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Can we expect that all C++ source files can have the same suffix?

From: Nicolai Josuttis <nico_at_[hidden]>
Date: Wed, 13 Apr 2022 22:58:13 +0200
What I teach about modules is compelling. Programmers like and want to
use it.
However, they ask how they should organize module files in practice.

So far I cannot recommend a specific suffix (and I might never be able
to do that).
However there is one important question that IMO the standard should answer:
*Do we **/need /**different suffixes?*

I understand that a suffix discussion is only of practical value.
But IMO the standard has to give an answer here (which has nothing to do
with which suffixes are used).

Let me elaborate that in detail:

Not having a standard suffix has interesting consequences.
So far we have header files and translation units.
But once we know what a C++ translation unit is, we can just compile
them all with the same compiler options or commands. Because in practice
we have different suffixes for header and source files, we can set-up
generic rules to compile our code.

This works for any suffix, provided you know the way to tell the
compiler that we have a C++ file here:
(use /Tp with VC++ and -xc++ with gcc and you are done).

Is this still true with modules?
That is: Can we expect that identifying a file as C++ file is enough to
be able to (pre) compile it as C++ file?

Current compilers give different answers (AFAIK):

- *gcc *says the same suffix is possible. There is not special option
for modules.
I can still have my own suffixes and use -xc++ though.

- *VC++* currently requires different suffixes or different command-line
Identifying a file as C++ file is not enough.
For example
  - This is not enough: /Tp mymod.cppm
  - You need: /interface /Tp mymod.cppm

I wonder whether the behavior of VC++ is standard conforming.

I see no place in the C++ standard saying that there has to be different
treatment of C++ source files to make them work.
Or do we require this somewhere?
We do not require different treatment just because we have templates,
namespaces, or exceptions used inside.
Therefore, I would expect that also using modules does not require
special handling.
(This is independent from the question whether different suffixes help
to deal with these files).

If I am right, VC++ is not standard conforming.

In any case it would help a lot to clarify:
Can all C++ source files expect that treating them the same way works fine?

If not, we obviously need different suffixes. But then we should clearly
say so (without necessarily saying which suffix it is).

I hope this questions brings us a bit forward to be able teach the first
*portable *"hello, modules" example.



Nicolai M. Josuttis
+49 (0)531 / 129 88 86
+49 (0)700 / JOSUTTIS
 C++: http://cppstd20.com, http://cppstd17.com, http://cppmove.com,
      http://cppstdlib.com, http://tmplbook.com

Received on 2022-04-13 21:04:48