[llvm-dev] Layering Requirements in the LLVM Coding Style Guide

David Blaikie via llvm-dev llvm-dev at lists.llvm.org
Wed Jan 17 09:58:45 PST 2018

On Tue, Jan 16, 2018 at 11:35 AM Philip Reames <listmail at philipreames.com>

> On 01/16/2018 09:21 AM, David Blaikie via llvm-dev wrote:
> Context: I've been looking at experimenting with using Modular Code
> Generation (My talk at last year's LLVM dev meeting
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYYxDXgbUZ0 is about the best reference
> at the moment) when building the LLVM project, as a good experiment for the
> feature. This can/does enforce a stronger layering invariant than LLVM has
> historically been enforced. So I'm curious to get buy-in and maybe document
> this if it's something people like the idea of.
> I'm starting this discussion here rather than in an actual code review on
> llvm-commits since it seems like it could do with a bit of a wider
> discussion, but once/if the general direction is agreed on, I'll send a
> patch for review of specific wording for the LLVM Coding Standards.
> Currently the LLVM Coding Standards
> <https://llvm.org/docs/CodingStandards.html> doesn't say much/anything
> about layering. 'A Public Header File *is* a Module'
> <https://llvm.org/docs/CodingStandards.html#a-public-header-file-is-a-module> section
> talks about modules of functionality, mostly trying to describe why a
> header file should be self contained - but uses anachronistic language
> about modules that doesn't line up with the implicit or explicit modules
> concepts in use today, I think.
> I propose making this wording a bit more explicit, including:
> 1) Headers should be standalone (include all their dependencies - this is
> mentioned in the "is a Module" piece, by way of a technique to help ensure
> this, but not explicit as a goal itself).
> 2) Files intended to be included in a particular context (that aren't
> safe/benign to include multiple times, in multiple .cpp files, etc) should
> use a '.inc' or '.def' (.def specifically for those "define a macro,
> include the header which will reference that macro" style setups we have in
> a few places).
> Everything up to here seems non-controversial.  We should document this
> and ideally identify tooling suitable to enforce it.
> And the actual layering issue:
> 3) Each library should only include headers or otherwise reference
> entities from libraries it depends on. Including in headers and inline
> functions. A simple/explicit way to put this: every inline function should
> be able to be moved into a .cpp file and the build (with a unix linker -
> one that cannot handle circular library dependencies) should still succeed.
> This last point is the most interesting - and I hope one that people
> generally find desirable, so it might not be immediately obvious why it may
> be contentious or difficult:
> LLVM violates this constraint by using inline functions in headers to
> avoid certain layering constraints that might otherwise cause the build to
> fail. A couple of major examples I've hit are:
> TargetSelect.h
> <http://lists.llvm.org/pipermail/llvm-dev/2017-December/119494.html>and
> similar: This one's especially tricky - the header is part of libSupport,
> but each function in here depends on a different subset of targets
> (creating a circular dependency) - to call the given function the
> programmer needs to choose the right dependencies to link to or the program
> will not link.
> Clang Diagnostics <https://reviews.llvm.org/D41357> (work in progress):
> The diagnostics for each component are in their own component directories,
> but are then all included from libClangBasic, a library none of those
> components depends on. (so this isn't so much an inlining case as #include
> based circular dependency)
> Generally I'd like to get buy-in that stricter layering is desirable, and
> that these few cases are at least sub-optimal, if accepted for now.
> I have no strong opinion on this topic.  My experience has been that it's
> often far harder to unwind these types of inline dependencies than it first
> seems and that the value in doing so is often unclear.  I'm not opposed,
> but I'm also not signing up to help.  :)

Oh, yeah - mostly I'm looking for community agreement (enough for me to
change the Coding Standards and to push for adherence when these issues
come up in future changes) about the general principle.

For existing violations - I'm not expecting people to sign up to help, and
I'm not sure how many I'll fix/get through before I get tired and just
whitelist them in as "old quirky LLVM" with a note that if someone gets
deep into any of that code for other reasons, they might want to keep in
mind how these issues could be fixed while they're there.

- Dave

> Happy to go into more details about any of this, examples, etc, but I
> realize this is already a bit long.
> - Dave
> _______________________________________________
> LLVM Developers mailing listllvm-dev at lists.llvm.orghttp://lists.llvm.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/llvm-dev
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