Title
Misleading note regarding use of auto for disambiguation
Status
cd1
Section
9.2.3 [dcl.fct.spec]
Submitter
Herb Sutter

Created on 2003-01-03.00:00:00 last changed 161 months ago

Messages

Date: 2004-03-15.00:00:00

[Voted into WP at March 2004 meeting.]

Date: 2003-04-15.00:00:00

Proposed resolution (April 2003):

Replace 9.2.2 [dcl.stc] paragraph 2

[Note: hence, the auto specifier is almost always redundant and not often used; one use of auto is to distinguish a declaration-statement from an expression-statement (8.9 [stmt.ambig]) explicitly. --- end note]
with
[Note: hence, the auto specifier is always redundant and not often used. One use of auto is to distinguish a declaration-statement from an expression-statement explicitly rather than relying on the disambiguation rules (8.9 [stmt.ambig]), which may aid readers. --- end note]

Date: 2004-09-10.00:00:00

BTW, I noticed that the following note in 9.2.2 [dcl.stc] paragraph 2 doesn't seem to have made it onto the issues list or into the TR:

[Note: hence, the auto specifier is almost always redundant and not often used; one use of auto is to distinguish a declaration-statement from an expression-statement (stmt.ambig) explicitly. --- end note]

I thought that this was well known to be incorrect, because using auto does not disambiguate this. Writing:

  auto int f();
is still a declaration of a function f, just now with an error since the function's return type may not use an auto storage class specifier. I suppose an error is an improvement over a silent ambiguity going the wrong way, but it's still not a solution for the user who wants to express the other in a compilable way.

Proposed resolution: Replace that note with the following note:

[Note: hence, the auto specifier is always redundant and not often used. --- end note]

John Spicer: I support the proposed change, but I think the disambiguation case is not the one that you describe. An example of the supposed disambiguation is:

  int i;
  int j;
  int main()
  {
    int(i);  // declares i, not reference to ::i
    auto int(j);  // declares j, not reference to ::j
  }

cfront would take "int(i)" as a cast of ::i, so the auto would force what it would otherwise treat as a statement to be considered a declaration (cfront 3.0 warned that this would change in the future).

In a conforming compiler the auto is always redundant (as you say) because anything that could be considered a valid declaration should be treated as one.

History
Date User Action Args
2008-10-05 00:00:00adminsetstatus: wp -> cd1
2004-04-09 00:00:00adminsetmessages: + msg1009
2004-04-09 00:00:00adminsetstatus: ready -> wp
2003-11-15 00:00:00adminsetstatus: review -> ready
2003-04-25 00:00:00adminsetmessages: + msg820
2003-04-25 00:00:00adminsetstatus: open -> review
2003-01-03 00:00:00admincreate