April 16, 2012
Actually, all of this discussion has made me think that having a compiler flag to change FP values to zero as default would be a good idea.

Basically my opinion is largely influenced by a couple things. That is:

- I believe a lot of good programmers are used to using zero for default. Winning them over is a good thing for everyone here. I'm not trying to blow this issue out of proportion, I understand this isn't all that big a deal, but papercuts do count.

- My major project in D is a game engine. I want D to not only be used for the engine, but also to serve as the "scripting" language as well. Thus, I want D knowledge prerequisite to be as low as possible. I still think that 0 should be used as default in D, however, I'd be more than happy to have a compiler flag for this as well.



I've been wanting to try and contribute to D for awhile now. I've looked through the source; haven't coded in C++ in a long time, and never professionally, but I should be able to tackle something like adding a compiler flag to default FP variables to zero. If I write the code, would anyone object to having a flag for this?
April 16, 2012
F i L:

> I should be able to tackle something like adding a compiler flag to default FP variables to zero. If I write the code, would anyone object to having a flag for this?

I strongly doubt Walter & Andrei will accept this in the main DMD trunk.

Bye,
bearophile
April 16, 2012
On Monday, 16 April 2012 at 03:25:15 UTC, bearophile wrote:
> F i L:
>
>> I should be able to tackle something like adding a compiler flag to default FP variables to zero. If I write the code, would anyone object to having a flag for this?
>
> I strongly doubt Walter & Andrei will accept this in the main DMD trunk.

Do you have an idea as the reason? To specific/insignificant an issue to justify a compiler flag? They don't like new contributors?

I'll wait for a definite yes or no from one of them before I approach this.
April 16, 2012
On 4/16/12 12:00 PM, F i L wrote:
> On Monday, 16 April 2012 at 03:25:15 UTC, bearophile wrote:
>> F i L:
>>
>>> I should be able to tackle something like adding a compiler flag to
>>> default FP variables to zero. If I write the code, would anyone
>>> object to having a flag for this?
>>
>> I strongly doubt Walter & Andrei will accept this in the main DMD trunk.
>
> Do you have an idea as the reason? To specific/insignificant an issue to
> justify a compiler flag? They don't like new contributors?
>
> I'll wait for a definite yes or no from one of them before I approach this.

It's a flag that changes the behavior of the generated output. That's a no no.
April 16, 2012
On Monday, 16 April 2012 at 04:05:35 UTC, Ary Manzana wrote:
> On 4/16/12 12:00 PM, F i L wrote:
>> On Monday, 16 April 2012 at 03:25:15 UTC, bearophile wrote:
>>> F i L:
>>>
>>>> I should be able to tackle something like adding a compiler flag to
>>>> default FP variables to zero. If I write the code, would anyone
>>>> object to having a flag for this?
>>>
>>> I strongly doubt Walter & Andrei will accept this in the main DMD trunk.
>>
>> Do you have an idea as the reason? To specific/insignificant an issue to
>> justify a compiler flag? They don't like new contributors?
>>
>> I'll wait for a definite yes or no from one of them before I approach this.
>
> It's a flag that changes the behavior of the generated output. That's a no no.

Don't *all* flags technically change behavior? -m64 for instance. How is this any different?

Besides, NaN as default is debugging feature. It's not the same thing as -debug/-release, but I think it makes sense to be able to disable it.
April 16, 2012

On 16/04/12 04:38, F i L wrote:
>>> Of course FP numbers are meant for coders... they're in a programming language. They are used by coders, and not every coder that uses FP math *has* to be well trained in the finer points of mathematics simply to use a number that can represent fractions in a conceptually practical way.
>>>
>> The above is not finer points, but basic ones.
>> Otherwise, float and double are rather integers than by fractions.
>
> I don't understand what you wrote. Typo?

Typo:
float and double are rather represented by integers than by fractions.

Jerome
June 05, 2012
On 14/04/12 16:52, F i L wrote:
> On Saturday, 14 April 2012 at 10:38:45 UTC, Silveri wrote:
>> On Saturday, 14 April 2012 at 07:52:51 UTC, F i L wrote:
>>> On Saturday, 14 April 2012 at 06:43:11 UTC, Manfred Nowak wrote:
>>>> F i L wrote:
>>>>
>>>> 4) use hardware signalling to overcome some of the limitations
>>>> impressed by 3).
>>>
>>> 4) I have no idea what you just said... :)
>>
>> On Saturday, 14 April 2012 at 07:58:44 UTC, F i L wrote:
>>> That's interesting, but what effect does appending an invalid char to
>>> a valid one have? Does the resulting string end up being "NaS" (Not a
>>> String)? Cause if not, I'm not sure that's a fair comparison.
>>
>> The initialization values chosen are also determined by the underlying
>> hardware implementation of the type. Signalling NANs
>> (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NaN#Signaling_NaN) can be used with
>> floats because they are implemented by the CPU, but in the case of
>> integers or strings their aren't really equivalent values.
>
> I'm sure the hardware can just as easily signal zeros.

It can't.
June 06, 2012
People may not have voiced their dislike but I'm sure quite a few don't like it, it felt jarringly wrong to me. Zero is a better default for the consistency and usefulness, expecting a default to cause things to keel over as a justification isn't a good one, or not as strong as the consistency of zero.


June 08, 2012
I agree that the default value for floats/doubles should be zero. It feels much more natural.

I think the problem here is that people are thinking about some stuff too much. D is a rather new language that wants to be practical. Floats defaulting to NaN is NOT practical FOR MOST PEOPLE when at the same time I write:

int sum;

for(...)
  sum += blah blah blah

And it works.

Having floats deaulting to a value that's un-natural for most people is, in my opinion, craziness. Even if that's "more" correct in a mathematical sense.

Please excuse my English.
June 08, 2012
On Jun 7, 2012 9:53 PM, "Minas" <minas_mina1990@hotmail.co.uk> wrote:
>
> I agree that the default value for floats/doubles should be zero. It
feels much more natural.
>
> I think the problem here is that people are thinking about some stuff too
much. D is a rather new language that wants to be practical. Floats defaulting to NaN is NOT practical FOR MOST PEOPLE when at the same time I write:
>
> int sum;
>
> for(...)
>  sum += blah blah blah
>
> And it works.
>
> Having floats deaulting to a value that's un-natural for most people is,
in my opinion, craziness. Even if that's "more" correct in a mathematical sense.
>
> Please excuse my English.

The idea isn't being "practical" exactly.  The idea was to use invalid values as defaults. Unfortunately things like ints don't have invalid values, so they chose zero.  The idea is to make people initialize their variables.  It would have been better to pick 19472937 as the int default because not many people will use that value.

The code you showed would be considered **bad** because you did not initialize your variables, however ints defaulting to zero is well defined so it isn't really a big deal.

With floats there is this wonderful value that ensures that nothing reasonable comes out of a bad calculation, NaN.  Therefore this is used as a default because if you forget to initialize your vars it will jump out at you.

This is the thought that was used and many people don't agree.  It is **very** unlikely to be changed now but __maybe__ D3 however far off that is.  I hope not though, I hope ints default to 8472927 instead, but everyone has different opinions.


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