A simple class

Discussion in 'C++' started by Giancarlo Berenz, Mar 6, 2007.

  1. Hi:

    Recently i write this code:

    class Simple
    int value;
    int GiveMeARandom(void);
    int GiveMeValue(void);

    int Simple::GiveMeARandom(void)
    return rand()%100;

    int Simple::GiveMeValue(void)
    return this->value;


    int main()
    Simple * Object = NULL;
    return 0;

    Well, this code compile's ok and when i tried to use them... works!,
    but my question is how i can access to a method of an object that not
    exist in memory?. In the other hand, if you try to access to the other
    method like this:


    it crash!, and obviusly it crash because the object not exist in
    memory and when you attempt to access to it variable "value" it read's
    the 0x00000 direction.

    But my question is about the method, the method's in C++ classes
    exists without produce any object in code?. I'm thinking about and i
    have a possibly explanation but what do you think about?.

    Giancarlo Berenz
    Giancarlo Berenz, Mar 6, 2007
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  2. Giancarlo Berenz

    Phlip Guest

    Because C++ is very efficient and very mechanical. It will not check many
    details of your output code, including whether a pointer is correctly
    seated. That's because C++ must compete with assembler (where you can get
    away with much worse things), while compiling huge programs in reasonable

    So, at -> time, C++ inserted no opcodes into the output program that checked
    where Object points. The previous line could have pointed it to a legitimate
    object, or dangled it, or NULLed it, like you did.

    When you write a broken program like that, you get "undefined behavior".
    That means the program could work the way you expect, or work another way,
    or crash, or the program could explode the nearest toilet.
    And the other function had no reason to touch the presumed object as it ran,
    so it accidentally appeared to work correctly.
    Phlip, Mar 6, 2007
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  3. Phlip a écrit :
    It has nothing to do with assembly.
    IMO the compiler has no way of knowing whether the pointer is correct or
    not. It doesn't know about register memory layout by example and I can
    perfectly design a plateform with memory starting at 0x0000000 in which
    case deferencing NULL is valid.

    The only thing the compiler can do is checking the type and that is
    already a good thing C++ is strongly typed.

    Michael DOUBEZ, Mar 6, 2007
  4. Le 06.03.2007 03:59, Giancarlo Berenz a ecrit:
    Since you write a definition for your functions, they can be compiled
    and their code can exist in memory. The object they "belong to" is just
    a pointer passed as a hidden parameter, and if that parameter is not
    used, it may work on some implementations, like yours.

    In other words, your code is *very roughly* similar to the following:

    class Simple
    int value;

    friend int Simple_GiveMeARandom(Simple *);
    friend int Simple_GiveMeValue(Simple *);

    int Simple_GiveMeARandom(Simple * /*unused*/)
    return rand() % 100;

    int Simple_GiveMeValue(Simple *that)
    return that->value;


    int main()
    Simple * Object = NULL;
    return 0;
    Serge Paccalin, Mar 6, 2007
  5. Giancarlo Berenz

    Phlip Guest

    C++ doesn't compete with Assembler? Then why is everything and its
    uncle "undefined"?
    The compiler could know that if it added extra opcodes. That would
    slow down all the systems that use C++ in speed-sensitive contexts. So
    those systems would have to use the next faster language, Assembler.
    So, to compete with Assembler, C++ permits undefined behavior.
    Phlip, Mar 6, 2007
  6. Giancarlo Berenz

    Gavin Deane Guest

    It's a bit academic, but I don't believe that's true. As I understand
    it, dereferencing a null pointer *always* leads to undefined
    behaviour. If the target hardware understands 0 to be a valid memory
    address, it is the compiler's job to manage the magic that allows the
    programmer to use null pointer constants and null pointer values as
    special entities as defined in the standard while the underlying
    hardware can still use the piece of memory it understands to be at
    address 0.

    Gavin Deane
    Gavin Deane, Mar 6, 2007
  7. Giancarlo Berenz

    Bo Persson Guest

    It just seems to work. :)

    There is an implicit contact between the programmer and the compiler - you
    provide legal code, and the compiler translates it correctly.

    When you are dereferencing a null pointer, you have broken the contract with
    the compiler. It is then free to do anything at all, like print a value
    anyway. Or crash.

    Technically, it is "Undefined behaviour". Anything can happen.

    Bo Persson
    Bo Persson, Mar 6, 2007
  8. Phlip a écrit :
    It is undefined because it is compiler/plateform/optimisation dependant.
    What opcode would it add to know whether a pointer is valid or not ?
    That would mean the processor is aware of the plateform it is on and of
    the layout of various component.

    Those opcode would be related to bios or some other metaconfiguration
    and I have never seen such thing. Though component are more and more
    communicating and that will perhaps be the case one day.

    C++ permits undefined behavior sometimes to allow optimisation as you
    say but also because some things are plateform dependant, some would
    unnecessarily constaint the compiler or could not be portable.

    Michael DOUBEZ, Mar 7, 2007
  9. Gavin Deane a écrit :
    True. It was just a (bad) example.
    Deferencing NULL is undefined behavior and NULL should evaluate to
    integer 0 so using hardware at 0 would be a problem.

    Let say I can put my device at address 0xDEAD0000 :)
    Who is to say a pointer value is invalid ?

    Michael DOUBEZ, Mar 7, 2007
  10. Yes, it's because the integer value 0 can be cast to a pointer, but
    that pointer does not necessarily have to have the value of 0, the
    requirement is that its value is distinguishable from all other
    pointer values.
    =?iso-8859-1?q?Erik_Wikstr=F6m?=, Mar 7, 2007
  11. Giancarlo Berenz

    persenaama Guest

    The compiler could know that if it added extra opcodes. That would
    It wouldn't be just a few extra opcodes. First, there is no mechanism
    in C++ to validate a memory address, but let's assume there was. It
    would somehow interact with the memory manager. This would, at minimum
    assume a map lookup. More likely it would involve a range search from
    a map or similar data structure. Wouldn't be very efficient at all.

    The idea here is that the pointer is assumed to be correct and the
    code is generated to take this for granted. It is client's
    responsibility to pass correct pointers to the methods, or invoke
    member methods to correctly initialized objects.

    It's a fairly sound trade-off. I don't think the idea here is to
    "compete" with assembler at all, the idea with assembler and c++
    compiler are to generate binary code which can be executed by the host
    platform. C++ takes a higher level approach and frees the programmer
    from repetitive tasks and brings new repetitive tasks to replace the
    ones that are deprecated.

    To combat the new repetitive tasks utility / library code is written,
    which brings new repetitive tasks into play. =)

    I don't see how undefined behavior is 'permitted'; it is possible to
    invoke and after that you're not dealing with C++ any longer. Now it's
    implementation specific issue and not interesting from the C++ point
    of view.
    persenaama, Mar 7, 2007
  12. Hi:

    It's true, C++ doesn´t have the ability to know if a pointer is a
    valid reference to the object in memory, but my explanation of this
    weird thing is about the way of the compiler to implement a class in
    binary code.

    When you define a function inside of a class, the compiler creates a
    normal function (like in C) but it is hidden from other objects that
    not belong to the class. And the class add's a reference (the name of
    the function) to the method (the function). The class creates the
    variables in a normal way.

    When you attemp to do this:

    Simple * Object = NULL;

    Object has a invalid reference but the pointers to the methods of
    class Simple are valid and if you execute GiveMeARandom():

    int Simple::GiveMeARandom(void)
    return rand()%100;


    The GiveMeARandom() function doesn't access to the internal variables
    of class Simple and simply return rand()%100;

    But when you do this:



    int Simple::GiveMeValue(void)
    return this->value;

    The GiveMeValue() function access to the internal variables of class
    Simple and desreference the pointer to the Object and if Object is
    NULL it crashes.

    It's strange, but interesting, thanks for your answers.

    Giancarlo Berenz
    Giancarlo Berenz, Mar 7, 2007
  13. One way would be to record each pointer and its size. Prior to use a check
    could be made to see if the pointer is in the range of pointer to
    Of course, that won't solve all problems. And that won't catch problems
    where pointer2+bigoffset happens to fall in the range pointer to
    Most lilely its an error, but the check would pass

    Dennis \(Icarus\), Mar 17, 2007
  14. Giancarlo Berenz

    persenaama Guest

    One way would be to record each pointer and its size. Prior to use a check
    If there are, and there ARE, thousands of memory allocations how you
    would prefer to do this check? No matter how you do it, it will be
    expensive. This would happen EVERY TIME you read or write from memory
    location (!)

    Most architectures have this in *hardware*, you will get some sort of
    hardware response which is out of scope of the C++

    One way which *would* be feasible, is to have a memory block object.
    This object would have a header. The header would contain address of
    allocated memory region and size of the allocated memory region.
    Possibly also "raw size of the allocated memory region", which would
    take into consideration padding for aligment and so on. The header
    could also contain a "magic" value for validation purposes, it could
    be product of the memory address of the allocated memory region and
    some nice constant value.

    Memory access could follow the base+offset syntax, always, because the
    "base" would be the memoryObject.address field in the memory region
    header. This would also reflect fairly common syntax for memory
    addressing in virtually all hardware.

    This would be fairly trivial to implement overloading [] operator. It
    would just be syntatic sugar and cruft on top of the C++ and not very
    interesting, IMHO. If this were to be implemented as core language
    feature, it wouldn't be C++ anymore, and it would always assumed that
    a pointer is a pointer to an array. :D

    *ptr++; // hello,i wouldn't be legal anymore.. how is this supposed to
    be "C++" ?

    Either it's just a lame extension, or we throw away a lot of what
    makes C++ the C++ it is.. _or_ the implementation would have to check
    allocated memory ranges for *every* memory read and write. Each of
    these possibilities is lame.

    std::vector "kind of" already does what the memory allocation object
    would be doing; afaik, it doesn't range-check the [] but at() unless I
    remember incorrectly. I'm not feeling arsed to open the reference
    manual just to avoid humiliation, feel free to check, just making a
    persenaama, Mar 17, 2007
  15. Yes indeed. Instead of pointer access being constant, its now a log(n)
    So how was ptr initialized? Placement new could be used to set the memory to
    any given point. The size could ebe given as well.
    If I may suggest another possibility:
    char *ptr = new char [45];
    char *cursor = ptr;
    *(*ptr + 4500) ;
    *cursor++ ;
    Now, *ptr is checked - sure, its a char ptr, dynamically allocated, size 45.
    The pointer-arithmetic + would have to check to see that the offset is
    within the range as well.
    And since the pointer may not be exactly on the block, another comparison
    would have to occur.
    And my point was that it would be possible to check pointer validity.

    Whether the cost is worth it is another question.

    Dennis \(Icarus\), Mar 18, 2007
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