[swift-evolution] [swift-evolution-announce] [Review] SE-0067: Enhanced Floating Point Protocols

Thorsten Seitz tseitz42 at icloud.com
Wed Apr 27 14:11:07 CDT 2016

> Am 27.04.2016 um 16:45 schrieb Dave Abrahams <dabrahams at apple.com>:
>> On Apr 27, 2016, at 2:20 AM, Thorsten Seitz <tseitz42 at icloud.com> wrote:
>> Am 27. April 2016 um 00:32 schrieb Dave Abrahams via swift-evolution <swift-evolution at swift.org>:
>>> on Tue Apr 26 2016, Tony Allevato <swift-evolution at swift.org> wrote:
>>>> On Sun, Apr 24, 2016 at 2:57 AM Nicola Salmoria via swift-evolution
>>>> <swift-evolution at swift.org> wrote:
>>>>>> func isEqual(to other: Self) ->Bool
>>>>>> func isLess(than other: Self) ->Bool
>>>>>> func isLessThanOrEqual(to other: Self) ->Bool
>>>>> I'm still not sure why these are methods instead of operators.
>>>> I think this is an *excellent* choice, and I hope it is the first step to
>>>> completely removing operators from protocols.
>>>> IMHO throwing operators into protocols is inconsistent and confusing. Having
>>>> regular methods and a single generic version of the operator that calls down
>>>> on the type’s methods is clearer and guarantees that generic code can avoid
>>>> ambiguities by calling the methods directly, instead of having to rely only
>>>> on heavily overloaded global operators.
>>>> I personally disagree on this point. To me, a protocol describes a set of
>>>> requirements for a type to fulfill, which includes things other than methods.
>>>> Just as a protocol can define initializers, properties, and associated types
>>>> that a type must define in order to conform, it makes sense that a protocol
>>>> would also define which operators a conforming type must support.
>>>> Introducing a mapping between names and operators poses a few problems:
>>>> – IMO, they are overly verbose and add noise to the definition. This makes the
>>>> language look less clean (I'm getting visions of NSDecimalNumber).
>>>> – They expose two ways to accomplish the same thing (writing `x.isEqual(to: y)`
>>>> and `x == y`).
>>>> – Do certain operators automatically get mapped to method names with appropriate
>>>> signatures across all types, or does a conforming type still have to provide
>>>> that mapping by implementing the operators separately? If it's the latter,
>>>> that's extra work for the author of the type writing the protocol. If it's the
>>>> former, does it make sense to automatically push these operators for all types?
>>>> Should any type that has an `add` method automatically get `+` as a synonym as
>>>> well? That may not be desirable.
>>>> I'm very supportive of the floating-point protocol proposal in general, but I
>>>> feel the arithmetic and comparison operations should be exposed by operators
>>>> alone and not by methods, where there is a suitable operator that has the
>>>> intended meaning.
>>> The main reasons to route through a single generic operator
>>> implementation are:
>>> * User experience; we want to cut down the number of overloads of any
>>> operator to a manageable set, in part because they live in the global
>>> namespace. When you look at a list of functions in the global
>>> namespace, seeing fifty instances of `func +` is not helpful.
>>> * Type checker speed. Having all of these overloads around has
>>> historically put a strain on the type checker and made compilation
>>> slow. That may be less true today than it once was, though.
>> I understand these arguments but do not like the ambiguity created ("which should I use: isEqual() or ==?", "Is there a semantic difference between them?").
>> Therefore I would like to hear what you all think of the following suggestion (which I already suggested in this thread, but not as explicitly as now):
>> protocol Equatable {
>>   protected func isEqual(to other: Self) -> Bool
>> }
>> func ==<T: Equatable>(lhs: T, rhs: T) -> Bool {
>>   return lhs.isEqual(to: rhs)
>> }
>> `protected` (or something else) would mean
>> - visible within conforming definitions
>> - visible within the same file, i.e. the operator definition which therefore has to be placed in the same file as the protocol declaration
>> This would allow defining isEqual() in structs or classes conforming to Equatable but not make it part of the public interface of Equatable.
> I think something like that could be possible for Swift 4, but with everything going on and WWDC approaching I am truly out of bandwidth to consider anything like that deeply at the moment.

I understand completely and appreciate fully what you all are doing!

Removing the methods later will be a breaking change, though, so if possible we should not add them now or at least name them with a leading underscore and introduce a convention that such methods are not really public.


> Sorry,
> --Dave

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