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Subject: Re: [boost] New, powerful way to use enable_if in C++0x
From: Matt Calabrese (rivorus_at_[hidden])
Date: 2011-04-11 16:44:40

On Mon, Apr 11, 2011 at 3:34 PM, Gevorg Voskanyan <v_gevorg_at_[hidden]>wrote:

> Nice! The idea is very useful and powerful indeed, and one I'd definitely
> like
> to see documented. I have a question however. Is there a particular reason
> you
> did it like:
> typename boost::enable_if< boost::is_arithmetic< T > >::type*& =
> boost::enabler
> instead of:
> typename Enable = typename boost::enable_if< boost::is_arithmetic< T >
> >::type
> ?
> The latter seems clearer to me and removes the need to introduce a
> boost::enabler identifier.

It's necessary because otherwise with two overloads you'd end up with two
declarations that differ only in default arguments, which would be a compile
error. For instance, consider the following:

template< class T, class Enable = typename enable_if< is_arithmetic< T >
>::type >
void foo( T ) {}

template< class T, class Enable = typename enable_if< is_pointer< T >
>::type >
void foo( T ) {}

This would be an error even though the conditions don't overlap! To better
understand why, imagine it with the defaults removed. Both of them are
actually declaring exactly the same function template with the only
difference being that they use a different default. In other words both are

template< class T, class Enable >
void foo( T );

however, you have provided two different defaults and two different
definitions. This is, of course, an error.

If the fact that they're templates is throwing you off, compare this to
regular function argument defaults:

void bar( int arg = 5 ) {}
void bar( int arg = 6 ) {}

This code has a similar problem to the code you posted above. Even though
the defaults are different, they are still just declaring void bar( int );
The fact that we are exploiting SFINAE with the default argument in the
template example does not change that. We have to make substitution fail
when forming template parameter type itself as opposed to just its default.

-Matt Calabrese

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