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From Branko Čibej <>
Subject Re: object-model: Return by value, reference or pointer? (or something else?)
Date Thu, 14 Oct 2010 10:22:44 GMT
 On 13.10.2010 16:10, Hyrum K. Wright wrote:
> On Tue, Oct 12, 2010 at 5:06 PM, Branko Čibej <> wrote:
>>  On 12.10.2010 22:30, Hyrum K. Wright wrote:
>>> On Tue, Oct 12, 2010 at 2:40 PM, Branko Čibej <> wrote:
>>>>  On 12.10.2010 20:35, Hyrum K. Wright wrote:
>>>>> 1) Return everything by value
>>>>>    Pros: simpler memory management, less overhead (?)
>>>>>    Cons: doesn't allow the return of NULL values, need to establish
>>>>> conventions to represent NULL objects (an isNull() method?)
>>>> Meh.
>>>>    inline operator bool() const { return (this->c_struct_pointer != 0);
>>> That works great for our own types, but what about stuff like std::string?
>>> inline std::string getAuthor() const { return std::string(ptr->author); }
>>> doesn't go over so well when ptr->author is NULL.  If returning by
>>> value, we *have* to return a string, but there just isn't any way to
>>> indicate the null string.
>> Good point ... that's a mess. But returning a pointer to an std::string
>> is a bigger one ... eep.
> Another option is a custom SVN::String type which looks / smells /
> acts like a string, but also allows wrapping the NULL value, in a
> manner you suggest above.
>> So typically you'd add a hasAuthor function and throw an exception from
>> getAuthor if there is no author info for a revision. However, in this
>> particular case, returning an empty string is just as good, unless you
>> want to make the fine distinction between a svn:author property with an
>> empty value (is that even allowed?) and no svn:author property on the
>> revision. This is no different than if you had a getProperty(name) and
>> did a lookup in a private map of property name/value pairs.
> I just used getAuthor() as an example, and while I'm not certain as to
> the specifics in that particular case (ed: I see Mike has answered
> this elsethread), I know there are other places where the
> present-but-empty vs. not-present distinction is an important and
> valid one.

All right. Then derive svn::string from std::string, and add a .null()
method. You get to use all the standard string alogorithm
specializations, plus you get what you want.

You can even add a factory class method that is the only way you can
construct an svn::string object for which .null() returns true, so for
any normal use, svn::string and std:: string behave in exactly the same way.

Of course, deriving that template is tricky, given that std::string is
already a template specialization, but since this is a library, it's
worth the trouble of doing it right.

-- Brane

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