I'll just point out that the C++ name for this is "Proxy classes". Maybe, for the sake of reducing confusion, it might be a good idea to adopt that.


On 12/03/18 15:59, Simen Kjærås wrote:
There's been a discussion[0] over in D.learn about a library-only implementation of properties. One of the ideas mentioned there is rvalue types - types that automatically decay into a different type when passed to a function or assigned to a variable. They are useful for property wrappers like this, and when you want to perform a series of operations on something before performing some final step.

An example of the latter is `a ^^ b % c` for BigInts, where the naïve way would be horribly inefficient, and there's a much better way of doing it, which requires more knowledge of the operations involved. If `a ^^ b` returned an rvalue type that either decays to a regular BigInt or acts as the LHS in `tmp % c`, it would have the necessary information and be able to do the right thing.

Another use case is a chain of operations, e.g. fluent initialization:


Where in current D the Done() step needs to be explicit, an rvalue type would automatically call Done when the result is assigned to a variable or passed to a function.

The problem with such a set of types, of course, is that `typeof(functionThatReturnsRvalueType())` will be different from `typeof((){ auto t = functionThatReturnsRvalueType(); return t;}())`, and that bleeds into documentation. It may also be confusing that `return a ^^ b % c;` is much faster than `auto tmp = a ^^ b; return tmp % c;`.

An example of how they would work:

struct ModularExponentiationTemporary {
     BigInt lhs, rhs;

     @rvalue // Or however one would mark it as such.
     alias get this;

     BigInt get() {
         return pow(lhs, rhs);

     BigInt opBinaryRight(string op : "%")(BigInt mod) {
         return modularPow(lhs, rhs, mod);

unittest {
     BigInt b = 4;
     BigInt e = 13
     BigInt m = 497;

     // b ^^ e returns a ModularExponentiationTemporary,
     // and its opBinaryRight() is immediately invoked.
     auto fast = b ^^ e % m;

     assert(is(typeof(fast) == BigInt));
     assert(fast== 445);

     // b ^^ e returns a ModularExponentiationTemporary,
     // and its get() method is immediately invoked.
     auto slowTmp = b ^^ e;
     auto slow = slowTmp % m;

     assert(is(typeof(slowTmp == t) == BigInt));
     assert(is(typeof(slow) == BigInt));
     assert(slow == 445);

Is this an interesting concept? Are there other use cases I haven't covered? Can this be done with existing language features? Are there problems I haven't foreseen?


[0]: https://forum.dlang.org/post/mqveusvzkmkshrzws...@forum.dlang.org

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