C function overloading?

Discussion in 'C Programming' started by JaSeong Ju, May 31, 2004.

  1. I think that you have just described function *overriding*.
    JaSeong Ju may have meant
    function overriding instead of function overloading.
    E. Robert Tisdale, May 31, 2004
    1. Advertisements

  2. Yes, you certainly could, but I fail to see how this addresses the
    OP's question.

    A wrapper provides a new function, with a new name, that extends the
    functionality of an existing function. Overloading provides two or
    more functions with the same name.

    Would you care to clarify what you meant?
    Keith Thompson, May 31, 2004
    1. Advertisements

  3. JaSeong Ju

    Jack Klein Guest

    It would have been better perhaps if Jacob had stated: "lcc-win32 is a
    compiler that supports function overloading as an extension", but I
    think your reaction is a little overboard.

    If a compiler supported signed and unsigned long long types or a
    built-in Boolean type five years ago, it wasn't a strictly conforming
    C compiler either, at least not when operated in a mode where these
    things existed.

    One of the most practical ways to propose the addition of features to
    new generations of a language like C is not only to propose them, but
    to show an existing implementation. Then the pros and cons become
    directly testable and not merely theoretical.

    Whether or not you or I think function overloading is something that
    should be added to C is irrelevant.

    At least compiler vendor has implemented <tgmath.h> functionality by
    temporarily switching their implementation into C++ "mode" while
    processing the header, which in their version contains ordinary C++
    overloaded functions. At the end of the header it switches back to C
    "mode", but the processed prototypes remain in the symbol table. The
    proper overloaded function is called based on the types of the
    arguments in the C source.

    In fact, providing these as special case overloaded functions if
    probably the simplest way to implement <tgmath.h> functionality in C,
    and is of course perfectly legal for an implementation to do so.
    Jack Klein, May 31, 2004
  4. But overriding usually (I think) means providing a new function with
    the same name. C doesn't support that either.
    Keith Thompson, May 31, 2004
  5. Because of 6.9(2) I think
    "There shall be no more than one external definition for each identifier
    declared with internal linkage in a translation unit. Moreover, if an
    identifier declared with internal linkage is used in an expression (other
    than as a part of the operand of a sizeof operator whose result is an
    integer constant), there shall be exactly one external definition for the
    identifier in the translation unit."
    Mark McIntyre, May 31, 2004

  6. Which means any program using function overloading would invoke
    undefined behavior according to the C Standard (that is what the _shall_
    means). An implementation is free to define the behavior in this case.

    So your program is definitely not a C program, but a C compiler may
    still accept it; some error messages may be required.
    Christian Bau, Jun 1, 2004
  7. Non-conforming compilers are free to accept non-conforming code without
    generating errors. The compilers I've worked with (gcc, icc, msvc) are not
    strictly conforming in their default mode, but at least one of them can be
    invoked as such if desired.

    Function overloading is unusual because it requires breaking the ABI for a
    given platform; most compiler extensions I've used only involve
    non-conforming source, not broken binaries.

    Stephen Sprunk, Jun 1, 2004
  8. Provided "some... may" means "at least one ... must"

    A conforming compiler is free to accept anything at all, provided it
    produces at least one diagnostic. It could accept the Grays Anatomy, or the
    WEB source for Pascal, either before or after being tangled or woven.

    If it does something with it other than produce the diagnostic, its not a
    ISO C compiler, its something else.
    Mark McIntyre, Jun 1, 2004
  9. Yup.
    Meaningless statement. Non-conforming compilers are free to set fire to
    your hair and paint your toenails green too.
    Mark McIntyre, Jun 1, 2004
  10. And provided "must be" means "is". ;-)
    Not true. It might produce the diagnostic and *then* do something
    else, such as setting fire to your toenails; and still remain conforming.
    What it could *not* do would be to set fire to your toenails without
    first producing at least one diagnostic (such as "look out, your toenails
    are on fire"). [Cf early (C90) versions of gcc, which according to legend
    would treat '#pragma' as a request to launch 'rogue'. Did that make gcc
    non-conforming because ISO didn't mention 'rogue' in the Standard? No.
    It merely made gcc perverse.]

    IOW, getting back to the point that started this whole subthread
    (AFAICT): Jacob's lcc-win32 compiler *may be* a conforming C compiler,
    even though it incorporates non-ISO extensions, as long as it also
    incorporates a standard C compiler. (Yet discussion of lcc-win32 is
    just as off-topic here as is discussion of any other specific
    Any *program* that takes advantage of lcc-win32's non-ISO extensions,
    however, is most definitely not a standard C program --- and thus would
    also be off-topic in this group.
    Still, discussion of lcc-win32's conformance to the Standard, and the
    cute features that make it conforming despite all its crazy extensions,
    would IMHO be topical here. :)

    Arthur J. O'Dwyer, Jun 1, 2004
  11. JaSeong Ju

    jacob navia Guest

    lcc-win32 (when invoked without the -ansic flag) is not just an ISO C

    It will provide you with a shorthand notation where you give
    a common name to a set of related routines.

    This is nothing really new, and many languages provide this facility.

    Instead of writing

    int fn_int(int a);
    int fn_long_double(long double a);
    int fn_foo(foo a);


    you have to remember only ONE name. Easy with the neuron's
    random access memory. It shouldn't be wasted storing trivial
    facts like zig different names for each variant of the same routine.

    Of course this isn't in ISO C 89. But in 99, the C standard accepted
    the "principle" that this construct *is* useful and provided a
    SINGLE sqrt function without you having to remember 3 names for
    each different function.

    #include <tgmath.h>

    I am confident that the 2009 edition will make the next logical
    step and provide this for everybody according to the principle:

    "If the implementor needs a certain feature the user needs it too".
    jacob navia, Jun 1, 2004
  12. Frankly, and don't take offense, thats a ludicrous principle. The
    implementor of a steel hulled ship needs a rivet gun. Passengers on the
    boat don't.
    Mark McIntyre, Jun 1, 2004
  13. A conforming compiler is free to accept anything at all, provided it
    Where in ANSI C does it say that the diagnostic must be produced
    *FIRST*? Why couldn't the diagnostic be "your toes have burned
    off", after you've arrived at the emergency room, or even after
    you've gotten the bill?

    It gets even messier when undefined behavior starts violating
    temporal causality or invokes time travel. It gets even tricker
    when undefined behavior retroactively alters the ANSI C standard.
    For example, I think it was a "void main" program posted to comp.lang.c
    that removed function concatenation from ANSI C.

    (function concatenation: func = funccat(func1, func2) returns a
    function pointer so that func(x) acts the same as func1(func2(x))
    except that it calls private copies, not originals, of func1 and
    func2 (meaning that any static or file-scope variables referenced
    by func1 and func2 are not shared with the function called by func()
    .. The function pointer returned by funccat *MUST* be cast to void
    TWICE and passed to free() before terminating the program).
    I believe I actually saw this one work.

    Gordon L. Burditt
    Gordon Burditt, Jun 1, 2004
  14. JaSeong Ju

    jacob navia Guest

    This doesn't hold. Users of compilers are building software, as the
    compiler implementor is doing. Passangers aren't building ships.

    Users of C programs do not need overloading of functions, agreed.

    But users of C compilers do, since they are in exactly the same
    business as the compiler implementor: they are building software.
    jacob navia, Jun 1, 2004
  15. [/QUOTE]
    The relevant source code is reproduced in


    -- Richard
    Richard Tobin, Jun 1, 2004
  16. As far as I can tell, conforming compilers are equally free to set
    fire to your hair and paint your toenails green.
    Keith Thompson, Jun 2, 2004
  17. JaSeong Ju

    CBFalconer Guest

    All this is a way of further reducing the already poverty-stricken
    internal checking and inherently minimal redundancy of C code,
    thus leading to ever increasing density of programmer errors,
    reduction of trust in software, and proliferation of subject
    matter for the comp.risks newsgroup.
    CBFalconer, Jun 2, 2004
  18. JaSeong Ju

    Harti Brandt Guest

    On Tue, 1 Jun 2004, jacob navia wrote:

    jn>Instead of writing
    jn>int fn_int(int a);
    jn>int fn_long_double(long double a);
    jn>int fn_foo(foo a);
    jn>you have to remember only ONE name. Easy with the neuron's
    jn>random access memory. It shouldn't be wasted storing trivial
    jn>facts like zig different names for each variant of the same routine.

    One of the problem is that this makes programs harder to read if you
    didn't write them. In C a line like

    a = fn_int(b, c);

    just requires you to lookup the definition for fn_int() to see what
    happens. With overloading the line:

    a = fn(b, c);

    requires you to lookup the definition of b, c and a, lookup their types,
    then to lookup fn() for the correct combination of types.

    Even worse in C++ it requires you to lookup the inheritance
    hierarchy for the types of b and c, all the possible candidate functions
    that could be called here (taking into account type conversion
    constructors), to remember the complex ruleset that directs the lookup of
    the function and then to find out which functions really gets called here.

    Additionally there is, of course, no guarantee that fn(int, int) does more
    or less the same as fn(long, int).

    Harti Brandt, Jun 2, 2004
  19. JaSeong Ju

    jacob navia Guest

    Since lcc-win32 is NOT a C++ compiler we are lucky: this doesn't apply here.
    jacob navia, Jun 2, 2004
  20. Passengers are using the ship, just like I'm using the compiler. And just
    Frankly, if you want C++, you know where it is.

    And BTW all this arguing just persuades me not to use your C compiler, I
    could never trust it to do what its supposed to. I'd rather trust MS which
    is a terrible indictment I reckon...
    Mark McIntyre, Jun 2, 2004
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.