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From "ocs@ocs" <>
Subject Re: suggestion: ImplicitSafeNavigation annotation
Date Tue, 14 Aug 2018 22:14:14 GMT

> On 14 Aug 2018, at 11:36 PM, mg <> wrote:
> I am wondering: In what case does what you are using/suggesting differ significantly
from simply catching a NPE that a specific code block throws and letting said block evaluate
to null in that case:
> def eval(bool nullSafeQ, Closure cls) {
>   try {
>     return cls()
>   }
>   catch(NullPointerException e) {
>     if(nullSafeQ) {
>       return null
>     }
>     throw e
>   }
> }

Conceptually, not in the slightest.

In practice, there's a world of difference.

For one, it would be terrible far as the code cleanness, fragility and readability are concerned
— even worse than those ubiquitous question marks:

=== the code should look, say, like this ===
@ImplicitSafeNavigation def foo(bar) {
  def x=baz(
  x.allResults {
    def y=baz(it)
    if (y>1) y+bax(y-1)
    else y–bax(0)
=== the eval-based equivalent would probably look somewhat like this ===
def foo(bar) {
  def x=eval(true){baz(eval(true){})?:bax(}
    x.allResults {
      def y=eval(true){baz(it)}
      if (y>1) eval(true){y+bax(y-1)}
      else eval(true){y–bax(0)}

and quite frankly I am not even sure whether the usage of eval above is right and whether
I did not forget to use it somewhere where it should have been. It would be ways easier with
those question marks.

Also, with the eval block, there might be a bit of a problem with the type information: I
regret to say I do not know whether we can in Groovy declare a method with a block argument
in such a way that the return type of the function is automatically recognised by the compiler
as the same type as the block return value? (Definitely I don't know how to do that myself;
Cédric or Jochen might, though ;))

Aside of that, I wonder about the efficiency; although premature optimisation definitely is
a bitch, still an exception harness is not cheap if an exception is caught, I understand.

> (It feels a bit like what you wants is tri-logic/SQL type NULL support in Groovy, not
treating Java/Groovy null differently...)

In fact what I want is a bit like the Objective-C simple but very efficient and extremely
practical nil behaviour, to which I am used to and which suits me immensely.

Agreed, the Java world takes a different approach (without even the safe navigation where
it originated!); I have tried to embrace that approach a couple of times, and always I have
found it seriously lacking.

I do not argue that the null-propagating behaviour is always better; on the other hand, I
do argue that sometimes and for some people it definitely is better, and that Groovy should
support those times and people just as well as it supports the NPE-based approach of Java.

Thanks and all the best,

> -------- Ursprüngliche Nachricht --------
> Von: "ocs@ocs" <>
> Datum: 14.08.18 17:46 (GMT+00:00)
> An:
> Betreff: Re: suggestion: ImplicitSafeNavigation annotation
> Jochen,
>> On 14 Aug 2018, at 6:25 PM, Jochen Theodorou < <>>
>> Am 14.08.2018 um 15:23 schrieb ocs@ocs:
>>> H2,
>>>> However, “a+b” should work as one would expect
>>> Absolutely. Me, I very definitely expect that if a happens to be null, the result
is null too. (With b null it depends on the details of implementation.)
>> the counter example is null plus String though
> Not for me. In my world, if I am adding a string to a non-existent object, I very much
do expect the result is still a non-existent object. Precisely the same as if I has been trying
to turn it to lowercase or to count its character or anything.
> Whilst I definitely do not suggest forcing this POV to others, to me, it seems perfectly
reasonable and 100 per cent intuitive.
> Besides, it actually (and expectably) does work so, if I use the method-syntax to be
able to use safe navigation:
> ===
> 254 /tmp> <q.groovy 
> String s=null
> println "Should be null: ${s?.plus('foo')}"
> 255 /tmp> /usr/local/groovy-2.4.15/bin/groovy q
> WARNING: An illegal reflective access operation has occurred
> ... ...
> Should be null: null
> 256 /tmp> 
> ===
> which is perfectly right. Similarly, a hypothetical “null?+'foo'” or “@ImplicitSafeNavigation
... null+foo” should return null as well, to keep consistent.
> (Incidentally, do you — or anyone else — happen to know how to get rid of those pesky
> Thanks and all the best,
> OC

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