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January 04
Good Evening,

I recently had a programming task in my hobby project where I needed to interface with a C library that uses manual closures using void**.
This quickly lead to bugs where one would forget to deref twice for read or accidental double deference on write (causing the written value to be invisible).

After that casting to the correct structure was an issue, since (void**) trows away typing information.

So I wanted a discriminated union (a "sumtype") to which I would use for all closures where the discriminant would tell me the rumtime type.

This is what I ended up with:

---
struct UploadClosure
{
    MHD_PostProcessor* pp;
    const (char)* filename;
    FILE* f;
    size_t totalSize;
}

struct KeyServerClosure
{
    bool processing_request;
}

enum ConnectionClosureKind
{
    Invalid,
    UploadClosure,
    KeyServerClosure,
}

ConnectionClosure* newClosure(ConnectionClosureKind kind)
{
    alias Kind = ConnectionClosureKind;
    const closureSize = closureSize(kind);

    ConnectionClosure* result = /*new ConnectionClosure(); //*/ cast(ConnectionClosure*)new ubyte[](closureSize).ptr;

    result.kind = kind;

    final switch (kind)
    {
        case Kind.UploadClosure :
        {
            // result.uploadClosure = new UploadClosure();
            result.uploadClosure = cast(UploadClosure*) ((cast(void*)result) + (*result).sizeof);
        } break;

        case Kind.KeyServerClosure : {
            result.keyServerClosure = cast(KeyServerClosure*) ((cast(void*)result) + (*result).sizeof);
        } break;

        case Kind.Invalid : {};
    }

    // import std.stdio; writeln(*result);

    return result;
}

struct ConnectionClosure
{
    ConnectionClosureKind kind;
    union
    {
        UploadClosure* uploadClosure;
        KeyServerClosure* keyServerClosure;
    }
}

size_t closureSize (ConnectionClosureKind kind) pure nothrow @nogc
{
    size_t result = ConnectionClosure.sizeof;

    final switch (kind)
    {
        case ConnectionClosureKind.UploadClosure : result += UploadClosure.sizeof;
        case ConnectionClosureKind.KeyServerClosure : result += KeyServerClosure.sizeof;
        case ConnectionClosureKind.Invalid : {}
    }

    return result;
}
---

You can easily Imagine the 'struct ConnectionClosure' and the `new Closure` function to be generate from the `enum ConnectionClosureKind` which would reduce the code snippet I posted by 54 lines (which is over 70% of the 75 line snippet).

Traditionally in D one would use templates and static foreach, which are known to scale awfully with regards to compile time, once you base an entire system on them.
Also they will most likely use string mixins in the implementation which means you can run into visibility/protection and namespace issues.

So I started to sketch what I would want to the compiler to do. (And I know it can do it, because these operations are performed internally)

And here was what this would look like:

---
alias type = __type__;

/// Compiler interal API looks up a typename in the given scope($D lookupScope)
/// Returns: the type named ($D typeName) if found
///          __emptyType otherwise.
type __lookupTypeFromScope (string typeName, __scope lookupScope);

/// compiler internal API returns the current scope
/// Returns: the current scope
__scope __currentScope();

bool hasInvalidMember(type Enum)
{
    static immutable members = __traits(allMembers, Enum);
    return members.length && members[0] == "Invalid";
}

/// given an enum ($ closureEnumType) where all members are type-name (execpt for the first member iff that member is called 'Invalid' return an array of type values which corrospond the type names in the enum. By default the names are looked up in the current scope, but this can be customized setting optional the lookupScope parameter)
type[] getClosureTypes(type closureEnumType, __scope lookupScope = __currentScope())
{
    assert(is(closureEnumType == enum), __FUNCTION__ ~ " expects an enum to be passed in" ~
        " which has member named equivalent to the types stored in the closure union");

    // type function traits don't produce compiler tuples since that would mean a shape change.
    immutable string[] enumMembers =
        __traits(allMembers, closureEnumType)[hasInvalidMember(closureEnumType)
                 /*strip the first invalid member if there is one*/ .. $];

    __type__[] result;
    result.length = enumMembers.length;

    foreach(i,m;enumMembers)
    {
        __type__ t = __lookupTypeFromScope(m, lookupScope);
        // assert that t is not the __emptyType
        debug { assert(is(t), "Could not find a type named: " ~ m); }
        else { if (!is(t))  return null; }
        result[i] = t;
    }

    return result;
}

string genSizeEnumerationCases(type closureEnumType, string targetVaribleName)
{
    string result;
    auto closureTypes = getClosureTypes(closureEnumType, __currentScope());
    assert(closureTypes != null,
        "An error occurred when getting closure types, perhaps the types are not visible from current scope");

    immutable string case_prefix = "case " ~ __traits(identifier, closureEnumType) ~ ".";
    foreach(t;closureTypes)
    {
        result ~= case_prefix ~ __traits(identifier, t) ~ ": " ~ targetVaribleName ~ " = " ~ t.sizeof ~ "; break;\n";
    }

    if (hasInvalidMember(closureEnumType))
        result ~= case_prefix ~ "Invalid : " ~ targetVaribleName ~ " = 0;\n";
}

size_t closureSize (ConnectionClosureKind kind) pure nothrow @nogc
{
    size_t result = ConnectionClosure.sizeof;

    size_t size;

    final switch (kind)
    {
        mixin(genSizeEnumerationCases(typeof(kind), "size"));
    }

    result += size;

    return result;
}
---

Look at the concise imperative code above.
It does not rely on any library functionality (except if you want to call the compiler internal api a 'library').

Now let's write a template which would do the same thing trying to reduce compile times as much as we can:

---
template hasInvalidMember(EnumT)
{
    enum hasInvalidMember = __traits(allMembers, EnumT).length > 1 && __traits(allMembers, EnumT)[0] == "Invaild";
}

/// Note: Be careful about the instantiation context.
/// This can go very poorly of the type names in EnumT are locally shadowed, we can't pass a scope in here so we can't fix this!
template getClosureTypes(EnumT)
{
    alias getClosureTypes = mixin(() {
    char[] result = cast(char[])"AliasSeq!("; // let's hope this template is defined in the destination of the mixin otherwise we will error
    // note: we could fix this my nesting a couple more mixins but then the code get's even more bloated
    static assert(is(EnumT == enum), __FUNCTION__ ~ " expects an enum to be passed in" ~
        " which has member named equivalent to the types stored in the closure union");
    // this will be a statically unrolled tuple foreach bloating the size of this
    // since we need to do another mixin within here
    // this might be removed before codegen but you do pay the price of building the function before codegen even though it's only use once by ctfe.
    // and it will be one function per instance of getClosureTypes bloating the internal symbol table.
    foreach(i,m;__traits(allMembers, enumT)[hasInvalidMember!(enumT) .. $])
    {
        static assert(is(mixin(m)), m ~ " is either not a type, or it's not visible here");
        result ~= m ~ ",";
    }
    // replace the last useless ',' with a ')' to close the AliasSeq.
    result[$-1] = ')';
} ());
}

template genSizeEnumerationCases(closureEnumType, string targetVaribleName)
{
    enum genSizeEnumerationCases = (() {
    string result;
    alias closureTypes = getClosureTypes!(closureEnumType);
    // also note how we can't assert here that getClosureTypes not error ...
    // thereby lengthening the instantiation trace if something does go wrong
    immutable string case_prefix = "case " ~ __traits(identifier, closureEnumType) ~ ".";
    foreach(t;closureTypes)
    // again unrolled tuple foreach bloating this function ...
    // and again we actually have to build an internal function and then we have to interpret it. So we pay for the template instance and for CTFE...
    {
        result ~= case_prefix ~ __traits(identifier, t) ~ ": " ~ targetVaribleName ~ " = " ~ t.sizeof ~ "; break;\n";
    }

    if (hasInvalidMember!(closureEnumType))
        result ~= case_prefix ~ "Invalid : " ~ targetVaribleName ~ " = 0;\n";

     return result;
}());
}

size_t closureSize (ConnectionClosureKind kind) pure nothrow @nogc
{
    size_t result = ConnectionClosure.sizeof;

    size_t size;

    final switch (kind)
    {
        mixin(genSizeEnumerationCases!(typeof(kind), "size"));
    }

    result += size;

    return result;
}
---

Without the comments the template would probably be somewhat shorter.
But again they are dependent on the external template AliasSeq to be visible in the template instantiation context.
CTFE can't cache them because they are new symbols every time.
They use unrolled tuple foreaches increasing the size of the body that ctfe and semantic has to deal with.
And they have to generate new symbols persistently ... even though those might get stripped the compiler has to allocate memory for them and spent time to generate them.
Thereby memory consumption and further reducing scalability.

whereas the type function with extended internal compiler API has none of these problems.
And does not rely on library functionality.

With this in mind, please tell me what you think :)

Cheers,
Stefan
January 04
On Monday, 4 January 2021 at 19:30:31 UTC, Stefan Koch wrote:
> Good Evening, [....]


I just realized one of the key differences between type functions and templates.

type functions are more declarative than templates which are more generative.

templates build up stuff and to see what it does you have to instantiate it.
templates generally don't allow higher level reasoning.

type functions are by nature pure and state transformations or reductions.
Which you can reason about in isolation.
January 06
On Monday, 4 January 2021 at 19:30:31 UTC, Stefan Koch wrote:
> With this in mind, please tell me what you think :)

I like the idea of type functions for type calculus only, because it's easier to get the work done and feels more natural as it is pure D-code, not a foreign language to talk with.

Though I wouldn't choose them to introduce generics in D, I think templates are enough for that part.


>templates build up stuff and to see what it does you have to instantiate it.
>templates generally don't allow higher level reasoning.

>type functions are by nature pure and state transformations or reductions.
>Which you can reason about in isolation.

Both templates and type functions are functions, the former takes code and maps them to other code internally over AST Nodes, the latter takes first class values and maps them to first class values.

Though, type functions are easier to handle than templates as templates aren't really first class functions in D.


January 06
On Monday, 4 January 2021 at 20:37:46 UTC, Stefan Koch wrote:
> On Monday, 4 January 2021 at 19:30:31 UTC, Stefan Koch wrote:
>> Good Evening, [....]
>
>
> I just realized one of the key differences between type functions and templates.
>
> type functions are more declarative than templates which are more generative.

Hm... I would have thought that a template would be more declarative?

Anyway, if you allow loops then it isn't declarative. Meaning, it will cause problems if you use it for deduction.

January 06
On Wednesday, 6 January 2021 at 14:12:57 UTC, Ola Fosheim Grøstad wrote:
> Hm... I would have thought that a template would be more declarative?
>
> Anyway, if you allow loops then it isn't declarative. Meaning, it will cause problems if you use it for deduction.


Unless you constrain the loops in such a way that you can easily turn them into some kind of recursion.

January 06
On 2021-01-04 20:30, Stefan Koch wrote:

> With this in mind, please tell me what you think :)

I think this looks like yet another new set of features just to avoid AST macros. What everyone is currently doing is inventing many highly specialized features just in the name of avoiding AST macros, regardless of the cost.

Instead we could have a very generalized features that would solve a whole bunch of problems and even more problems we haven't thought of yet.

When it comes to the actual API, again, it looks highly specialized for the purpose of the example. It also combines a lot of different language features to do its job, instead of providing a more unified API. Also, I don't like the idea of adding more magic symbols to the compiler, we already have too many of these. D has an excellent module system, but we're not using it. Everything is stuffed into object.d or directly as magic symbols into the compiler.

BTW, the first example is 72 lines. The second is 75 and the last one is 65 (all lines between triple dashes).

-- 
/Jacob Carlborg
January 06
On Wednesday, 6 January 2021 at 16:30:25 UTC, Jacob Carlborg wrote:
> On 2021-01-04 20:30, Stefan Koch wrote:
>
>> With this in mind, please tell me what you think :)
>
> I think this looks like yet another new set of features just to avoid AST macros. What everyone is currently doing is inventing many highly specialized features just in the name of avoiding AST macros, regardless of the cost.


But the DMD AST model isn't really suitable for exposure. So you would need to design a completely new AST... not sure if this is feasible in this decade? :)


January 06
On Wednesday, 6 January 2021 at 16:30:25 UTC, Jacob Carlborg wrote:
> On 2021-01-04 20:30, Stefan Koch wrote:
>
>> With this in mind, please tell me what you think :)
>
> I think this looks like yet another new set of features just to avoid AST macros. What everyone is currently doing is inventing many highly specialized features just in the name of avoiding AST macros, regardless of the cost.
>
> Instead we could have a very generalized features that would solve a whole bunch of problems and even more problems we haven't thought of yet.
>
> When it comes to the actual API, again, it looks highly specialized for the purpose of the example. It also combines a lot of different language features to do its job, instead of providing a more unified API. Also, I don't like the idea of adding more magic symbols to the compiler, we already have too many of these. D has an excellent module system, but we're not using it. Everything is stuffed into object.d or directly as magic symbols into the compiler.
>
> BTW, the first example is 72 lines. The second is 75 and the last one is 65 (all lines between triple dashes).

I think we should have AST macros but it should be a data structure like any other as opposed to how other languages do it. We have all this CTFE power so it should just be something like the work you began previously.

Typefunctions would be a good demo run for that, as they would have to be part of the AST anyway.

I think AST-anything would have to read only to start with.

An API like __traits(getAST, ...) would be fine.
January 06
On 2021-01-06 17:34, Ola Fosheim Grøstad wrote:

> But the DMD AST model isn't really suitable for exposure. 

Why not? It would be code like any other code that can be abstracted over and helpers can be created for it.

> So you would need to design a completely new AST... not sure if this is feasible in this decade? :)

I would not expose it exactly as it is. But I don't think a completely new design is required. If you look carefully at my design [1] you'll see that it doesn't map exactly (but more or less) to the internal AST in DMD.

[1] https://github.com/jacob-carlborg/druntime/blob/517dafcf54ad73049fb35d1ed5fa2ad6619b9ac4/src/core/ast/expression.d

-- 
/Jacob Carlborg
January 06
On Wednesday, 6 January 2021 at 16:34:14 UTC, Ola Fosheim Grøstad wrote:
> On Wednesday, 6 January 2021 at 16:30:25 UTC, Jacob Carlborg wrote:
>> On 2021-01-04 20:30, Stefan Koch wrote:
>>
>>> With this in mind, please tell me what you think :)
>>
>> I think this looks like yet another new set of features just to avoid AST macros. What everyone is currently doing is inventing many highly specialized features just in the name of avoiding AST macros, regardless of the cost.
>
>
> But the DMD AST model isn't really suitable for exposure. So you would need to design a completely new AST... not sure if this is feasible in this decade? :)

You don't need a stable AST API for AST macros, you just need quasi-quoting and unquoting, à la Common Lisp. There's an old talk by Walter and Andrei that includes a sketch of what AST macros might look like in D [1], which contains the following example:

    macro foo(e) { e = 3; }

In Common Lisp, the equivalent would be

   (defmacro foo (e) `(setf ,e 3))

You will notice that nowhere in either example is the AST exposed directly.

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRfTk44nuWE&t=1h5m37s
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