[swift-evolution] [Pitch] Introduction of `weak/unowned` closures

old donkey olddonkeyblog at gmail.com
Sat Jun 10 13:37:29 CDT 2017

Agree with Gor, this can work nicely with ownership concept.Though it will require a lot of compiler analysis, I think as Swift’s goal is to be a safer language, still worth it.

I like this idea. But yes, we need a more detail proposal, this need a lot of work.

On 2017年6月10日 -0700 AM10:49, Gor Gyolchanyan via swift-evolution <swift-evolution at swift.org>, wrote:
> The benefit that I can see here is the ability to guarantee memory safety on API level, by way of specifying weak closure members. Previously, there way no conceivable way of knowing that because a closure can essentially capture whatever it wants (even the very object it's stored in), so this would be a deterministic way of resolving *all* circular references caused by closures.
> The downside is that it would require some heavy-duty closure capture analysis on the compiler's part, so I'd expect it to be deferred to Swift 5 or something.
> However, this does play really nicely with the ownership concept that Swift is going for.
> I say, let's think this one through very thoroughly and write a very very detailed proposal (including details on how would the core team get around implementing this) and see what it looks like before submitting it.
> > On Jun 10, 2017, at 8:29 PM, Adrian Zubarev via swift-evolution <swift-evolution at swift.org> wrote:
> >
> > Hello Evolution,
> > I’d like to pitch a new idea and see where it would go. Recently I tapped into a small trap and just now realized that even that non-escaping should have been the default for closures (SE–0103) there is an exception for that. Apparently generics don’t follow that rule and a closure like
> > Optional<() -> Void> or simply (() -> Void)?
> > is still escaping by default. But that was the half of the story yet. As we all know and “love” reference lists inside closures, methods don’t have any and we have to wrap method calls into a weak referenced closure
> > { [weak self] in self.foo() }
> > to avoid strong reference cycles. Maybe you already guess it, I accidentally didn’t and tapped into the land of strong reference cycles yet again on my journey.
> > I’d like to pitch a new way, more like a new type behavior, for closures on how they could be used differently in order to avoid strong reference cycles but also providing the ability to use methods without any need to wrap them.
> > Here is a simple code snippet using RxSwift, which will recreate my issue:
> >
> > import RxSwift
> >
> > let test = PublishSubject<Void>()
> >
> > class A {
> >
> >    let disposeBag = DisposeBag()
> >
> >    func foo() {
> >        test.asObservable()
> >            .subscribe(onNext: self.bar) // The issue is here
> >            .disposed(by: self.disposeBag)
> >    }
> >
> >    func bar() { print("works") }
> > }
> >
> > let a = A()
> > a.foo()
> >
> > test.onNext(()) // Testing if it works
> > test.onCompleted() // Some RxSwift stuff
> >
> > In this case by passing directly the method self.bar we’re capturing self, which in this situation isn’t our intention at all. To avoid this issue we can simply wrap the method call into closure:
> > .subscribe(onNext: { [unowned self] in self.bar() })
> > (It’s safe to make it unowned because the dispose bag is a member of self.)
> > What if we had the ability for weak or unowned closures? By that I don’t mean weak/unowned references to the closures themselves, because they are also reference types, but an invalidation behavior for the whole closure based on the _captured_ references. For instance:
> > let closure1: weak (() -> Void)? = { self.doWhatever() }
> > let closure2: weak (() -> Void)? = self.doWhatever
> > If one would now try to call the closure, first it will check if all the captured objects are still available or not, if not the whole closure in this case will simply become nil and won’t execute. In case of unowned closures it will trap. Furthermore it will support the general meaning of weak/unowned and will not increase the reference counter for *captured objects*.
> > As you have already noticed, in this case the convention is slightly different because we must carry the behavior directly with the type.
> > func subscribe(onNext: weak ((Swift.E) -> Void)?)
> > If the way of my thinking is correct this idea _could maybe_ fade out the very common [weak self] in guard let strongSelf = self … pattern.
> > I personally cannot tell all the technical difficulties this idea might have, but that’s what the evolution list is for, to collaboratively flesh out the ideas if they are worth it.
> > If something like this could be possible it’s probably worth noting that we might also be able to introduce something like @autoclosure(weak/unowned) to Swift for consistency.
> >
> >
> >
> > --
> > Adrian Zubarev
> > Sent with Airmail
> >
> > _______________________________________________
> > swift-evolution mailing list
> > swift-evolution at swift.org
> > https://lists.swift.org/mailman/listinfo/swift-evolution
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