[cfe-dev] Type trait primitives and feature detection
alp at nuanti.com
Tue Jan 14 14:48:55 PST 2014
On 14/01/2014 21:36, Howard Hinnant wrote:
> On Jan 8, 2014, at 11:42 AM, Alp Toker <alp at nuanti.com> wrote:
>> Hello Marshall, Howard,
>> As promised I've had a look at what it'd take to get consistent feature detection support for the type trait primitives.
>> Like I mentioned at the end of last year, there are years of detritus and while we don't know why some of these traits are even here, but we can certainly do better to document and enable their detection in user code.
>> My first observation is that __has_feature() is intended to indicate mature support for broad language standards. As such, it was the wrong place to list type trait primitives in the first place because:
>> 1) __has_feature(is_trivially_constructible) suggests that the complete feature is available, whereas in fact clang is just exposing an internal primitive that the standard C++ library may choose to use or ignore. Indeed, as in the case of Microsoft or Embarcadero type traits, libc++ may choose not to provide the feature directly or implement it a different way, so it's wrong for __has_feature() to make this claim to user code.
>> 2) The __has_feature() list is manually maintained and indicates mature support for complete standards and major features. History has shown that the list won't be kept up to date for anything other than core C++ features, mainly because it's hard to track.
>> On the other hand, there's __has_builtin() which is currently used to list support for builtin functions. This list _is_ kept up to date dynamically based on the exact builtin functions currently enabled.
>> Unfortunately this list never included type trait primitives because they're handled slightly differently internally (and aren't redeclarable, for example). But in reality, they're just two forms of function-like builtins so they'd do well to share the same feature detection. Some GNU builtins functions like __builtin_types_compatible_p() are even implemented directly as type trait primitives today in clang.
>> My proposal is to expose automatic feature discovery for type trait primitives by plugging into the __has_builtin() system. This means there will no longer be a custom list to maintain and you'll always know what's supported by the clang version parsing your code.
>> With this proposal, we'd freeze the current (very incomplete) list of type trait primitives in __has_feature() and set it on a long path to deprecation, never adding to it by hand.
>> For compatibility, you'd define a support macro along the following lines to always get an accurate impression of builtin type trait primitive support:
>> #define _libcpp_has_trait(x) (__has_builtin(x) || __has_feature(x))
>> Does this sound like it'll make life easier for libc++? If so, I'll put up the patch shortly!
> Thanks much for your work in this area.
> I believe Marshall's r199184 addresses the naming conflict.
Brilliant! Thanks for taking that route, it was the cleanest solution.
It'll still be useful to get the type trait primitive feature checks and
documentation up to speed at some point, so keeping this thread open.
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