Re: [eigen] still the solve() API debate

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2009/9/11 Gael Guennebaud <gael.guennebaud@xxxxxxxxx>:
> On Fri, Sep 11, 2009 at 3:22 PM, Hauke Heibel
> <hauke.heibel@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>> On Fri, Sep 11, 2009 at 3:13 PM, Benoit Jacob <jacob.benoit.1@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
>>> Same thing when we do A.solveInPlace(b.start(n)), start() returns a
>>> temporary, same problem, whence the idea of inplace() or whatever we
>>> call it.
>> Ok, I just caught up with re-reading... that's indeed ugly. But as you
>> guys already observed, in new compiler versions we already have rvalue
>> references.
>> Benoit, what about your idea of passing Matrices by
>> reference and MatrixBase by value? You suggested to do that in the
>> "MatrixBase::swap - why const" thread? This approach would allow an
>> easy transition towards rvalues references in the future.
> I've thought about it and I really don't see how to it safely and in a
> generic way, and I really doubt that's possible.
> I also have to say that my Reference<> solution becomes very tricky as
> soon as you want to restrict your function to a MatrixBase<>, e.g.:
> template<Derived> Derived& solve(Reference<Derived> b);
> will match any type which can be explicitly converted to a Reference,
> while we usually want to do:
> template<Derived> Derived& solve(Reference<MatrixBase<Derived> > b);
> but if you declare your function like this,
> MatrixXf m;
> A.solve(m.ref());
> won't compile because the type of m.ref() is Reference<Matrix<...> >.
> The unique way to make it working is to make Reference<Matrix<...> >
> inheriting Reference<MatrixBase<Matrix<...> > >. (this is because the
> solve function is template, and casting by inheritance is only kind of
> casting which is allowed to select the function to  instanciate)

Wait, why so complicated?

I understand that in an ideal world we would restrict all our template
functions to the types that make sense for them. In practice, c++
doesn't make that easy at all (i guess the "concepts" were meant to
address that) and we often don't do it, already. For exemple the
current solve() methods take a ResultType parameter that can be any

template<typename Other, typename ResultType>
void solve(const MatrixBase<OtherDerived>& b, ResultType *result)

it's not the most elegant, but it's very simple and we've never seen a
user complain about that!

So why not do the same here??

template<typename Other, typename ResultType>
void solve(Reference<ResultType> result)

Thus we have already restricted to Reference<T>. Since the user
usually gets his Reference object by calling inplace() or ref(), and
he can only call that on MatrixBase objects, there's little chance
that he might ever construct a bad Reference type: he would have to do
it explicitly.

By the way, if you agree with my inplace() suggestion, we might also
make it as separate type InPlace instead of Reference, to further
control that the user is doing the right  thing (if we also have a
Reference for other uses).


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