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3061. What is the return type of compare_3way?

Section: 25.7.11 [alg.3way] Status: Open Submitter: Richard Smith Opened: 2018-02-07 Last modified: 2018-11-13

Priority: 2

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Discussion:

The P0768R1 specification of compare_3way says:

template<class T, class U> constexpr auto compare_3way(const T& a, const U& b);

-1- Effects: Compares two values and produces a result of the strongest applicable comparison category type:

  1. (1.1) — Returns a <=> b if that expression is well-formed.

  2. (1.2) — Otherwise, if the expressions a == b and a < b are each well-formed and convertible to bool, returns strong_ordering::equal when a == b is true, otherwise returns strong_ordering::less when a < b is true, and otherwise returns strong_ordering::greater.

  3. (1.3) — Otherwise, if the expression a == b is well-formed and convertible to bool, returns strong_equality::equal when a == b is true, and otherwise returns strong_equality::nonequal.

  4. (1.4) — Otherwise, the function shall be defined as deleted.

So, it returns strong_ordering::... or strong_equality:: or a <=> b. By the normal core deduction rules, that means it's always ill-formed, because one return type deduction deduces strong_ordering and another deduces strong_equality.

I'm guessing the idea was actually that the above happens as if by four separate overloads / constexpr if / else. But I think you need to actually say that.

[Tomasz suggests proposed wording]

[2018-06-18 after reflector discussion]

Priority set to 2

[2018-11 San Diego Thursday night issue processing]

Spaceship is still in flux; revisit in Kona. Status to Open

Proposed resolution:

This wording is relative to N4713.

  1. Modify 25.4 [algorithm.syn], header <algorithm> synopsis, as indicated:

    // 25.7.11 [alg.3way], three-way comparison algorithms
    template<class T, class U>
    constexpr autosee below compare_3way(const T& a, const U& b);
    
  2. Modify 25.7.11 [alg.3way] as indicated:

    template<class T, class U> constexpr autosee below compare_3way(const T& a, const U& b);
    

    -1- Effects: Compares two values and produces a result of the strongest applicable comparison category type:

    1. (1.1) — Returns a <=> b if that expression is well-formedIf the expression a <=> b is well-formed, returns a value of type decay_t<decltype(a <=> b)> initialized from a <=> b.

    2. (1.2) — Otherwise, if the expressions a == b and a < b are each well-formed and convertible to bool, returns a value of type strong_ordering equal to strong_ordering::equal when a == b is true, otherwise returns strong_ordering::less when a < b is true, and otherwise returns strong_ordering::greater.

    3. (1.3) — Otherwise, if the expression a == b is well-formed and convertible to bool, returns a value of type strong_equality equal to strong_equality::equal when a == b is true, and otherwise returns strong_equality::nonequal.

    4. (1.4) — Otherwise, the return type is void and the function is defined as deleted.