[swift-evolution] Custom equality/hash for Sets

Jordan Rose jordan_rose at apple.com
Thu Feb 18 22:04:51 CST 2016

> On Feb 18, 2016, at 16:09 , Dave Abrahams via swift-evolution <swift-evolution at swift.org> wrote:
> on Thu Feb 18 2016, Jacob Bandes-Storch <swift-evolution at swift.org <mailto:swift-evolution at swift.org>> wrote:
>> Would it make sense for the standard library Set to provide variants (or
>> parallel versions of the same data structure) that take custom hashValue/==
>> implementations at init time (functions taking in Elements), rather than
>> relying on Hashable/Comparable protocols?
>> Use case: I want a set of objects that are compared for equality using ===
>> rather than ==. This doesn't seem possible today, using Set, without
>> creating some sort of wrapper object.
>> This particular case would be analogous to using NSHashTable with
>> NSPointerFunctionsObjectPointerPersonality. (Maybe all I'm asking for is a
>> Swiftier API for NSHashTable — including ArrayLiteralConvertible, using
>> generics instead of UnsafePointer<Void>, etc.)
>> Similarly, C++'s unordered_map
>> <http://en.cppreference.com/w/cpp/container/unordered_map <http://en.cppreference.com/w/cpp/container/unordered_map>> and friends have
>> template parameters specifying the hash function and equality comparator,
>> which use std::hash and == by default.
> It might make sense.  How bad is the wrapper solution for user code?

struct CustomHashableFoo: Hashable {
  var value: Foo
  func hash() -> Int {
    // custom hash function here
func ==(a: CustomHashableWrapped, b: CustomHashableWrapped) {
  // custom == here

Really not that bad, although you do have to get 'value' in and out of the box. It's also not reusable code—you have to rewrite the box for every type.

I'd say you usually don't want to allow custom hash/== closures because (a) then you have to store them somewhere, and (b) the compiler won't usually be able to inline them away. You also end up with a Set<Foo> that doesn't behave like a normal Set<Foo>—maybe you can insert equal-but-not-identical elements—which is bad if anyone's relying on normal Set-like guarantees.

-1 from me until we can put functions in generics, if ever.

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