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290. Requirements to for_each and its function object

Section: 23.5.4 [alg.foreach] Status: NAD Submitter: Angelika Langer Opened: 2001-01-03 Last modified: 2016-02-10

Priority: Not Prioritized

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The specification of the for_each algorithm does not have a "Requires" section, which means that there are no restrictions imposed on the function object whatsoever. In essence it means that I can provide any function object with arbitrary side effects and I can still expect a predictable result. In particular I can expect that the function object is applied exactly last - first times, which is promised in the "Complexity" section.

I don't see how any implementation can give such a guarantee without imposing requirements on the function object.

Just as an example: consider a function object that removes elements from the input sequence. In that case, what does the complexity guarantee (applies f exactly last - first times) mean?

One can argue that this is obviously a nonsensical application and a theoretical case, which unfortunately it isn't. I have seen programmers shooting themselves in the foot this way, and they did not understand that there are restrictions even if the description of the algorithm does not say so.

[Lillehammer: This is more general than for_each. We don't want the function object in transform invalidiating iterators either. There should be a note somewhere in clause 17 (17, not 25) saying that user code operating on a range may not invalidate iterators unless otherwise specified. Bill will provide wording.]

[ 2009-07 Frankfurt ]

Moved to NAD.

It was felt that the current description is adequate, and that there are limits to what the standard can reasonably say to prohibit perverse uses of the library.

Proposed resolution: