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Re: [std-proposals] Extend std::type_info with more information

From: Mihail Mihaylov <mihail.mihailov_at_[hidden]>
Date: Mon, 15 Apr 2024 10:45:17 +0300
On Fri, Apr 12, 2024 at 6:16 PM Thiago Macieira via Std-Proposals <
std-proposals_at_[hidden]> wrote:

> Still, we are talking about storing a polymorphic type inside of std::any
> and
> the general rule of thumb is that an object is EITHER polymorphic or
> copyable,
> not both. Storing an uncopyable object inside of std::any sounds just
> wrong. I
> don't think it supports storing immovable types at all, does it? So this
> alone
> removes the majority of the benefit of this operation, because the types
> in
> question cannot be stored inside std::any in the first place.

The base class can be polymorphic, while the derived class can be final and
copyable. Consider a base abstract interface class which has multiple final
copyable implementation classes. The "sender" can store into the `any` an
instance of the copyable derived type and the receiver could extract a base
pointer or base reference to the contained value.

This is very common when we are using non-erased types, so I believe it's
perfectly reasonable to want it with erased types too. And the only reason
Jason had me convinced for a moment that this is not reasonable for
`std::any` specifically, is because he made me believe that `any_cast`
always copies the value, which is not true.

Here's a motivating example to clarify what I mean. I already gave a
similar example earlier in this thread:

class Base
    virtual void doSomething() = 0;

class Derived final : public Base
    void doSomething() final override { cout << "Doing something." << endl;

void foo(Base* b)

void foo(any* a)
    Base* b = any_cast<Base>(a);

    if (b != nullptr)

int main()
    any a = make_any<Derived>();

    foo(any_cast<Derived>(&a)); // Invokes do_something();
    foo(&a); // Does nothing. Would be more consistent to be equivalent to
the previous invocation.

In the Qt world, the class that best resembles std::any is QVariant and it
> does not support storing uncopyable types.
> It does support storing pointers and, if the pointer is to a class derived
> from QObject, then it can perform casting back to QObject and to any other
> class that derives from it after verifying that this cast would be valid.
Please, note that in the example above, we are not storing a pointer, we
are storing a `Derived` value, and `std::any` allows us to extract a
`Derived *` to it. What we want is to be able to extract a `Base *` pointer
to it. Also note that `foo(Base*)` doesn't need to know about `Derived` for
it to be used with a `Derived` instance, and similarly, we would like for
`foo(any *)` to be able to handle an `any` that contains a `Derived`
instance while knowing only about `Base`.

In other words, my argument is that `any_cast<Base>(any *)` should be on
par with `static_cast<Base*>(Derived *)`.

For the record, I don't believe that this justifies changes to `type_info`
and I wouldn't argue in support of such changes.


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Received on 2024-04-15 07:45:31