I would like to suggest two modules related proposals that I think SG15 should look at.
- Compiler enforced mapping between module names and module interface file (resource) name.
Currently, modules interfaces can be declared in any file - which makes dependency scanning more tedious than it needs to be and have performance implications
(The build system needs to open all files to gather a list of modules) - notably when the build system tries to start building while the dependency graph isn't yet complete.
Tools ( ide, code servers, indexers, refactoring) may also greatly benefit from an easier way to locate the source file which declares a module.
The specifics of the mapping are open to bikeshedding. However, I think we would have better luck sticking to something simple like <module identifier> <=> <file name>.<extension>
(The standardese would mention resource identifier rather than filename)
- A standing document giving guidelines for modules naming.
The goal is to take everything the community had to learn the hard way about header naming over the past 30 years and apply it to modules by providing a set of guidelines
that could be partially enforced by build system vendors.
Encouraging consistency and uniqueness of module identifiers across the industry is I think a necessary step towards sane package management.
Note that the standard requires uniqueness of modules identifiers within (the standard definition of) a program but says little about a way to ensure this uniqueness.
Here is a rough draft of what I think would be good guidelines, partially inspired by what is done by other languages facing similar issues.
Prefix module names with an entity and/or a project name to prevent modules from different companies, entities
and projects of declaring the same module names.
Exported top-level namespaces should have a name identic to the project name used as part of the name of the
module(s) from which it is exported.
Do not export multiple top-level namespaces
Do not export entities in the global namespace outside of the global module fragment.
Organize modules hierarchically. For
example, if both modules
as part of the public API of
Avoid common names such as
module name prefix and top-level namespace names.
Use lower-case module names
Do not use characters outside of the basic source character set in module name identifiers.
My hope is that these 2 proposals (whose impact on the standard is minimal) would make it easier for current tooling to deal with modules
while making possible for example to design dependency managers and build systems able to work at the module level.
I'd love to gather feedback and opinions before going further in that direction.
PS: For a bit of background, I talked about these issues there