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Subject: Re: [boost] [afio] Formal review of Boost.AFIO
From: Gavin Lambert (gavinl_at_[hidden])
Date: 2015-08-27 20:00:49

On 28/08/2015 00:58, Hartmut Kaiser wrote:
> Third, the terminology 'consuming' and 'non-consuming' future does not make
> any sense (to me). More importantly it is by no means Standard-terminology -
> thus reasoning in terms of those makes it much more difficult for us to talk
> about the same thing.

future.get() moves the result of the promise from the internal state,
thereby consuming it. Further calls to get() or then() fail.

shared_future.get() copies the result of the promise from the internal
state, thereby not consuming it. Further calls to get() or then() succeed.

I find it hard to imagine this being a difficult concept.

> I don't see a reason why anybody would do this. If you know (as a user) you
> need shared ownership you just make it explicit by assigning the
> boost::future to a boost::shared_future (as you showed in Example A).

His point was that someone might forget and then it becomes a runtime
exception, which can be painful to find if it's in a seldom-executed
part of the code (perhaps error handling).

>> future h=async_file("niall.txt");
>> shared_future h2(h);
>> // Call these continuations when h becomes ready
>> for(size_t n=0; n<100; n++)
>> // Each of these initiates an async read, so queue depth = 100
>> h2.then(detail::async_read(buffer[n], 1, n*4096));
> Sure, but Example A is just fine, as said.

Note that it's not user code calling then() on the futures in most cases
-- see the examples. Instead the future is passed as a "precondition"
parameter to a wrapper API in the library, which is what actually
registers the continuation.

I think Niall's point is that it's harder for the wrapper to know
whether it's going to be called a single time or multiple times for a
given precondition future, so it's safest if that is accepted only as a

BUT that means that there is absolutely no benefit (and some drawbacks)
to returning non-shared futures, as a result (there are only potentially
some savings if they're never used as preconditions).

I suppose arguably the wrappers could be templated to accept either
future or shared_future, which might mitigate that. But perhaps there
are reasons why that's undesirable as well.

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