276. Assignable requirement for container value type overly strict

Section: 26.2 [container.requirements] Status: CD1 Submitter: Peter Dimov Opened: 2000-11-07 Last modified: 2016-02-10

Priority: Not Prioritized

View all other issues in [container.requirements].

View all issues with CD1 status.

Discussion:

23.1/3 states that the objects stored in a container must be Assignable. 26.4.4 [map], paragraph 2, states that map satisfies all requirements for a container, while in the same time defining value_type as pair<const Key, T> - a type that is not Assignable.

It should be noted that there exists a valid and non-contradictory interpretation of the current text. The wording in 23.1/3 avoids mentioning value_type, referring instead to "objects stored in a container." One might argue that map does not store objects of type map::value_type, but of map::mapped_type instead, and that the Assignable requirement applies to map::mapped_type, not map::value_type.

However, this makes map a special case (other containers store objects of type value_type) and the Assignable requirement is needlessly restrictive in general.

For example, the proposed resolution of active library issue 103 is to make set::iterator a constant iterator; this means that no set operations can exploit the fact that the stored objects are Assignable.

This is related to, but slightly broader than, closed issue 140.

Proposed resolution:

23.1/3: Strike the trailing part of the sentence:

, and the additional requirements of Assignable types from 23.1/3

so that it reads:

-3- The type of objects stored in these components must meet the requirements of CopyConstructible types (lib.copyconstructible).

23.1/4: Modify to make clear that this requirement is not for all containers. Change to:

-4- Table 64 defines the Assignable requirement. Some containers require this property of the types to be stored in the container. T is the type used to instantiate the container. t is a value of T, and u is a value of (possibly const) T.

23.1, Table 65: in the first row, change "T is Assignable" to "T is CopyConstructible".

23.2.1/2: Add sentence for Assignable requirement. Change to:

-2- A deque satisfies all of the requirements of a container and of a reversible container (given in tables in lib.container.requirements) and of a sequence, including the optional sequence requirements (lib.sequence.reqmts). In addition to the requirements on the stored object described in 23.1[lib.container.requirements], the stored object must also meet the requirements of Assignable. Descriptions are provided here only for operations on deque that are not described in one of these tables or for operations where there is additional semantic information.

23.2.2/2: Add Assignable requirement to specific methods of list. Change to:

-2- A list satisfies all of the requirements of a container and of a reversible container (given in two tables in lib.container.requirements) and of a sequence, including most of the the optional sequence requirements (lib.sequence.reqmts). The exceptions are the operator[] and at member functions, which are not provided. [Footnote: These member functions are only provided by containers whose iterators are random access iterators. --- end foonote]

list does not require the stored type T to be Assignable unless the following methods are instantiated: [Footnote: Implementors are permitted but not required to take advantage of T's Assignable properties for these methods. -- end foonote]

     list<T,Allocator>& operator=(const list<T,Allocator>&  x );
     template <class InputIterator>
       void assign(InputIterator first, InputIterator last);
     void assign(size_type n, const T& t);

Descriptions are provided here only for operations on list that are not described in one of these tables or for operations where there is additional semantic information.

23.2.4/2: Add sentence for Assignable requirement. Change to:

-2- A vector satisfies all of the requirements of a container and of a reversible container (given in two tables in lib.container.requirements) and of a sequence, including most of the optional sequence requirements (lib.sequence.reqmts). The exceptions are the push_front and pop_front member functions, which are not provided. In addition to the requirements on the stored object described in 23.1[lib.container.requirements], the stored object must also meet the requirements of Assignable. Descriptions are provided here only for operations on vector that are not described in one of these tables or for operations where there is additional semantic information.

Rationale:

list, set, multiset, map, multimap are able to store non-Assignables. However, there is some concern about list<T>: although in general there's no reason for T to be Assignable, some implementations of the member functions operator= and assign do rely on that requirement. The LWG does not want to forbid such implementations.

Note that the type stored in a standard container must still satisfy the requirements of the container's allocator; this rules out, for example, such types as "const int". See issue 274 for more details.

In principle we could also relax the "Assignable" requirement for individual vector member functions, such as push_back. However, the LWG did not see great value in such selective relaxation. Doing so would remove implementors' freedom to implement vector::push_back in terms of vector::insert.