The two main goals of the type-traits library are compelling: correctness and optimization. Today, I write about correctness.
The type-traits library enables it to type queries, comparisons, and modifications at compile time. In my previous post about the type traits library, I only wrote about type queries and comparisons. Before I write about the correctness aspect of the type-traits library, I want to write a few words about type modifications.
The type-traits library offers many metafunctions to manipulate types. Here are the most interesting ones.
To get an
int from an
int or a
const int, you have to ask for the type with
Since C++14, you can use
_t to get the type, such as with
To get an idea of how helpful these metafunctions from the type-traits library are, here are a few examples.
std::decayto its arguments. The arguments of
std::thread, including the executed function
fand their arguments
args. Decay means that implicit conversions from array-to-pointer, function-to-pointer is performed, and
const/volatilequalifiers and references are removed.
std::enable_ifis a convenient way to use SFINAE. SFINAE stands for Substitution Failure Is Not An Error and applies during overload resolution of a function template. If substituting the template parameter fails, the specialization is discarded from the overload set, but this failure causes no compiler error.
std::conditionalis the ternary operator at compile time?
std::common_typedetermines the common type among all types to which all types can be converted.
std::underlying_typedetermines the type of an enum.
Maybe, you are not convinced about the benefit of the type traits library. Let me end my series of posts to the type-traits library with its two main goals: correctness and optimization.
Correctness means that you can use the type-traits library in C++11 to make your algorithm safer. The following implementation of the gcd algorithm requires that the binary modulo operator is valid for its arguments.
The error message is quite explicit.
The compiler complains immediately that a
double or a
const char* is not an integral data type. Consequentially, the
static_assert expression in (1) fired
But correctness means that you can use the type-traits libraries to implement concepts such as
UnsignedIntegral in C++20.
Integral uses the type-traits functions directly
std::is_integral (1) and the concept
SignedIntegral the type-traits function
Let’s try it out and use the concept
Now, the gcd algorithm is easier to read. It requires that the first argument
a and its return type are integral data types. To ensure that the second argument
b has the same type as the first type
a I specified its type as
decltype(a). Consequentially, this implementation of the
gcd algorithm and the previous one in
gcd2.cpp are equivalent.
Now, the error message is more verbose such as the previous one.
The error message of the GCC is not only too verbose but also too difficult to read. Let me try out Clang on the Compiler Explorer. The error message about the erroneous usage of double reads like prose:
I don’t think an error message could be easier to read.
Finally, I wanted to try out the latest Microsoft Visual Studio Compiler. This compiler supports concepts with one exception: the so-called abbreviated function template syntax. You may already guess it. I used the abbreviated function template syntax in my gcd algorithm. You can read more about this nice syntax in my previous post: C++20: Concepts – Syntactic Sugar.
Of course, you know what I will write about in my next post: the performance story of the type-traits library.
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