Boost logo

Boost Users :

From: Jean-François Brouillet (verec_at_[hidden])
Date: 2005-05-18 17:15:44

>> intrusive_ptr(T * p, bool add_ref = true);
>> Effects: if(p != 0 && add_ref) intrusive_ptr_add_ref(p);.
>> Postconditions: get() == p.
> [...]
> Right, so you can't call it a bug if the implementation does
> exactly as stated. ;-)

     X * x = new X ;
         intrusive_ptr<X> px(x) ;

Here, x is destroyed, and rightly so.

Now (same example as yesterday):

     X * x = new X ;
         intrusive_ptr<X, false> px(x) ;

Here, x is destroyed *too*, even though the additional "false"
was supposed to mean: "please, don't mess-up with refCounts at
all, *I* have everything under control.


If preserving the current intrusive_ptr semantics is paramount
(as I kind of sense it is now), some confusion could be avoided
by renaming "addRef" to something less ambiguous or suggestive.

The question is not _how_ it does what it does (it does it by
adding 1 to the refCount, or not, hence that dubious name) but
_what_ it does when that argument is set to false.

If it is difficult to find a name to describe _what_ it does
in such a case (which might point to a poorly understood use-case)
then the next best thing is probably a catch-all word such as
"standard", which, by negation (=false) means a clear warning:

"What you're about to do when setting ``standard'' to false is,
by definition non standard, and you *must* understand so and so
to avoid being caught with your pants down"

> I'm pretty sure that a shared_ptr-based port can closely
> approximate the original,

"approximate"! That's the key. I don't want to "approximate".

Either I find a way to *completely* hide the smart pointer modulo:

- the initial "new X"
- "on the fly" packaging of ``this'' when required __from within__
   (ie when passing ``this'' to some other unrelated method of
    some other class that requires an _envelope_ as argument and
    not a _body_, since my whole API, once translated from Java,
    will only expose _envelopes_)

or I will go the painful Boehm's road and use conservative GC.

> but a custom smart pointer would probably be a better choice for
> idiomatic Java code.

I wish you are right! I'll give myself all the evenings and
week-ends until the end of May. If I fail to come up with
something that is acceptable, I'll go conservative, because
"Real artists ship!" :-)

> As for intrusive_ptr, its main strength is that it has the size
> of a pointer.

HoHum ...scoped_ptr shares this "exclusive" strength ...

> Adding a boolean would likely meet serious opposition.

Never mind the opposition. Is that the right thing to do or not?

Since I don't understand your use cases, I just can't comment.

> Your requirements are very interesting, however, and point to a
> shared/intrusive hybrid along the lines of:
> template<class T> class intrusive_ptr_2
> {
> T * px_;
> intrusive_ptr<Object> pn_;
> // insert smart pointer boilerplate here ;-)
> };

I'm not sure I understand. pn_ is supposed to perform the
refCounting part, and px_ is supposed to be the actual _body_ ?

> It's an intrusive pointer that's close to shared_ptr in expressive
> power; you can use it to point to a subobject, for example.
> Extending intrusive_ptr to accommodate the above along the lines of
> template<class T, class U = void> class intrusive_ptr
> {
> T * px_;
> U * pn_; // not present when U == void
> };
> could be feasible.

I'm lost.

I don't see how this relates to the problem of providing an
indirection ("pointer") construct such that, once you've
have written

xxxx_ptr<X> p(new X) ;

you're done, once and for all, never asking _user_ code to deal
with the intricacies of your xxxx_ptr *implementation*.

When you come to think of it, a garbage collector is meant
to provide _automatic_ garbage collection, not semi-automatic,
or half-manual.

Compounding the problem of memory management with additional
idiosyncratic problems is not going to free that one remaining
brain cell out of a total of 7, that holds the whole universe
under your current consciousness level. A bad guarantee is worse
than no guarantee at all.


Many thanks


Boost-users list run by williamkempf at, kalb at, bjorn.karlsson at, gregod at, wekempf at