[swift-evolution] Update the signature of ObjectiveC.autoreleasepool [SR-842]

Timothy J. Wood tjw at omnigroup.com
Thu Mar 24 10:37:27 CDT 2016

> On Mar 23, 2016, at 10:36 PM, Chris Lattner <clattner at apple.com> wrote:
> I understand that Jordan withdrew his objection later (because no overload is required) but it still isn't clear to me that autoreleasepool should return a value.
> Here’s my thought process: autoreleasepool is *intentionally* looking like a statement, not an expression.  Someday I hope it will be possible to break/continue/return/throw out of a closure, and at that point, it will look exactly like a statement.
> The problem with adding a return value for this is that (so far) we don’t allow the same thing to ‘do’, ‘if’, ‘switch’ and other statements.  I’d argue that autoreleasepool should follow as close as possible in do’s footsteps: if/when we decide to expressionize these statements, at that point should we expressionize autoreleasepool to match.

If this is the plan, then I’d agree that adding a return value would not be good since it would make that “inlining” more of a breaking change. But, to some extent that ship has already sailed:

	func f() {
		autoreleasepool {
			if (somethingWithLotsOfAutoreleasedObjects()) {

If `autoreleasepool` is turned into a statement instead of a function, the meaning of existing code will silently change in possibly disastrous and hard to detect ways. Is there a plan in place to deal with this? The only idea that occurs to me would be to leave `autoreleasepool` as is for a transitional time, deprecated, and add a statement with a new name. Though, if a newly named statement were to be added, then we’re back to being able to leave `autoreleasepool` as a function with a return value and error =)

With the `rethrow`/`throws` annotation, the migration would be easier since the compiler would catch `try autorelease {...}` as invalid and the extra `try` could be removed.

Either way, I’m most interested in the `rethrow`/`throws` annotations since passing a value and error back out are most error-prone part, and since it isn’t possible to add in a wrapper. The return value would be possible to re-add in a wrapper, of course.


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