@system blocks and safer @trusted (ST) functions

ag0aep6g anonymous at example.com
Mon Jul 26 00:37:36 UTC 2021

On Monday, 26 July 2021 at 00:08:51 UTC, jfondren wrote:
> On Sunday, 25 July 2021 at 17:47:40 UTC, Paul Backus wrote:
>> ```d
>> module example;
>> size_t favoriteNumber() @safe { return 42; }
>> int favoriteElement(ref int[50] array) @trusted
>> {
>>     // This is memory safe because we know favoriteNumber 
>> returns 42
>>     @system {
>>         return array.ptr[favoriteNumber()];
>>     }
>> }
>> ```
> favoriteElement(), all on its own, has an unchecked type error: 
> array is indexed by the int return value of favoriteNumber(), 
> but int has a range outside of the 0..49 type of array's 
> indices.
> In Ada, array's index type would be specified in the code and 
> you'd have to either perform a checked type conversion to use 
> favoriteNumber() there, or you'd have to change 
> favoriteNumber() to return the index type rather than an int.
> This kind of precision with types isn't so pleasant in D but 
> the class of error is the same and it's something a reviewer 
> could spot when initially checking this code in.

What if favoriteNumber originally returns a ubyte, and 
favoriteElement takes an int[256]?

ubyte favoriteNumber() @safe { return 42; }
int favoriteElement(ref int[256] array) @trusted
     return array.ptr[favoriteNumber()];

To your reviewer, there's nothing wrong with favoriteElement, 

But later someone might change the return type of favoriteNumber 
to size_t and let it return 300. Badaboom: undefined behavior 
after touching @safe code. As far as I can tell, there's no way 
to truly make it impossible. Maybe disallowing calls to @safe 
functions from @trusted and @system code would do the trick, but 
that's impractical.

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