[cfe-dev] Should dump methods be LLVM_ATTRIBUTE_USED only in debug builds?

Argyrios Kyrtzidis akyrtzi at gmail.com
Fri Jan 3 09:43:39 PST 2014

On Jan 3, 2014, at 2:08 AM, Chandler Carruth <chandlerc at google.com> wrote:

> That said, I dislike this approach. I prefer actually *removing* the functions in non-asserts builds because then we will get early warnings if we miss some, and we don't have to rely on linker dead stripping to remove all of them.

The benefit of relying on the linker is that a project can easily use any particular dump/print function from the llvm/clang libraries that it sees fit (e.g. for logging purposes) and since the linker has the ultimate knowledge of what gets used or not, it "just works" without unnecessary code-bloat.
For example, a project may just want to use "Decl::dump(raw_ostream &OS)" for logging; with your scheme it'd need to configure & build specially for this and accept the code bloat from _all_ dump functions across llvm/clang, just to use this one function.

But we don't need to hypothesize, we can see a similar example in clang with '-ast-dump'.
Do you really want to disable this option on release builds ? I would much prefer not, I've used it frequently enough and I'd like to continue to be able to use it from our release builds.

> It also ensures that we don't grow accidental dependencies on functions that were only ever intended to be used inside of assert() and in dump() methods. Historically, this has happened quite a few times, and has taken someone some time to track down a compile time performance regression and separate out the functionality.

Could you elaborate with a specific example ? Was someone ever printing something by accident ?
I think this could apply to invariant-checking functions, but for dump/print functionality I honestly don't think that there is much "danger" in practice.

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