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Subject Re: suggestion: ImplicitSafeNavigation annotation
Date Tue, 14 Aug 2018 12:50:19 GMT
Den 2018-08-14 14:25, skrev ocs@ocs:
> H2,
>> On 14 Aug 2018, at 1:38 PM, wrote:
>> IMHO, there is an ever so subtle difference between navigation - using 
>> the . operator explictly or implicitly (as with indexing) - and 
>> arithmetic.
> do please correct me if I am wrong, but I understand in Groovy,
> arithmetic should be just a convenience thin syntactic sugar over
> messages; e.g., “a+b” should be full equivalent to “”, but
> for the syntactic inconvenience:
> To me it seems rather unlucky and inconsistent that although I can
> write “a?.plus(b)”, I can't do precisely the same with its more
> convenient “a+b” equivalent. With other operators it is even more
> important, e.g., “a<<b”, which, in my experience, is used much more
> often as a shorthand for something like “a.append(b)” with generic
> objects a and b than as a numeric shift.

As a matter of personal preference, this is fine with me. If you write 
“a?.plus(b)” you are explicitly going out on a limb, and it is 
explicitly visible what you're doing.

However, “a+b” should work as one would expect. What might one expect? I 
guess that something to vote over, but I propose that at the very least, 
one should not expect unexpected errors or errors that are hard to catch 
or test. It's better to catch null-related errors where they occur than 
somewhere else because an entire expression gets evaluated to null 
instead of throwing an exception.

If you want a shorthand notation for “a?.plus(b)” I'd say “a?+b” was 
more consistent (but I am by no means suggesting it).

>> I am personally perfectly happy for my arithmetic expressions to fail 
>> with any applicable exception if I throw unacceptable values at them.
> As for the (in)convenience of NPE vs null-propagation (or, in other
> words, (un)acceptability of nulls inside expressions), I guess it
> would rather be in the eye of the beholder.
> Do please note though I am not suggesting to remove the possibility to
> rely on NPE which you cherish, nor I am suggesting even changing the
> default behaviour in the slightest; what I would like to see in Groovy
> would be a way to intentionally switch to the non-NPE null-propagating
> behaviour where needed by very explicit using of an appropriate
> annotation. You, of course, would never be forced to use the thing :)

Of course not, but it would be impossible to know by looking at just the 
code how it is going to behave.

Wouldn't this create potential problems when the code finds its way into 
different project by means of dependencies?

> Thanks and all the best,
> OC

Ditto! :-)


>> Den 2018-08-14 13:28, skrev ocs@ocs:
>>> Gentlemen,
>>> some NPE-related problems of today brought me to re-interate one of 
>>> my
>>> older suggestions.
>>> We have the so-called “safe navigation”[*], which in some cases 
>>> allows
>>> a null to be propagated out of an expression instead of throwing a
>>> NPE. At the moment, it can be triggered for a particular
>>> sub-expression (like property/method-call and, as of 3, newly also
>>> indexing) using a question mark (e.g., “foo?.bar()” or “foo?[bar]”).
>>> Do please correct me if I am wrong, but far as I know, there still 
>>> are
>>> expressions which do not allow the “safe mode”, e.g., arithmetic
>>> (“a+b” etc). Furthermore, there are cases when one simply wants a
>>> bigger block of code to contain only null-propagating expressions and
>>> never NPE; in such case, using the question mark syntax is both
>>> inconvenient and error-prone (for it is very easy to forget one of 
>>> the
>>> lot of question marks needed in such a code, and then get an uncaught
>>> unwanted NPE).
>>> For these reasons, I would suggest adding a new annotation, whose 
>>> name
>>> might be e.g., “ImplicitSafeNavigation”; it would simply force a
>>> null-propagation to be implicitly and automatically used for *all*
>>> expressions in the annotated scope, i.e., NPE would never be thrown
>>> for them; for example:
>>> ===
>>> @ImplicitSafeNavigation class Foo {
>>> static foo(a,b,c,d,e) {
>>>*c[d]<<e.bax() // just e.g.; would work with *any*
>>> expression which NPEs today
>>> }
>>> }
>>> assert null ==,null,null,null,null)
>>> ===
>>> I wonder whether this enhancement would be possible to implement in
>>> some forthcoming Groovy release? Myself, I believe it would help
>>> tremendously.
>>> If feasible, then it is for a further discussion whether in the scope
>>> of this annotation
>>> (a) a safe-navigation syntax (“foo?.bar”) should be ignored as 
>>> superfluous;
>>> (b) or, whether in this scope it should reverse the behaviour to
>>> trigger an NPE anyway;
>>> (c) or, whether it should be ignored as (a), and aside of that it
>>> would be worth the effort (and technically possible) to add another
>>> syntax to force NPE over a particular sub-expression (e.g.,
>>> “foo!.bar”).
>>> Thanks and all the best,
>>> OC
>>> [*] The name might not be quite apt, for propagating a null is not
>>> inherently safer than NPEing; those are simply two different
>>> approaches, both of which serve best in different circumstances. A
>>> better name would be something like “null-propagating” or “non-NPE”
>>> mode, I guess. Myself, I don't think we should change the name 
>>> though,
>>> for all are used to it.

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