[swift-evolution] [Pitch] Add the DefaultConstructible protocol to the standard library

David Sweeris davesweeris at mac.com
Mon Dec 26 15:19:13 CST 2016

On Dec 26, 2016, at 12:10, Tony Allevato <tony.allevato at gmail.com <mailto:tony.allevato at gmail.com>> wrote:

> On Mon, Dec 26, 2016 at 11:57 AM David Sweeris via swift-evolution <swift-evolution at swift.org <mailto:swift-evolution at swift.org>> wrote:
> On Dec 26, 2016, at 11:35, Tony Allevato <allevato at google.com <mailto:allevato at google.com>> wrote:
>> Mathematically, identities are associated with (type, operation) pairs, not types alone.
>> This conversation has put me in the column of "numeric types shouldn't have default initializers at all", personally.
> I'd agree, except sometimes you need a T, any T, for when you want to create a "pre-sized" array for stuffing results into by index:
> for i in ... {
>     a[i] = ...
> }
> Simply saying "var a =[T](); a.reserveCapacity()" doesn't cut it because it'll still crash if you try to store anything in a[i] without somehow putting at least i+1 elements in the array first.
> Array already has init(repeating:count:) that puts the responsibility of choosing the default value at the call site. If someone were writing a generic algorithm around this, then why not just propagate that responsibility out to its call site as well? That way, the algorithm isn't making any assumptions about what the "default" value is or even if one exists, and it doesn't impose additional requirements on the element type. For example, the user could get the default from a static factory method, an instance method on another object, or something else entirely.

Yeah, that's what I would use… The "filled out" example would be:
extension Array {
    public func pmap<T: DefaultInitable> (transform: (Element) -> T) -> [T] {
        var result = Array<T>(repeating: T(), count: self.count) //Pick a T... any T...
        for i in self.indices {
            result[i] = whateverTheConcurrentExectutionSyntaxIs(self[i], transform)
        return result
var thisCouldTakeAWhile = Array((0...10000)).pmap {
At least I think that’d work... I haven’t tried it yet... Anyway, without some way (any way) of getting an instance of T to fill in the `result` array, it becomes much trickier to keep track of all the concurrently-calculated transformed values. In this case, the semantics of `T()` are fairly irrelevant because the semantics of the overall statement is just to work around a language limitation (Swift not having separate allocation and initialization phases), which doesn’t have anything to do with the semantics of the initial value that got passed as the `repeating` argument.

- Dave Sweeris
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