On Wed, Sep 21, 2016 at 11:37 PM, Robert Goldman <rpgold...@sift.net> wrote: > I was pretty surprised to read this in the latest draft of operation.lisp: > > ;; A memoizing way of creating instances of operation. > ;; All operations MUST created through this function. > (defun make-operation (operation-class &rest initargs) > "This function creates and memoizes an instance of OPERATION-CLASS...." > > This was pretty surprising to me, and is a change to the contract we > make with programmers. I have certainly written a lot of code that calls > MAKE-INSTANCE on operation classes. > > Are you requiring this because you want to rely on EQ-testing? Or....? > > If we want to require the use of MAKE-OPERATION, and rely on the > operations being interned, we should do something to make it more > apparent, and not have things quietly do something wrong, if this > assumption is violated. > > E.g., we could have MAKE-OPERATION do something detectable before > invoking MAKE-INSTANCE on an operation type (e.g., it could pass > :make-operation t to MAKE-INSTANCE with the other initargs). Then if > MAKE-INSTANCE is called on an operation class *without* the magical > marker from MAKE-OPERATION, we catch it (in a :BEFORE method?) and we > throw an error, and indicate the need to call MAKE-OPERATION. > > Reasonable-p? > A-ha! You're touching one of the least understood part of ASDF internals -- as witnessed by my recent interaction with Daniel Kochmanski on gitlab !13 & !16.
Summary: it's a huge can of worms, and doing the Right Thing™ while preserving operation initargs is both very hard and not backward-compatible, and ultimately useless to existing use cases. A bit of context: ASDF, since the very beginning, stores action timestamps in hash-tables EQL-indexed by the operation class _name_ (i.e. a symbol), stored in the slot operation-times of each component. In particular means that as far as ASDF goes about deciding that an operation has already been done and its outputs can be reused, all operations of the same class are considered the same. If there are material differences in the semantics of operations depending on their initarg, you lose: ASDF will make the computation only once, cache and reuse the wrong result. At the same time, ASDF 1 had a weird mechanism whereby operations inherit any initarg from the operation used to compute dependencies from, resulting in an explosion of operation objects, with the initargs of the parent, all the way to the operation instance passed by OPERATE to TRAVERSE. The initial intention was probably for these initargs to carry semantic information for in actions keyed by these operations. But as we saw above, ASDF can't actually discriminate between objects of the same class. Thus the passing around of operation initargs was costly yet not functional, for there were only ever two users, both misguided: swank and asdf-ecl. * Swank.asd was using operation-forced to determine whether to actuall reload swank; operation-forced is computed from the force flag initially passed to OPERATE; this is very wrong, and it should always consider that operation-forced is T (hence one of my proposed cleanups to both swank and asdf). * asdf-ecl was a heroic kluge from the ASDF 1 day to build static or dymamic libraries or standalone executables, and was using operation-original-initargs to pass around some C compiler flags to the final action that links the program or library. All of asdf-ecl is completely misdesigned if the goal is fix ASDF to properly handle bundles: the correct design is what we now have in ASDF 3, where any flags pertaining to a specific program are stored in the component for that program, of class program-system. But asdf-ecl wasn't meant to fix ASDF; it was meant to work despite a completely broken ASDF 1, that no one had hopes to ever see un-broken. It cut many corners, and passing information through the existing operation initargs rather than touch the ASDF system class hierarchy with a ten foot pole was probably a clever choice at the time. It just is completely wrong thing in the context of ASDF 3. Note that it is not enough to "simply" use objects in an EQUAL hash-table rather than their class name in a EQL hash-table: CLOS objects are stateful and are only EQUAL if they are EQ; therefore every time you create a new object, whether in OPERATE or traversing the results of COMPONENT-DEPENDS-ON, you'd get new objects that are never EQUAL to any other object, and you never ever find anything in your hash-tables. One solution would be to add a normalization protocol, so that any two operations built with the same initargs *up to some normalization* would have the same object. Then you could key the hash-tables with objects. That's what I conceived MAKE-OPERATION for. You could even survive the fact that so much user code at large calls MAKE-INSTANCE on operations (as advertised by the ASDF 1 documentation itself): each operation would have a slot to contain the normalized operation, whether lazily set by the accessor or eagerly set by some shared-initialize method. And you'd use this slot as hash-table key. Equivalently, you could have some initarg normalization return a list of values comparable with EQUAL, that could be used as keys in an EQUAL hash-table. Unhappily, this solution was not compatible with legacy user code: now you'd have to convince everyone to define their normalization functions whenever they use initargs in operations; and you'd have to teach them how to do this normalization correctly, despite its many subtle constraints that are especially hard to fulfill in an incremental way that allows extensions to peacefully coexist. What more, since most people are using the existing LOAD-OP and COMPILE-OP with their many extensions, you'd still need to put component-specific information in COMPONENT objects, and LOAD-OP and COMPILE-OP would have to use whatever default normalization method is defined by ASDF itself, that can't possibly know what extensions would like to put in those objects and how to normalize it. Finally, if you somehow want to preserve flags like :force for backward compatibility with swank, you find out that including the flag in the normalized key prevents sharing of the timestamp cache between forced and non-forced which defeats the purpose of the cache, whereas excluding it leads to the same explosion in operation objects that you wanted to avoid, and/or you then need two kinds of normalization with subtle invariants that all users must maintain (e.g. the normalized key for the inner normalization must be a suffix of the normalized key for the outer normalization). Overall, a big losing battle that I didn't want to fight, even less so as my repeated requests to get swank fixed have been met with contempt for several years (NB: my latest !23 contains a workaround that makes operation-forced always return T, fixing swank.asd *despite* its maintainers, since we can't get its maintainers to fix it). At some point, I really wanted to make rich operations with non-trivial initargs happen. I saw it as enabling ASDF to become more expressive than Make with flags, yet correct unlike using Make with flags. But then, I had to fight so many people on so many fronts to get other much tamer semantic changes accepted during the transitions from ASDF 1 to ASDF 2 to ASDF 3 that I lost the energy necessary to pursue each and every person who currently uses MAKE-INSTANCE for ASDF operations, and tell them to use MAKE-OPERATION instead. Since the ASDF1 documentation even recommended using MAKE-INSTANCE 'LOAD-OP in various contexts, this would have been a long and protracted battle. And then, there was the need to have everyone write one or two proper normalization functions for their new operation classes. Eventually, I decided that there was a huge downside and little upside to fighting this battle: obviously never had been anyone who actually relied on operation initargs for anything meaningful (since it wouldn't and couldn't have worked), except asdf-ecl using it as a dirty side-channel to pass information to just one action. The expensive-to-achieve new model would therefore have been to achieve a feature no one had ever needed or requested before, to completely fix a bug only I was aware of. In conclusion, the comments in that file are the correct future-proof recommendation for those who want to write good code that works best with how ASDF is today and will still work whichever way ASDF evolves in the future. This should include at least all ASDF maintainers, and maintainers of serious ASDF extensions. At this point, I'm not fighting to have people outside ASDF follow this best practice, though. I've given up fighting. I've given up on passing meaningful initargs to operation. People have been doing without for over 14 years now. Maybe we should just make that official: there won't be any meaningful instance-allocated slots for operations, ever. I should probably put that in the manual somewhere (or will you?) —♯ƒ • François-René ÐVB Rideau •Reflection&Cybernethics• http://fare.tunes.org Who is a true communist? He who faithfully reads the works of Marx and Lenin. Who is a true anti-communist? He who actually understands them!