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Subject: Re: [boost] [Concepts] Definition. Was [GSoC] [Boost.Hana] Formal review request
From: Andrzej Krzemienski (akrzemi1_at_[hidden])
Date: 2014-08-14 03:37:42

2014-08-14 8:00 GMT+02:00 Robert Ramey <ramey_at_[hidden]>:

> Niall Douglas wrote
> > So tl;dr; I am really saying the time for concepts - whatever they
> > are to whoever's definition - isn't here yet.
> I would disagree. The whole STL library is based on "concepts". That
> is, all template parameter have explicit requirements. This is true
> now and has always been so.
> It's true that compiler support for verification of all the type
> requirements
> which someone might come up with falls short of perfection. But
> as a practical matter, most type requirements are pretty simple and
> easily supported with current type traits. For example, type requirements
> for
> template<class T>
> quick_sort(iterator<T> begin, iterator<T> end)
> are easily stated AND enforced:
> BOOST_CONCEPT_REQUIRES((StrictWeakOrdering<T>));
> This is useful right now. And few library authors even explicitly state
> their type requirements - much less include them in code.
> This could change in a month - and it will if I have anything to say
> about it. There is absolutely no advantage to not doing this.

There appears to be a number of things where Robert and Niall would agree:
1. A library with templates in the interface should _document_ the
requirements: in html or similar documentation
2. Unless there are reasons to do otherwise, such library should attempt to
issue a diagnostic message during compilation that the requirements on
types have not been satisfied. This doesn't need to be Boost.ConceptCheck
(if no consensus can be reached on using it). Probably a static assert with
a type trait should be enough:

template<class T>
quick_sort(iterator<T> begin, iterator<T> end)
  static_assert(is_less_than_comparable<T>::value, "T is not
  static_assert(is_swappable<T>::value, "T is not Swappable");
  // do the work

Not an ideal, but perhaps less controversial.


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