"Model 2" prototype status

Rémi Forax forax at univ-mlv.fr
Fri Aug 7 18:12:45 UTC 2015

Hi Gavin,
I think that Foo<val ?> is really interresting because it may solve the Foo<?> vs Foo<ref ?> issue.

Let suppose we have a construct which is able to do a switch on type (i think Pizza has something like that).

List<any> l = ...
switchOnType (l) {
  case List<val ?>:
    // here, l is typed as List<val ?> which is reified
  default: // here lies the dragon :)
     // here, l is typed as List<?>

with that trick, there is no need to denote List<ref ?> :)


Le 3 août 2015 15:43:18 CEST, Gavin Bierman <gavin.bierman at oracle.com> a écrit :
>Hi Timo,
>> On 2 Aug 2015, at 21:55, Timo Kinnunen <timo.kinnunen at gmail.com>
>> Hi, 
>> Re: “I don't care about the syntax but the one you propose doesn't
>help IMO.”
>> I have to agree. You really get a sense that there is no overall
>design behind this syntax backing it up. 
>> For example, my current source of confusion is whether A<any T> is to
>be interpreted as A<ref T | any T | null> or as A<ref T | any T |
>!(null)>. (A note on the syntax being used: the presence  or absence of
>the nulltype amongst the bounds is to be interpreted literally.)
>> Seeing “Alternately, you can interpret "any T" as a union bound ("T
>extends Object | value")” suggests it’s the first interpretation that’s
>correct but then seeing “ Some operations that are allowed on ordinary
>tvars are not allowed on avars, such as assigning a T to an Object,
>assigning null to a T, etc.” suggests the correct interpretation should
>be the latter.
>> A properly designed syntax where such semantics can be expressed in a
>natural way will be helpful to have, one year from now. Would be much
>more helpful to have it right now though, IMHO…
>As I’m the semantics guy on the design team your request for semantics
>got my attention :-) (Plus I’d like to reassure you that there are
>hundreds of hours of thinking about the design so far; and many more to
>Here’s a semantic take on what’s going on: A type is a set of values.
>In Java when declaring variables we are used to declaring their type,
>e.g. `Bar x`. A _sort_ is a set of types. Currently in Java when
>declaring type variables we do not declare their type/sort; it’s
>implicit, and is the set of all reference types. (Some languages do let
>you define the sorts of type variables, e.g. Haskell.) Of course we can
>constraint the set further with bounds, but morally type variables have
>a type/sort.
>In Valhalla we will be in the world where some type variables will
>range over all reference types, and some over other sorts. It’s this
>'other sorts' stuff that is new. In our experiments, we have identified
>three useful sorts: (i) `any` the sort containing all types, (ii) `ref`
>the sort containing all reference types (currently, the only sort
>denotable in Java), and (iii) `val` the sort containing all value types
>(currently the eight primitive types, but we are also experimenting
>with supporting user-defined value classes). We currently adopt a
>similar syntax for sort declarations as for type declarations, e.g.
>`ref X`, although other syntax choices could be taken from other
>languages, e.g. `X::ref`. We’re trying not to get too bogged down with
>syntax right now, but the idea should be clear.
>Placing a sort on a type variable in, for example, a class declaration
>can have consequences in the declaration body. If you declare a class
>`Pop<any T>` you are declaring it *for all* instantiations of T,
>including primitives. Hence in the body of declaration, you shouldn’t
>be able to assign null to an instance of the type variable, for
>example. It breaks the contract in the declaration. This is no
>different to Java 8, where we check in the body that we respect the
>bounds contract on type variables. 
>Given that wildcards are a form of existential type, corresponding to
>the three sorts are three forms of wildcards: (i) `Foo<any>` which
>denotes any type instantiation of `Foo`; (ii) `Foo<ref>` which denotes
>a reference type instantiation of `Foo` (this is currently written
>`Foo<?>` in Java); and (iii) `Foo<val>` which denotes a value type
>instantiation of `Foo`. Again, our syntax is preliminary; we could
>write these as `Foo<any ?>`, `Foo<ref ?>` and `Foo<val ?>`, for
>[BTW: Currently the prototype doesn’t support the `val` sort, but I
>wanted to add it to help you see what we’re up to.]
>I’m working on a more formal definition of the design and the
>translation strategy, which I can share with you when it’s ready, if
>you like. (It’ll look something like this:
>Hope this helps,

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