www.digitalmars.com         C & C++   DMDScript  

digitalmars.D - Order of evaluation vs. sequence points

reply Jens Mueller <jens.k.mueller gmx.de> writes:
Hi,

at http://www.d-programming-language.org/expression.html the following
expressions are said to be illegal:

i = i++;
c = a + (a = b);

The documentation says they are illegal because the order of evaluation
is implementation-defined. That is possible because the order of
evaluation of the AssignExpression is implementation-defined.
I'm having trouble understanding the difference between order of
evaluation and sequence points.
Sequence points are the points in execution where all side effects of
previous expressions must have been performed.
An analysis for the second example:

int a = 1;
int b = 2;
int c;
c = a + (a = b);
-> c = 1 + (a = b) (AddExpression is evaluated left-to-right
http://www.d-programming-language.org/expression.html#AddExpression)
-> c = 1 + 2 (with side effect a = 2)
-> c = 3

It seems that D follows C/C++'s sequence points. I.e. the side effect 'a
= 2' has to be performed until specific execution points. I believe the
above expression is illegal because the side effect may be executed
before the subexpression 'a' is evaluated. In this reading evaluating an
expression does not say anything about sequence points. I.e. in the
above case it is not the order of evaluation that makes the expression
illegal. It is C/C++'s inherited sequence points. This complicates
matters in contrast to Java where each (sub)expression is a sequence
point.
Leaving behavior (implementation-)undefined usually allows the compiler
to better optimize. What are the usual/optimal gains for less
restrictive sequence points (i.e. more flexible operation reordering)?
Why did D choose to follow C/C++'s defined sequence points?

When is an expression considered to be fully evaluated? Does it include
performing its side effects? I believe it does not, because then the
above expressions would be legal.

Jens
Aug 08 2011
next sibling parent bearophile <bearophileHUGS lycos.com> writes:
Jens Mueller:

 Why did D choose to follow C/C++'s defined sequence points?

I think to simplify the implementation, because I think it comes from the evolution (the back-end too) of a C++ compiler. But Walter has said two or three times that he's interested in changing D semantics, and define the order of evaluation in both function calls and in expressions. The little (but how much? I have never seen realistic benchmarks on this) decrease in performance is in my opinion worth the gain in code determinism, across compilers too. Bye, bearophile
Aug 08 2011
prev sibling next sibling parent Kagamin <spam here.lot> writes:
Jens Mueller Wrote:

 I'm having trouble understanding the difference between order of
 evaluation and sequence points.

Order of evaluation matters when subexpressions contain sequence points.
Aug 08 2011
prev sibling parent Jens Mueller <jens.k.mueller gmx.de> writes:
Kagamin wrote:
 Jens Mueller Wrote:
 
 I'm having trouble understanding the difference between order of
 evaluation and sequence points.

Order of evaluation matters when subexpressions contain sequence points.

Because it moves sequence points around. Right? Reasoning about the evaluation of expressions with sequence points is difficult. Because the programmer has to first known all the rules and second follow them appropriately. My current definition for illegal expressions is as follows: An expression is illegal iff it has a side effect that modifies a variable which is either read or written as part of the expression. I only see one justification for having this more difficult evaluation of expressions. That is better performance. I wish I only had a feeling for it. Because right now it just feels complicated for no reason. Jens
Aug 09 2011