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From: Alberto Barbati (abarbati_at_[hidden])
Date: 2002-11-13 14:36:10

Robert Ramey wrote:
>>From: Alberto Barbati <abarbati_at_[hidden]>
>>1) I don't like the non-intrusive way of specifying the
>>version/save/load operation.
> a non-intrusive method is required to implement serialization for classes that
> you don't want to change. For example, the library includes serialization
> for all STL containers with without changing STL itself. This would
> permit easy and optional addition of serialization to any class that
> might benefit from it

As pointed out by Vladimir, I am not disputing the presence of the
non-intrusive method, which is indeed necessary. It's the way that is
implemented (through template specialization) that I don't like. Free
functions are a much better option, in my opinion.

>>2) A most needed addition to the design is to provide a sort of
> "registry" object.....
> This has been a hot topic. It is really not possible to achieve the
> desired results. I will add a section to th rationale explaining this
> in detail,

Please note that the "registry" class I described *does not* attempt to
solve the broader issue of UUIDs I read about in the discussion between
you and Vladimir. My proposal is just a way to separate the
"registration" part from the "serialization" into two different
compontents. Still the classes will be matched according to their
registration order, as it happens now. I am ready to discuss the
opportunity and/or usefulness of this approach, but I don't see the
reason why this could not be done.

>>One note: the library, as it is, *does not* support Unicode output, as
>>stated. The library supports wide streams, yes, but that does not mean
>>Unicode support.
> So what do I have to do exactly in the warchive specialization to generat
> Unicode output?

As I said in my post, you have to imbue the stream with a locale holding
the correct codecvt facet, before using it to serialize. Unfortunately,
such a facet is not part of the ANSI standard and is the subject of a
separate proposal of mine (see thread "codecvt facets for

BTW, with the current implementation even doing so is completely
useless, as there are lines like this:


that reset the locale of the streams to the "dumb" default. Such lines
are IMO both unnecessary and conceptually wrong, and should be removed.

On a different topic, I found a portability issue. The current
implementation record in the archives the size of the basic types int,
long, float and double. This gives you a *false* sense of security that
the "writing" and "reading" platform agree on the type size. First
objection: you should check also number of bits of a char, which is not
necessarily 8 bits, and the size of shorts. However, it gets worse. On
both x86 and i64 plaforms int, long and float are 4 bytes, while double
is 8 bytes, so they "agree" according to this test. However, type size_t
on x86 has 4 bytes, while on i64 has 8 bytes. It's not hard to imagine
an application that tries to serialize a size_t. The library won't
detect the issue, but the compiler will use a different overloads of
operators << and >> with clearly bad consequences. The same problem may
happen with other typedef'd types. Maybe it would be a good idea to add
in the documentation a note warning about this case and encouraging the
use of fixed-size types (like boost::int8_t, etc.) for the members of a
serializable class, at least when multi-plaform is an issue.

Moreover, this issue is now present in library itself! In file
archive.cpp, function write_string() writes the length of the string as
a size_t, while read_string() reads it as an unsigned int, which may
have a different size.

Alberto Barbati

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