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digitalmars.D.bugs - [Issue 1845] New: Variant and VariantN cannot handle structs of arbitrary size

reply d-bugmail puremagic.com writes:
http://d.puremagic.com/issues/show_bug.cgi?id=1845

           Summary: Variant and VariantN cannot handle structs of arbitrary
                    size
           Product: D
           Version: 2.010
          Platform: PC
        OS/Version: Linux
            Status: NEW
          Severity: enhancement
          Priority: P2
         Component: Phobos
        AssignedTo: bugzilla digitalmars.com
        ReportedBy: dhasenan gmail.com


Variant can only handle structs and static arrays of at most 2 * sizeof(size_t)
bytes. VariantN can handle structs and static arrays of any specified size.

This is intended behavior. However, it wastes memory: if I know I might need to
store a struct of 64 bytes, then I'll store a char with 63 bytes of padding. If
I am writing a library, I cannot use Variant or VariantN because I do not know
what size structs the end user might want to use.

I could store an array of VariantN and, if I need to store something larger
than the current maximum size, copy everything into another array of VariantN
with a larger maximum size. I'd have to store this array in a Variant, as well,
since its type will continue to change. But that's just silly. Variant is
supposed to be a solution for boxing, so I shouldn't have to concern myself
with size. At least, I should be able to avoid those concerns, even if they are
exposed.

For comparison, Tango stores large structs on the heap, and can store
arbitrarily large structs.


-- 
Feb 16 2008
next sibling parent d-bugmail puremagic.com writes:
http://d.puremagic.com/issues/show_bug.cgi?id=1845


andrei metalanguage.com changed:

           What    |Removed                     |Added
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
         AssignedTo|bugzilla digitalmars.com    |andrei metalanguage.com




------- Comment #1 from andrei metalanguage.com  2008-02-16 16:23 -------
The intent was to not inflict heap allocation on Variant's user unwittingly. If
large structs are to be stored in a Variant, they should be stored by pointer
and allocated in user code.

However, transparent pointer storage has its appeal too. I'd like to collect
more use cases before changing the implementation. All -- please advise.


-- 
Feb 16 2008
prev sibling next sibling parent d-bugmail puremagic.com writes:
http://d.puremagic.com/issues/show_bug.cgi?id=1845





------- Comment #2 from dsimcha yahoo.com  2009-04-05 16:40 -------
I'd say the best compromise between a well-encapsulated solution and a solution
that avoids hidden allocations is to have something like a bigAssign(T) method
in addition to the regular opAssign.  It would work something like this:

struct Huge {
    real a, b, c, d, e, f, g;
}

void main() {
    Huge huge;
    Variant v;
    v = huge;  // Compile time error.
    v.bigAssign(huge);  // Works, allocates on heap transparently.
    v.bigAssign(5);  // Works, equivalent to v = 5 or v.opAssign(5).
}

Heck, you could even make this a policy.  Let's say you have two functions: 
neverAllocate() and allocateAsNeeded().  You could make opAssign() an alias to
one of these instead of a funciton.  The VariantN template could take an alias
parameter for opAssign that defaults to one of the two, but can be overridden
on instantiation.  Not sure which the default should be, but that's a minor
detail.


-- 
Apr 05 2009
prev sibling parent d-bugmail puremagic.com writes:
http://d.puremagic.com/issues/show_bug.cgi?id=1845


Andrei Alexandrescu <andrei metalanguage.com> changed:

           What    |Removed                     |Added
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
             Status|NEW                         |RESOLVED
         Resolution|                            |FIXED




--- Comment #3 from Andrei Alexandrescu <andrei metalanguage.com>  2009-08-25
00:40:25 PDT ---
Fix coming in the next release.

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