Thoughts about deprecation

Timon Gehr timon.gehr at
Sun Feb 12 06:44:14 PST 2012

On 02/12/2012 03:21 AM, Stewart Gordon wrote:
> Deprecation is a nice feature. There doesn't seem to be any doubt about it.
> But it's by no means perfect, compiler bugs aside. I have identified
> these ideals of deprecation:
> (a) Code that compiles without -d compiles and behaves the same with -d.
> (b) Code that compiles without -d compiles and behaves the same if all
> entities declared as deprecated are removed from the code.
> (c) Code that compiles with or without -d compiles and behaves the same
> if all deprecated entities are de-deprecated.
> (d) Code that compiles without -d either compiles and behaves the same,
> or fails to compile at all, if any entities are newly deprecated (i.e.
> does not silently change its behaviour).
> (e) Validity checking through compile-time reflection is always
> consistent with whether the compiler actually accepts the code.
> (OK, so the switch used to enable deprecated entities might vary between
> brands of compiler, but I've used "-d" here for simplicity.)
> But these ideals cannot all be satisfied at once.
> The main reason for this seems to be compile-time reflection. My
> experiment (under DMD 1.071 and 2.057) shows that an IsExpression
> evaluates to false if the compiler would reject it because of
> deprecation. This satisfies ideals (b) and (e), but violates (a), (c)
> and (d).
> If we changed it to evaluate to true even if compiling without -d, then
> it would satisfy (a), (c) and (d), but violate (b) and (e). Moreover,
> when/if we get -di
> what would it do if we have deprecation-dependent behaviour?
> But deprecated entities aren't always treated as though they're not
> there if compiling without -d. For example, deprecated functions take
> part in overload resolution. This is necessary in order to satisfy (a),
> (c) and (d). Though it doesn't seem to make any difference to (b) or (e).
> Maybe DDB is useful at times. The use case that comes to mind is
> suppressing the handling of a deprecated property as part of a
> non-deprecated method. But still, is accidentally programming DDB in
> something that needs to be guarded against? Or do we just accept DDB as
> a natural, unpreventable consequence of reflection?
> I'm not sure whether all ideals would be satisfied in the absence of
> CTR, or if there are other aspects of D that prevent it from being so.
> I suppose the overall point is: Is the current compiler behaviour the
> best that can be done? Which ideals of deprecation do we really need to
> follow, and which can we do without?
> Stewart.

I think (e) is not an ideal of deprecation. If a feature is deprecated, 
then checking whether it compiles should be deprecated too.

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