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lifetime of temporary object from function return & optimization

 
 
pt
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      05-30-2005
Hallo,

i wonder how it is going to be of this code below regarding of the
return of temporary object.

Prototypes:
===========

bool Activation(TCHAR *c);
std::basic_string<TCHAR> GetFile();

Func Call:
==========

Activation((TCHAR *) myObj.GetFile().c_str());


Summary of the Question:
========================
It works fine under EVC4 & MSVC6. However, I dont know if it is
portable to g++
or other compiler.

- Is there any answer to the lifetime of temporary object for
all compilers? Does it also work fine under other compilers?

- In cosidering of effiency of the code. Is there any better solution
to just create a temporary obj like this ?

TCHAR* temp = myObj.GetFile().c_str();
Activation(temp);

- What is the lifetime of the return value from myObj.GetFile().c_str()
before Activation(..) is called?


Thank you very much for any suggestion.

regards,
pattreeya


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Victor Bazarov
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      05-30-2005
pt wrote:
> i wonder how it is going to be of this code below regarding of the
> return of temporary object.
>
> Prototypes:
> ===========
>
> bool Activation(TCHAR *c);
> std::basic_string<TCHAR> GetFile();
>
> Func Call:
> ==========
>
> Activation((TCHAR *) myObj.GetFile().c_str());


This is a VERY BAD IDEA(tm). "c_str()" returns a pointer to a _const_
TCHAR, casting away constness like this is utterly dangerous.

> Summary of the Question:
> ========================
> It works fine under EVC4 & MSVC6.


"Works" is a very subjective statement, isn't it?

> However, I dont know if it is
> portable to g++
> or other compiler.


It looks portable to me, but since I don't know what 'Activation' does
to the pointer passed to it, there is no way to tell if there are any
ill effects (like undefined behaviour).

> - Is there any answer to the lifetime of temporary object for
> all compilers? Does it also work fine under other compilers?


A temporary is destroyed as the last step of evaluating the full
expression during evaluation of which the temporary was created. In
your case, since 'GetFile' returns an object, and that function call
is a sub-expression of an expression used to initialise the argument
of the 'Activation' function call, the temporary should survive until
'Activation' returns.

Compilers are many, some of them implement the Standard requirements
closer to the ideal than others. The lifetime of a temporary is one
of the issues that most compilers implement correctly, AFAICT.

> - In cosidering of effiency of the code. Is there any better solution
> to just create a temporary obj like this ?
>
> TCHAR* temp = myObj.GetFile().c_str();


That should not compile. 'c_str()' returns 'TCHAR const*' and you are
not allowed to convert it to 'TCHAR*' without a const_cast. And I urge
you not to, anyway.

> Activation(temp);


No, this is definitely NOT going to work. 'temp' is a dangling pointer.
The temporary returned by 'GetFile' will be disposed of at the end of
initialising 'temp', which will *immediately* make it invalid.

> - What is the lifetime of the return value from
> myObj.GetFile().c_str() before Activation(..) is called?


'c_str()' does not create a separate temporary to speak of. It does
however, create a pointer to the data in the other temporary, the
'basic_string<TCHAR>' object. How it does that is implemenation-
defined. The pointer remains valid until the next call to a non-const
member function for the same object (destructor is included).

V


 
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Larry I Smith
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      05-30-2005
Victor Bazarov wrote:
> pt wrote:
>> i wonder how it is going to be of this code below regarding of the
>>return of temporary object.
>>


[snip]

>
> V
>
>


Ok, I give up.

What is a "TCHAR"?

Is code using "TCHAR" platform-portable?

Larry
 
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Alan Johnson
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      05-30-2005
Larry I Smith wrote:
> Victor Bazarov wrote:
>
>>pt wrote:
>>
>>> i wonder how it is going to be of this code below regarding of the
>>>return of temporary object.
>>>

>
>
> [snip]
>
>
>>V
>>
>>

>
>
> Ok, I give up.
>
> What is a "TCHAR"?
>
> Is code using "TCHAR" platform-portable?
>
> Larry


It is a preprocessor macro defined in the Win32 API headers (i.e.,
non-standard, non-portable) that evalutes to either char or wchar
depending on whether UNICODE is defined. Nearly all of the Win32 API
functions that take strings as parameters are actually preprocessor
macros that evaluate to a FunctionNameA or FunctionNameW version, which
take char or wchar parameters, respectively.
 
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Victor Bazarov
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      05-30-2005
Larry I Smith wrote:
> Victor Bazarov wrote:
>> pt wrote:
>>> i wonder how it is going to be of this code below regarding of the
>>> return of temporary object.
>>>

>
> [snip]
>
>>
>> V
>>
>>

>
> Ok, I give up.
>
> What is a "TCHAR"?


It matters not to the question at hand.

> Is code using "TCHAR" platform-portable?


As much as you want to make it. I presume somewhere in the OP's code
there is a line like

typedef wchar_t TCHAR;
or
typedef char TCHAR;

depending on some other circumstances (macros/OS settings/whatever).

V


 
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Larry I Smith
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      05-31-2005
Victor Bazarov wrote:
> Larry I Smith wrote:
>>Victor Bazarov wrote:
>>>pt wrote:
>>>> i wonder how it is going to be of this code below regarding of the
>>>>return of temporary object.
>>>>

>>[snip]
>>
>>>V
>>>
>>>

>>Ok, I give up.
>>
>>What is a "TCHAR"?

>
> It matters not to the question at hand.
>
>>Is code using "TCHAR" platform-portable?

>
> As much as you want to make it. I presume somewhere in the OP's code
> there is a line like
>
> typedef wchar_t TCHAR;
> or
> typedef char TCHAR;
>
> depending on some other circumstances (macros/OS settings/whatever).
>
> V
>
>


Ok, Alan answered it in his post - It's WIN32 API specific.

So, code using TCHAR is not portable.

Thanks Alan.

Regards,
Larry
 
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pt
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      05-31-2005
Thanks a lot for all of the comments.

in the header file,typedef char TCHAR; so it should be portable ...

Well, regarding the temporary object, can we say that its lifetime of
return of GetFile() is existing until the end of call of
Activation(..), so to say at the end of statement?

 
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alexey.br@gmail.com
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      05-31-2005
Hi,
The return value of std::basic_string<TCHAR>::c_str() is valid until
you call non-constant member function of this object.


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Kodt
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      06-01-2005
A temporary object lives till the end of whole expression.
Thus,
Activation( myObj.GetFile().c_str() );
is correct, while
char* temp = myObj.GetFile().c_str();
will be invalidated immediately after ';' and should not be used in
Activation(temp);

By the way,

If you have to cast to (TCHAR*) due to removing constness, please
verify that you don't modify the paramenter string in Activation(). If
no, you'd better declare it as
bool Activation(const TCHAR *c);
or (same as above)
bool Activation(LPCTSTR c);

Also note that, if TCHAR != char (being compiled for Unicode), c-style
casting from const char* -> const TCHAR* is meaningless and harmful.
You should use
either basic_string<TCHAR>
or convert types with special purpose macros - A2T (see
http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/en...ion_Macros.asp
for details)


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