Version 1.2 of ai12s/ai12-0113-1.txt

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!standard 6.1.1(39/3)          14-05-15 AI05-0113-1/01
!standard 7.3.2(23/3)
!class binding interpretation 14-05-15
!status work item 14-05-15
!status received 14-04-25
!priority Medium
!difficulty Hard
!qualifier Omission
!subject Class-wide preconditions and statically bound calls
!summary
Class-wide preconditions, postconditions, and type invariants are processed using the actual types for the parameters of type T (not always using T'Class). In particular, for a statically bound call, the calls within the Pre'Class expression are statically bound.
!question
6.1.1(7.3) says that, a parameter having type T is interpreted as having type T'Class. That interpretation means that any call to a primitive operation of T is a dispatching call. Effectively, the parameter has an implicit conversion to T'Class.
For a statically bound call when the tag of the parameter identifies a different type than its nominal type, this means that a different body would be executed than would be executed for the equivalent Pre. That means that Pre'Class is not quite equivalent to a set of identical Pre aspects with an additional guarentee for future overridden subprograms. But that was the intent: that Pre'Class be LSP-safe but otherwise be equivalent to putting the same Pre on every related subprogram.
The implicit redispatching implied by 6.1.1(7/3) makes static analysis harder, as a tool cannot plug in the body of a subprogram called from Pre'Class even if the tool knows the contents of that body, because the call might dispatch to some other body.
Should this be corrected somehow? (Yes.)
!recommendation
(See Summary.)
!wording
Add after 6.1.1(39/3): [Note: I'm not sure the best place to put this.]
Evaluations of class-wide preconditions and postconditions takes place using the actual nominal types for the parameters of type T and of access-to-T. In particular, these parameters are not converted to type T'Class or access-to-T'Class as the resolution of the expression might imply.
AARM Ramification: This means that calls within the class-wide precondition are statically bound for a statically bound call. Calls within the class-wide precondition are not redispatching for statically bound calls; they are dispatching for dispatching calls.
AARM Implementation Note: This might take care if the class-wide precondition check is made at the call site. For class-wide precondition and postcondition checks made within the body of a subprogram, this means that the calls are statically bound to the type of that subprogram. (A dispatching call will execute the correct body for that case.)
** TBD - some similar rule is needed for Type_Invariants. I'll wait to find out if the above will fly before going further.
!discussion
Consider two nearly identical hierarchies of types. First:
package P11 is type Root is abstract tagged private;
function Is_Valid (P : in Root) return Boolean;
procedure Proc (P : in Root) with Pre => Is_Valid(P);
procedure Proc2 (P : in Root); private ... end P11;
with P11; package P12 is type Child is new P11.Root with private;
overriding function Is_Valid (P : in Child) return Boolean;
overriding procedure Proc (P : in Child) with Pre => Is_Valid(P);
-- Proc2 inherited. private ... end P12;
with P12; package P13 is type GrandChild is new P11.Child with private;
overriding function Is_Valid (P : in Grandchild) return Boolean;
overriding procedure Proc (P : in Grandchild) with Pre => Is_Valid(P);
-- Proc2 inherited. private ... end P13;
and the second hierarchy is:
package P21 is type Root is abstract tagged private;
function Is_Valid (P : in Root) return Boolean;
procedure Proc (P : in Root) with Pre'Class => Is_Valid(P);
procedure Proc2 (P : in Root); private ... end P21;
with P21; package P22 is type Child is new P21.Root with private;
overriding function Is_Valid (P : in Child) return Boolean;
overriding procedure Proc (P : in Child);
-- Proc2 inherited. private ... end P22;
with P22; package P23 is type GrandChild is new P21.Child with private;
overriding function Is_Valid (P : in Grandchild) return Boolean;
overriding procedure Proc (P : in Grandchild);
-- Proc2 inherited. private ... end P23;
The only difference between these hierarchies is that the first uses a specific Pre on each declaration of Proc, while the second uses a class-wide Pre on the first declaration of Proc and allows it to be inherited on the others.
Our intent is that these behave identically at runtime, with the only difference being that there is an additional guarantee that a new descendant of P21.Root will also have the Pre'Class expression (that has to be manually added in the other hierarchy).
The additional guarantee allows analyzing dispatching calls without knowing the exact body that they will reach, as we know that all bodies will have the precondition Pre'Class. Such analysis can only be done for the P11 hierarchy via full program analysis.
!ASIS
No ASIS effect.
!ACATS test
An ACATS C-Test ought to ensure that no redispatching occurs in statically bound calls.
!appendix

From: Randy Brukardt
Sent: Friday, April 25, 2014  6:43 PM

This is an issue that has been bothering me for a long time. Originally, I
noticed it in thinking about an ARG discussion toward the end of the Ada 2012
work. I didn't want to hold up completion of the standard to fix this, so I kept
it to myself. Since, I think I've mentioned it in conversation periodically, but
I don't think we've ever opened an AI to address it. So let me bore you to
tears^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H explain in detail this issue. (The issue also occurs
for Post'Class and probably for Type_Invariant'Class but I'm not going to
explain those here.)

Consider the two nearly identical hierarchies of types. First:

   package P11 is
       type Root is abstract tagged private;

       function Is_Valid (P : in Root) return Boolean;

       procedure Proc (P : in Root)
           with Pre => Is_Valid(P);

       procedure Proc2 (P : in Root);
   private
       ...
   end P11;

   with P11;
   package P12 is
       type Child is new P11.Root with private;

       overriding
       function Is_Valid (P : in Child) return Boolean;

       overriding
       procedure Proc (P : in Child)
           with Pre => Is_Valid(P);

       -- Proc2 inherited.
   private
       ...
   end P12;

   with P12;
   package P13 is
       type GrandChild is new P11.Child with private;

       overriding
       function Is_Valid (P : in Grandchild) return Boolean;

       overriding
       procedure Proc (P : in Grandchild)
           with Pre => Is_Valid(P);

       -- Proc2 inherited.
   private
       ...
   end P13;

and the second hierarchy is:

   package P21 is
       type Root is abstract tagged private;

       function Is_Valid (P : in Root) return Boolean;

       procedure Proc (P : in Root)
           with Pre'Class => Is_Valid(P);

       procedure Proc2 (P : in Root);
   private
       ...
   end P21;

   with P21;
   package P22 is
       type Child is new P21.Root with private;

       overriding
       function Is_Valid (P : in Child) return Boolean;

       overriding
       procedure Proc (P : in Child);

       -- Proc2 inherited.
   private
       ...
   end P22;

   with P22;
   package P23 is
       type GrandChild is new P21.Child with private;

       overriding
       function Is_Valid (P : in Grandchild) return Boolean;

       overriding
       procedure Proc (P : in Grandchild);

       -- Proc2 inherited.
   private
       ...
   end P23;

The only difference between these hierarchies is that the first uses a specific
Pre on each declaration of Proc, while the second uses a class-wide Pre on the
first declaration of Proc and allows it to be inherited on the others.

Note that while the expression appears to be the same for P11.Proc'Pre and
P21.Proc'Pre'Class, there is a difference that stems from 6.1.1(7/3). That says
that in Pre'Class, a parameter (P in this case) having type T (Root in this
case) is interpreted as having type T'Class (Root'Class). That interpretation
means that any call to a primitive operation of T (in this case, the call to
Is_Valid) is a dispatching call. Effectively, the parameter P is has an implicit
conversion to type Root'Class, so the expression is effectively
Is_Valid(Root'Class(P)).

Now, my understanding of the intent of this feature is that Pre'Class works just
like specifying the Pre'Class expression as the Pre of each of the corresponding
subprograms for each descendant type. The effect is that the P11 hierarchy and
the P21 hierarchy act the same. But Pre'Class also provides a guarantee that any
future descendants will also have that precondition; the P11 has no such
guarantee.

Consider the effect on a dispatching call to Proc. For the P11 hierarchy, the
Pre expression will be evaluated after dispatching, appropriately for the actual
body dispatched to. But since there is no guarantee that these are the same, we
know nothing useful about the precondition at the call site of the dispatching
call. (Even if they are all the same, as in this example, a future extension
could change that, so making any assumptions is dangerous absent full program
analysis.) OTOH, in the case of Pre'Class, we know that any possible body will
have the Pre'Class applied, so we know at least that much of the precondition at
the call site. One can confidently use that knowledge in program analysis (be it
manual or via a program). To get this additional knowledge and confidence is the
point of Pre'Class.

Note that for a dispatching call, the effect is identical for the P11 and the
P21 hierarchies. If we have an object Obj of type Root'Class with a tag of type
T, the call Proc(Obj) in the P11 hierarchy will dispatch to the body for T,
which will evaluate the Pre expression for T: (Note: I'm prefixing operations
with "T'" to describe operations of the specific type T.)

   Proc(Obj) ==> T'Proc(Obj) ==> T'Pre(Obj) then T'Proc'Body(Obj) ==>
       T'Is_Valid(Obj) then T'Proc'Body(Obj)

For the hierarchy P21 we get (remembering the implicit conversion to
T'Class) in Pre'Class and evaluating Pre'Class at the call site):
   Proc(Obj) ==> T'Pre'Class(Obj) then T'Proc(Obj) ==>
     Is_Valid(Root'Class(Obj)) then T'Proc'Body(Obj) ==>
       T'Is_Valid(Obj) then T'Proc'Body(Obj)
Note that the effect is ultimately the same either way, in large part because
all of the dispatching operations dispatch on the same tag.

However, that's not true for a statically bound call. For instance, imagine that
within the body of P11.Proc2 and P21.Proc2, we have the call Proc(P). This is a
statically bound call for type Root. Using the same notation as above, the call
in P11.Proc2 expands to:

   Proc(P) ==> Root'Proc(P) ==> Root'Pre(P) then Root'Proc'Body(P) ==>
       Root'Is_Valid(P) then Root'Proc'Body(P)

The call in P21.Proc2 expands to:
   Proc(P) ==> Root'Pre'Class(P) then Root'Proc(P) ==>
       Is_Valid(Root'Class(P)) then Root'Proc'Body(Obj)

Note that here we're redispatching to the tag of P, so we can't say which body
is called at runtime. This of course has no negative effect if the tag is
actually that of Root (but since Root is abstract here, that's not possible).
But if the tag is something else (which is likely, as Proc2 is inherited for the
descendant types - the tag would never be Root in any of those inherited
bodies), we're going to call a different body of Is_Valid.

That means that our initial intent of making these hierarchies act identically
is not met for a statically bound call. Moreover, it means that using Pre'Class
damages our ability to statically analyze a statically bound call when it
enhances our ability to statically analyze a dispatching call -- a trade-off
that we don't want to be making. (Imagine, for instance, that the bodies of all
of the Is_Valid functions are expression functions. In that case, a static
analyzer would know the exact details of the precondition for the P11 hierarchy,
but know only that some Is_Valid is called for the P21 hierarchy.)

I think it is pretty clear that we don't want this to happen. And the problem is
pretty clearly the implicit re-dispatch in the Pre'Class expression.  We need to
eliminate that (while it would still be possible to explicitly introduce
re-dispatch into Pre and Pre'Class if that is desired, it certainly should not
be the default behavior).

Without the implicit redispatch, these two hierarchies are completely identical
(which also shows that such a change is implementable - since we all agree that
P11 is implementable). And the only difference is the guarantee that future
descendants will also have the Pre'Class expression (which allows more analysis
on dispatching calls without making assumptions about the future or having to
rely solely on full-program analysis).

Lastly, I want to look at how we might accomplish eliminating the implicit
redispatch.

The first possibility is to just say that it isn't there in the first place.
That is, 6.1.1(7/3) is just a name resolution rule, it does not have the effect
that it appears to have on the dynamic semantics. We could probably even do that
with a To Be Honest note. However, in that case, I'm not sure what the need is
to even specify the type to be T'Class. I presume we want the dynamically tagged
vs. statically tagged rules to apply at compile-time, and so on. So I think this
would be weird.

An alternative would be to craft a rule that says that Pre'Class expressions
bind just like the call that they are a part of (static binding if the call is
statically bound, dispatching if the call is dispatching, and so forth). The
problem here is to ensure that we don't affect calls that aren't primitive on
the right type.

But perhaps the best solution is to combine these and add a rule to say that the
type of the name resolution is merely a placeholder and that the expression is
evaluated for a particular call using the actual types of the parameters. The
name resolution provides identification of the subprograms involved, but how
those subprograms are called dynamically depends on the actual types.

I'm not quite sure how to word any of these ideas, so I think I'll stop here.
I'm sure we can figure this out in Paris over a glass (tumbler??) of Beaujolias.
:-)

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