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Subject: Re: [boost] Heads up - string_ref landing
From: Andrey Semashev (andrey.semashev_at_[hidden])
Date: 2012-11-16 02:41:21

On November 16, 2012 10:27:33 AM Antony Polukhin <antoshkka_at_[hidden]> wrote:
> 2012/11/16 Yanchenko Maxim <maximyanchenko_at_[hidden]>:
> > Marshall. low <mclow.lists. at>> writes:
> >
> >> Please let me know what you think!
> >
> > As probably everyone, we have our own device for this.
> > Here are some points and experience we gathered.
> >
> > 1. This class is essentially just an iterator_ range<char*> (modulo
> template for
> > const/wchar_t), so it should either inherit from it or have
> corresponding converting
> > ctors/operators. In this sense Olaf/Gennadiy's remarks are pretty
> valid. OTOH size
> > is needed very frequently and having it precomputed is a good thing,
> so conversion
> > approach seems to be better (but then we lose passing by reference as
> > iterator_range, type_traits etc).
> > I'm not sure what's more important.
> +1 for having corresponding explicit converting ctors/operators.

As long as iterator_range uses the begin()/end() protocol and
string_ref has the corresponding member functions it should work
without any special constructors/operators, shouldn't it?

> > 2. Given the above, the name is misleading as it's not a reference to
> std::string.
> > We use name char_range.
> Better then other names, but at first glance it is not clear, that
> char_range can be used as string.

I'll add external_string or ext_string as alternative (because it
operates on characters in an external storage).

> > 3. It's worth having a static constructor 'literal' (templated with
> size) to construct
> > char_ranges from literals - as the compiler knows their size in
> compile time (minus
> > zero terminator). It can be a constexpr too.
> > Same manner - static function 'from_array', embrasing an array of
> chars in whole,
> > assuming there is no zero terminator - useful for working with structures
> > representing messages in char-based protocols with fixed-width fields.
> Instead of 'literal' I'd propose a following constructor:
> template <size_type N>
> explicit string_ref(const Char (&str)[N]);

-1 for constructor, +1 for static member or free function generator.
Restricting it to constant string literals involves SFINAE machinery
(which definitely is worth being implemented in a library rather being
written by users). But even with SFINAE it's not 100% bullet proof. The
user has to explicitly show that he knows that the characters are a
literal and he knows what he is doing.

FWIW, I've written my own basic_string_literal class that only operates
on string literals and has the necessary SFINAE protection and a free
function generator. It pretty much resembles a read-only std::string otherwise.

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