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From: Gennadiy E. Rozental (rogeeff_at_[hidden])
Date: 2001-09-03 20:45:49

> > Hi, Fernando
> >
> > >
> > > Hi Gennadity,
> > >
> > > > Hi, Fernando
> > > >
> > > [SNIP]
> > Look what I sad in
> > Basic idia is by default it should be value-like implementation.
> > you can't provide Default constructor - use
different "instantiation"
> > policy. One alternative could be based on placement new.
> >
> I don't think this is a trivial "instantiation" policy.
> It is an *implementation choice* policy, and I don't think I like
to let the
> user choose between implementations unless there is a *significant*
> difference between choices; which is not the case.
> Besides, I don't see why you want to have two implementations.
> It looks like you assume that accessing a variable which is held
through a
> pointer using dereferencig is more expensive than accessing the
> directly. Actually, unless your compiler optimizer is smart enough
to keep
> variables in registers for subsequent accesses, this is not true.
That is,
> there isn't any overhead in dereferencing a pointer. In fact, all
> are implicitly pointers which are implicitly dereferenced when they
> accessed (except, as I said, that the optimizer managed to keep
them in a
> register, which is very unusual).
My understanding is that:

Given definition T* v;
(v internally is an address of ADDRESS)
access to the value through *v involve 2 steps:
1. Access through address in v to get the value address.
2. Access through that address to get the value.

Given definition T v;
(v internally is an address of VALUE)
access to the value through *v involve 1 step:
1. Access through address in v to get the value.

So difference is significant - 2 times more work.

Though I agree - the name is bad.

If optional is implemented using pointers because type T does not
have default constructor, I do not see a reason to use it at all. I
would rather use plain pointer, where NULL would meen absent value.
While for build-in types default constructor exist. If user-defined
class T has a default constructor it is also worth while using
optional<T> (value implemented) instead T*. You pay with default
constructor call. You buy value access efficiency.

> Regarding a policy-based debug/release scheme, I'm still trying to
> its large scale engineering impact.
> I don't really like a traditional preprocessor-based approach, but
in the
> meantime I'll be conservative and stick to it.

I agree with you

> > > > [SNIP]

> > C++ allows you to write int i = 3.14. If there is converstion
> > U and T ( so you can write T t = u;), we should be able to do
> > optional<T> t; *t = u; In other case it will become even more
> > limitation then DefaultContructable.
> >
> Actually, there is no limitation here. If there is a valid
> between U and T you can
> always do: optional<T> t ; *t = (T)u ;

First of all in this form it is 2 times more work. You will need to
call T(U) and than T(T). That by itself sometimes could be
inacceptable. Another issue is that the difference is handwritten, th
at will prevent usage of optional in some cases. Example,

Imagine you have existent template function like this:
template<typename T, typename U>
foo( T const& t, U const& u ) {
if( t != u )
  t = u;

optional<T> t; // was T* t; where NULL meant absent value
U u;


if( !t )
  foo( *t, u );

Last line won't compile.

> Besides,
> Just as I would recommend anyone never to write
> int i = 3.14, but eventually, int i = boost::numeric_cast<int>
> I won't support this implicit conversions in optional, not even
> supported by the language.

Well, I may not like implicit conversions very much either. But given
the fact that language allows that you can't avoid presence of
implicit convertion in generic transparent type like optional (at
least I think it should be transparent - should behave like T*) in my
> > P.S. As comment to another message in the thread: We could think
> > about possibility to provide implicit conversion through
> > to support return semantic. But I would not support solution that
> > allows t = value and *t = value
> >
> Same comments as above.
> Fernando Cacciola
> Sierra s.r.l.
> fcacciola_at_g...



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