[swift-evolution] SE-184 Improved Pointers

Taylor Swift kelvin13ma at gmail.com
Sat Aug 19 19:33:20 CDT 2017

I agree it’s probably a bad idea to add the default arg to those two
functions. However, the default argument in initialize(repeating:count:) is
there for backwards compatibility since it already had it before and
there’s like a hundred places in the stdlib that use this default value.

On Sat, Aug 19, 2017 at 6:02 PM, Andrew Trick <atrick at apple.com> wrote:

> On Aug 15, 2017, at 9:47 PM, Taylor Swift via swift-evolution <
> swift-evolution at swift.org> wrote:
> Implementation is here: https://github.com/apple/swift/pull/11464
> On Sat, Aug 12, 2017 at 8:23 PM, Taylor Swift <kelvin13ma at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> I’ve revised the proposal based on what I learned from trying to
>> implement these changes. I think it’s worth tacking the existing methods
>> that take Sequences at the same time as this actually makes the design a
>> bit simpler.
>> <https://gist.github.com/kelvin13/5edaf43dcd3d6d9ed24f303fc941214c>
>> *The previous version
>> <https://gist.github.com/kelvin13/1b8ae906be23dff22f7a7c4767f0c907> of this
>> document ignored the generic initialization methods on
>> UnsafeMutableBufferPointer and UnsafeMutableRawBufferPointer, leaving them
>> to be overhauled at a later date, in a separate proposal. Instead, this
>> version of the proposal leverages those existing methods to inform a more
>> compact API design which has less surface area, and is more future-proof
>> since it obviates the need to design and add another (redundant) set of
>> protocol-oriented pointer APIs later.*
>> On Tue, Aug 8, 2017 at 12:52 PM, Taylor Swift <kelvin13ma at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>> Since Swift 5 just got opened up for proposals, SE-184 Improved Pointers
>>> is ready for community review, and I encourage everyone to look it over and
>>> provide feedback. Thank you!
>>> <https://github.com/apple/swift-evolution/blob/master/propos
>>> als/0184-improved-pointers.md>
> Thanks for continuing to improve this proposal. It’s in great shape now.
> Upon rereading it today I have to say I strongly object to the `count = 1`
> default in the following two cases:
> + UnsafeMutablePointer.withMemoryRebound(to: count: Int = 1)
> + UnsafeMutableRawPointer.bindMemory<T>(to:T.Type, count:Int = 1)
>   -> UnsafeMutablePointer<T>
> To aid understanding, it needs to be clear at the call-site that binding
> memory only applies to the specified number of elements. It's a common
> mistake for users to think they can obtain a pointer to a different type,
> then use that pointer as a base to access other elements. These APIs are
> dangerous expert interfaces. We certainly don't want to make their usage
> more concise at the expense of clarity.
> In general, I think there's very little value in the `count=1` default,
> and it creates potential confusion on the caller side between the
> `BufferPointer` API and the `Pointer` API. For example:
> + initialize(repeating:Pointee, count:Int = 1)
> Seeing `p.initialize(repeating: x)`, the user may think `p` refers to the
> buffer instead of a pointer into the buffer and misunderstand the behavior.
> + UnsafeMutablePointer.deinitialize(count: Int = 1)
> Again, `p.deinitialize()` looks to me like it might be deinitializing an
> entire buffer.
> If the `count` label is always explicit, then there's a clear distinction
> between the low-level `pointer` APIs and the `buffer` APIs.
> The pointer-to-single-element case never seemed interesting enough to me
> to worry about making convenient. If I'm wrong about that, is there some
> real-world code you can point to where the count=1 default significantly
> improves clarity?
> -Andy
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