(t, k)
	local NV = Instance.new("NumberValue")
	NV.Name = k
		NV.Parent = (if v == 0 then nil else script)
	t[k] = NV
	return NV
Table.Apple.Value = 20

so, it doesn’t create a variable with a function, there are also people who create OOP with metatables.

For normal tables, you can store information, nothing else?

Metatables allow you to extend the behavior of tables. They can be used to define custom methods and operator overloading, and to implement inheritance between tables. This makes your code more flexible and powerful, and can help you avoid code duplication. You should use metatables when you need to add custom behavior to tables, or when you want to implement inheritance. Otherwise, regular tables may be sufficient.

-- Define a table with some initial data
local myTable = {1, 2, 3}

-- Create a metatable with custom behavior
local myMetatable = {
  -- Define a custom __add method, which is called when the + operator is used on tables
  __add = function(table1, table2)
    local result = {}
    for i = 1, #table1 do
      result[i] = table1[i] + table2[i]
    return result

-- Set the metatable for the table
setmetatable(myTable, myMetatable)

-- Use the + operator to add two tables together
local result = myTable + {4, 5, 6}

-- The result is a new table with the elements of the two input tables added together
-- In this case, the result is {5, 7, 9}

In this example, we define a table called ‘myTable’ with some initial data. Then we create a metatable called ‘myMetatable’ that defines a custom ‘__add’ method. This method is called whenever the ‘+’ operator is used on tables, and it adds the corresponding elements of the two input tables together. Next, we set the metatable for ‘myTable’ using the ‘setmetatable’ function. This associates the metatable with the table, so that the custom ‘__add’ method will be called when the ‘+’ operator is used on ‘myTable’. Finally, we use the ‘+’ operator to add ‘myTable’ to another table, and the result is a new table with the elements of the two input tables added together. In this case, the result is ‘{5, 7, 9}’. Overall, this example shows how a metatable can be used to define custom behavior for tables, and how that behavior can be used in your code.

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