May 09, 2004
I'm wondering why volatile is a block-level element in D. I have this horrible nagging suspicion that this is a dumb question, but I don't see the answer.

It seems to me that there's no way to tell if a specific access to the volatile memory needs volatile protection, so why not attach it to the variable?

Mike Swieton
__
We're weirder for being able to pass for normal.
	- The Pet Rock

May 11, 2004
There was an argument about this a while ago.  Essentially, the reason that volatile is block-level is because, in many cases, a variable is only volatile during certain windows.  Often, a variable is protected by a lock and is only volatile after you have released the lock for some window.  You add "volatile" to the first line that uses the variable AFTER you've regained the lock.  Basically, you're telling the compiler that it can cache values thereafter...that the variable is ONLY volatile in that one condition.  This is advantageous if you then make use of the variable a lot (while continuing to hold the lock); the compiler can continue to use the cached value, rather than continually reloading it from memory.

The downside, of course, is that some variables are always volatile, such as atomically modified integers.  These are variables that are always volatile; you have to add volatile to every statement that uses them.

Russ

Mike Swieton wrote:
> I'm wondering why volatile is a block-level element in D. I have this
> horrible nagging suspicion that this is a dumb question, but I don't see the
> answer.
> 
> It seems to me that there's no way to tell if a specific access to the
> volatile memory needs volatile protection, so why not attach it to the
> variable?
> 
> Mike Swieton
> __
> We're weirder for being able to pass for normal.
> 	- The Pet Rock

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