If I understand well what you are trying to achieve, you can:
- Build your own system using a cell array of keys and STRCMP/STRCMPI/REGEXP for matching key/value pairs.
- Use a containers.Map object.
- Use a Java Hashtable object ( java.util.Hashtable )
Note that if you need to store complex data structures, a good option is to use a hybrid approach, where you define a values cell array, a keys hashtable, and then store complex data structures in the cell array and only their IDs in the hashtable.