[swift-evolution] Change default compiler fix for not-unwrapped Optional from ! To ?

Víctor Pimentel vpimentel at tuenti.com
Fri Jul 14 03:01:09 CDT 2017

> On 14 Jul 2017, at 08:05, Rod Brown via swift-evolution <swift-evolution at swift.org> wrote:
>> On 14 Jul 2017, at 2:36 pm, Robert Bennett via swift-evolution <swift-evolution at swift.org> wrote:
>> When writing Swift code, it is not uncommon to forget to unwrap optionals. The compiler will offer a fixit, telling you you must insert either a ? or a !. However, when you accept the fixit, ! is inserted (at least, it is for me in Xcode 8.3).
> When you treat an optional as non-optional, the compiler has no way to do a fixit that would appropriately handle the optional. Felix made a good example. The only direct fixit would be a force unwrap. If you used “?” then your non-optional use would turn into an optional and your parameter would generally be non-optional. The fixit is just explicitly doing what you implicitly expected it to do.
>> Ideally the fixit would default to ? because this is the preferred option; ! is often a sign of non-Swifty code and does not interact well with idiomatic Swift constructs such as if-let-(as?), guard-let-(as?)-else, etc. Also I think it’s safe to say that fixits should not err on the side of crashing at runtime.
> " ! is often a sign of non-Swifty code “
> I would strongly challenge this assumption. Many core team members have commented about appropriate uses of the ! operator. It shouldn’t be used lightly, but it’s there for a reason and it most definitely isn’t “non-swifty”.

I think it's not a farfetched assumption to imply that if the compiler encounters that code, the programmer didn't realize or remember that they were dealing with optionals.

If the compiler suggests to force unwrap that expression, it is also fair to assume that most inexperience programmers will just apply that fix it. A more experience programmer can decide whether to force unwrap it or to handle the nil case in any other way, depending on the context and code style.

Personally, I'd prefer that the compiler didn't encourage so much to use force unwrapping, not because I think that it has no use, but because I think that newbies should not learn that pattern first.

Surely, if I were new to the language and the compiler kept doing that fix it, I would think that it's "the way" to deal with optionals.

What would I prefer? At least, for the fix it to provide several options, more or less in this order:

- checked unwrap (if applies)
- if let
- guard let
- force unwrap

Víctor Pimentel

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