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Handle Classes

Classes can support reference or value semantics.

Create the appropriate type of class for your application:

  • Value classes enable you to create new array classes that have the same semantics as numeric classes.

  • Handle classes define objects that reference the object data. Copying an object creates another reference to the same data.

For a discussion of how object users work with handle objects, see Using Handles.


isequal Determine array equality
eq Determine equality


handle Abstract class for deriving handle classes
matlab.mixin.SetGet Derive handle classes with set and get methods
matlab.mixin.SetGetExactNames Require exact name match for set and get methods
dynamicprops Superclass for classes that support dynamic properties
matlab.mixin.Copyable Superclass providing copy functionality for handle objects


handle.addlistener Create event listener
handle.notify Notify listeners that event is occurring
handle.delete Delete handle object
handle.findobj Find handle objects
handle.findprop Find object
handle.isvalid Determine valid handles
handle.relationaloperators Determine equality or sort handle objects


Characteristics of Handle and Value Classes

Comparison of Handle and Value Classes

Value objects are associated with a specific variable. Handle objects can be referenced by multiple variables.

Which Kind of Class to Use

Whether you implement a handle or value class depends on what your class represents and how you want objects to behave.

Using Handles

MATLAB® handle variables support reference semantics.

Building on the Handle Class

The Handle Superclass

The handle class implements methods to support events and listeners, destructors, relational operations, and other operations.

Handle Class Destructor

Define a delete method to customize what happens when MATLAB destroys handle objects.

Working with Handle Classes

Find Handle Objects and Properties

Find objects using regular expressions or obtain the object for specific properties.

Implement Set/Get Interface for Properties

Create a set/get interface for your handle class.

Customize Class Copy Behavior

Customize object copy operations by deriving from the matlab.mixin.Copyable class.

Control Number of Instances

Limit the number of instances of a class that can exist using a singleton pattern.

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