This is an unofficial snapshot of the ISO/IEC JTC1 SC22 WG21 Core Issues List revision 112e. See for the official list.


430. Ordering of expression evaluation in initializer list

Section: 9.4.2  [dcl.init.aggr]     Status: CD1     Submitter: Nathan Sidwell     Date: 23 July 2003

[Voted into the WP at the April, 2007 meeting as part of paper J16/07-0099 = WG21 N2239.]

A recent GCC bug report ( asks about the validity of

  int count = 23;
  int foo[] = { count++, count++, count++ };
is this undefined or unspecified or something else? I can find nothing in 9.4.2 [dcl.init.aggr] that indicates whether the components of an initializer-list are evaluated in order or not, or whether they have sequence points between them.

6.7.8/23 of the C99 std has this to say

The order in which any side effects occur among the initialization list expressions is unspecified.
I think similar wording is needed in 9.4.2 [dcl.init.aggr]

Steve Adamczyk: I believe the standard is clear that each initializer expression in the above is a full-expression (6.9.1 [intro.execution]/12-13; see also issue 392) and therefore there is a sequence point after each expression (6.9.1 [intro.execution]/16). I agree that the standard does not seem to dictate the order in which the expressions are evaluated, and perhaps it should. Does anyone know of a compiler that would not evaluate the expressions left to right?

Mike Simons: Actually there is one, that does not do left to right: gcc/C++. None of the post increment operations take effect until after the statement finishes. So in the sample code gcc stores 23 into all positions in the array. The commercial vendor C++ compilers for AIX, Solaris, Tru64, HPUX (parisc and ia64), and Windows, all do sequence points at each ',' in the initializer list.