[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
Issue: ADJUST-ARRAY-NOT-ADJUSTABLE (Version 9)
- To: Jon L White <email@example.com>, Masinter.pa@Xerox.com
- Subject: Issue: ADJUST-ARRAY-NOT-ADJUSTABLE (Version 9)
- From: David A. Moon <Moon@STONY-BROOK.SCRC.Symbolics.COM>
- Date: Fri, 17 Mar 89 16:33 EST
- Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org
- In-reply-to: <8903160732.AA11607@bhopal>
- Line-fold: No
This version is edited to reflect the changes I think JonL wants,
which I had thought were already in. I'll mail this to X3J13 to
supersede version 8, unless one of you asks me not to. That would
probably be more constructive than the intemperate message I already
References: ADJUST-ARRAY (p297), ADJUSTABLE-ARRAY-P (p293),
MAKE-ARRAY (pp286-289), simple arrays (p28, 289)
Edit history: 22-Apr-87, Version 1 by Pitman
15-Nov-88, Versions 2a,2b,2c by Pitman
02-Dec-88, Version 3 by Pitman
11-Jan-89, Version 4 by Pitman
16-Jan-89, Version 5, by Gabriel. Amended at the meeting to shorten.
23-Jan-89, Version 6, by Moon. Shorten without the bug introduced
by the amendment, add clarification of SIMPLE-ARRAY type.
15-Feb-89, Version 7, by Pitman. Minor changes per comments from
RPG and Dalton.
11-Mar-89, Version 8, by Pitman. Change category, add endorsements.
17-Mar-89, Version 9, by Moon, fix wording and examples to make it
clear that the semantics of simple-array is unchanged.
The description of the :ADJUSTABLE option to MAKE-ARRAY on p288
says that ``the argument, if specified and not NIL, indicates that
it must be possible to alter the array's size dynamically after
it is created. This argument defaults to NIL.''
The description of the :ADJUSTABLE option does not say what
MAKE-ARRAY will do if the argument is unsupplied or explicitly NIL.
The description of ADJUSTABLE-ARRAY-P on p293 says that it is
true ``if the argument (which must be an array) is adjustable, and
otherwise false.'' However, the description of MAKE-ARRAY makes
it clear that this is not necessarily the same as asking if
the array was created with :ADJUSTABLE T. If ADJUSTABLE-ARRAY-P
returns NIL, you know that :ADJUSTABLE NIL was supplied (or no
:ADJUSTABLE option was supplied), but if ADJUSTABLE-ARRAY-P returns
T, then there is no information about whether :ADJUSTABLE was used.
The description of ADJUST-ARRAY on pp297-298 says that it is
``not permitted to call ADJUST-ARRAY on an array that was not
created with the :ADJUSTABLE option.'' This is inconsistent with
A problem which comes up in practice is that some programmers
expect runtime error checking if they have done
(MAKE-ARRAY ... :ADJUSTABLE NIL) and they later try to adjust
the array using ADJUST-ARRAY.
The definition of the SIMPLE-ARRAY type and its subtypes needs
clarification of its relationship to adjustability.
1. ADJUSTABLE-ARRAY-P is true of all arrays created with a true
:ADJUSTABLE option to MAKE-ARRAY. Whether ADJUSTABLE-ARRAY-P is
true of some other arrays is unspecified.
2. If MAKE-ARRAY is called with the :ADJUSTABLE, :FILL-POINTER,
and :DISPLACED-TO arguments each either unspecified or false, the
resulting array is a simple array. (This just repeats what CLtL
says on page 289, it's here to aid in understanding the next point.)
3. If MAKE-ARRAY is called with one or more of the :ADJUSTABLE,
:FILL-POINTER, or :DISPLACED-TO arguments true, whether the
resulting array is simple is unspecified.
4. ADJUST-ARRAY ``should signal'' an error if ADJUSTABLE-ARRAY-P
of its first argument is false. ADJUST-ARRAY must not signal an
`array not adjustable' error if ADJUSTABLE-ARRAY-P of its first
argument is true.
5. The value of ADJUSTABLE-ARRAY-P on a simple array is unspecified.
Note: ``should signal'' is taken from the new error terminology.
It means that in ``safe code'' (code compiled with highest safety)
an error must be signalled, but that in unsafe code (code not compiled
with highest safety), an error might or might not be signalled.
Clarifications and Logical Consequences:
a. Whether an array can be both simple and adjustable is unspecified.
b. There is no specified way to create an array for which ADJUSTABLE-ARRAY-P
definitely returns NIL.
c. There is no specified way to create an array that is non-simple.
d. This legitimizes ADJUSTABLE-ARRAY-P as an appropriate predicate to
determine whether ADJUST-ARRAY will reliably succeed.
e. If ADJUST-ARRAY is invoked on an array that was created without
supplying :ADJUSTABLE true, an `array not adjustable' error
``should be signalled'' unless ADJUSTABLE-ARRAY-P returns true on
that array (in which case it must not signal an `array not adjustable'
f. There is no change to the meaning of the type SIMPLE-ARRAY, only
a clarification that a conforming program cannot assume that any
array is not simple.
This effectively makes the status quo explicit. This preserves the
raison d'etre of simple arrays, which is to provide a portable interface
to implementation-dependent specialized arrays that trade decreased
functionality for faster access.
A proposed alternative was to specify a way to create an array that is
guaranteed not to be simple. This would have required large changes
to some implementations and would be of little benefit to users.
Users need to know that certain arrays are simple, so they can put in
declarations and get higher performance, but users have no need to be
able to create arrays that are definitely non-simple (for lower
performance) or definitely non-adjustable (to cause errors).
1. The following program is conforming. It is unspecified which branch
of the IF it follows.
(defun double (a)
(if (adjustable-array-p a)
(adjust-array a (* (length a) 2))
(let ((new (make-array (* (length a) 2))))
(replace new a :end1 (length a))
(double (make-array 30))
2. The following program is conforming. In no implementation is the
type declaration violated.
(let ((a (make-array 100)))
(declare (simple-array a))
3. The following program is non-conforming. The consequences of this
program are undefined because the type declaration is violated in some
(let ((a (make-array 100 :adjustable t)))
(declare (simple-array a))
Probably everyone is compatible with this proposal.
Symbolics Genera makes :ADJUSTABLE NIL arrays adjustable in most cases,
and ignores adjustability in deciding whether an array is simple,
and is compatible with this proposal.
Lucid, IIM, and Symbolics Cloe make :ADJUSTABLE NIL arrays non-adjustable
in all cases, and make all arrays non-simple unless the Common Lisp
language requires them to be simple, and are compatible with this proposal.
Cost to Implementors:
It's in principle possible that some implementation would have to change,
but in practice there are no known implementations that would have to change.
Cost to Users:
None. This is a fully compatible change from the user's standpoint.
Users would know what to expect.
Users who expect adjusting arrays created with :ADJUSTABLE NIL to signal
an error would not get the desired error checking.
Most people believe the status quo is unaesthetic. Having an aspect of
the language explicitly unspecified is more aesthetic than having it
implicitly unspecified on account of vague or inconsistent documentation.
Pitman, Moon, Gabriel, and Steele support this amended proposal.
MACSYMA ran into portability problems due to the status quo.
If the issue had been documented, that would have helped.
Encouraging implementations that are able to at least make
(MAKE-ARRAY ... :ADJUSTABLE NIL) create non-adjustable arrays
where possible would help, too.
We considered proposals to incompatibly change this primitive in a
variety of ways, but the community was very split with strong proponents
and opponents of each alternate proposal.
The overriding concern driving this proposal is that Symbolics
has asserted that most of the other really interesting proposals would
likely involve a sizable cost to implementors (and their installed bases)
to implement what were judged by some as gratuitous changes from the
Pitman wishes some of the other proposals were economically feasible to
pursue but reluctantly agrees that maintaining (and clearly documenting)
the status quo is probably the most reasonable avenue left to us.