> On Oct 18, 2016, at 12:17 PM, Guoye Zhang via swift-evolution
> <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> I propose to ban the top value in Int/UInt which is 0xFFFF... in hex. Int
> family would lose its smallest value, and UInt family would lose its largest
> value. Top value is reserved for nil in optionals. An additional benefit is
> that negating an Int would never crash.
There are two ways to do this (using Int8 for example)
1. 0xFF reserved to mean nil. As this normally means -1, all negative numbers
now use complements rather than two’s complement form. This breaks a lot of
2. 0x80 reserved to mean nil. This is normally -128. Overflow would have to be
modified in order to support this (otherwise, 127 + 1 == nil). bit padding no
longer works (0x80 would expand to 0xFF80 for a Int16 with bit padding, not
> Interacting with C/Obj-C is a major concern, but since we are already
> importing some of the unsigned integers as Int which loses half the values,
> one value is not such big a drawback. Alternatively, we could leave current
> behavior as CInt/CUInt. Converting them to the new Int?/UInt? doesn't
> generate any instructions since the invalid value already represents nil.
As the appropriate integer minimum value may already be in use in C or
Objective C code, I believe you would need to define a new integer types to
support this sort of constrained type.
Where I would see something like this be most appropriate would be for
supporting a “BigNumber” type in the language, preferably as the default
integer type. Ruby does this for example with Fixnum/Bignum - all values in
Ruby are actually tagged pointers (where the lower bits are set to cause
invalid alignment of a pointer in order to indicate it is a special case
immediate value). So if the lowest bit is set, the value is a FixNum integer
with a lower max/higher min than a traditional integer. On overflow, the value
is promoted to be a BigNum, which is a reference to an arbitrary sized integer
on the heap.
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