Subject: Re: [boost] [variant2] Formal review
From: Emil Dotchevski (emildotchevski_at_[hidden])
Date: 2019-04-15 19:45:38
On Mon, Apr 15, 2019 at 3:56 AM Andrzej Krzemienski via Boost <
> pon., 15 kwi 2019 o 09:06 Emil Dotchevski via Boost <boost_at_[hidden]
> > On Sun, Apr 14, 2019 at 11:57 PM Rainer Deyke via Boost <
> > boost_at_[hidden]> wrote:
> > >
> > > On 14.04.19 22:58, Emil Dotchevski via Boost wrote:
> > > > On Sun, Apr 14, 2019 at 12:53 PM Rainer Deyke via Boost <
> > > > boost_at_[hidden]> wrote:
> > > >> Yes, but the question was about the benefits of the never-empty
> > > >> guarantee. If the never-empty guarantee doesn't help with
> > > >> higher level invariants, then what benefit does it bring?
> > > >
> > > > If the design allows for one more state, then that state must be
> > handled:
> > > > various functions in the program must check "is the object empty"
> > > > define behavior for that case. The benefit of the never-empty
> > is
> > > > that no checks are needed because the object may not be empty.
> > >
> > > No. A function is not required to check its invariants and
> > > preconditions. If a function is defined as taking a non-empty
> > > then it is up to the caller to make sure the variant is not empty
> > > passing it to the function.
> > The point is, there will be checks, in various functions (e.g. in "the
> > caller"), except if we know the state is impossible, A.K.A. the
> > guarantee.
> > > If the function is a member of the same
> > > object as the variant and the object requires that the variant is
> > > non-empty as an invariant, then it is up to the other member functions
> > > of the object to maintain that invariant. In both cases the function
> > > can just assume that the variant is non-empty.
> > For someone to be able to assume, someone has to do the checking, or
> > we have the never-empty guarantee.
> This is a popular misunderstanding of preconditions and invariants. In
> order to guarantee that some state of the object never occurs, I do not
> have to check this anywhere.
But we do, std::variant does in fact have checks.
The point you're making is that the checks are not needed if we specify
that calling e.g. visit after assignment failure is UB, but that violates
the basic guarantee. Once we introduce the empty state, logically, either
we have checks or we lose the basic guarantee. But maybe you also think
that the basic guarantee is useless.
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