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Subject: Re: [boost] [warnings] Are warnings acceptable artifacts from builds?
From: Stewart, Robert (Robert.Stewart_at_[hidden])
Date: 2009-09-08 16:11:59

Emil Dotchevski wrote:
> On Tue, Sep 8, 2009 at 12:51 PM, Stewart,
> Robert<Robert.Stewart_at_[hidden]> wrote:
> > Robert Ramey wrote:
> >>
> >> warnings vary with compilers. It's a huge amount of extra work
> >> to eliminate all warnings in all compilers. And in many cases
> >> "fixing" warnings really amounts to "hiding" warnings (e.g.
> >> using a cast) so "fixing" them is worse than leaving them.
> >
> > Using casts doesn't hide warnings so much as tell the
> > compiler that you have examined the context and want it
> > to convert something anyway.
> >
> > Leaving warnings is worse than using a cast because library
> > users are left to wonder whether there are problems in the
> > library, can't find their own warnings and errors among your
> > warnings, and can't build when they prefer to treat warnings
> > as errors.
> Warnings may indicate a problem with your own code but in anyone
> else's code they should be ignored.

Unfortunately, compilers don't distinguish yours from theirs, so that doesn't work. It also doesn't solve the problem for those that prefer to treat warnings as errors.

> Insisting to fix warnings is somewhat insulting to the author of the
> library, too. It presumes that they did something unreasonable, when
> in fact the warning itself may be unreasonable.

The warning may, in fact, be unreasonable, but the library author should do all possible to quiet the warning. If nothing works, then a comment at the warning site will educate the library user. Those that treat warnings as errors may then choose to do something drastic in their environment that the library author would be unwilling to do, but it is better to avoid that altogether.

Rob Stewart robert.stewart_at_[hidden]
Software Engineer, Core Software using std::disclaimer;
Susquehanna International Group, LLP

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