[webkit-dev] Should we ever use std::function instead of WTF::Function?

Chris Dumez cdumez at apple.com
Tue Jun 13 09:43:16 PDT 2017

In most cases in WebCore at least, we don’t actually want to share ownership of the lambda so we don’t need RefCounting / SharedTask. Because of this, I don’t think we should merge SharedTask into Function. I think that as it stands, WTF::Function is a suitable replacement for most uses in WebCore since we actually very rarely need copying (either it just builds or the code can be refactored very slightly to avoid the copying).

 Chris Dumez

> On Jun 13, 2017, at 9:34 AM, Filip Pizlo <fpizlo at apple.com> wrote:
> We should have a better story here.  Right now the story is too complicated.  We have:
> - ScopedLambda or ScopedLambdaRef if you have a stack-allocated function that outlives its user
> - SharedTask if you have a heap-allocated function that you want to share and ref-count
> - WTF::Function if you have a heap-allocated function that you want to transfer ownership (move yes, copy no)
> - std::function if you have a heap-alloated function that you want to pass by copy
> Only std::function and WTF::Function do the magic that lets you say:
> std::function f = <lambda>
> Also, std::function has the benefit that it does copying.  None of the others do that.
> ScopedLambda serves a specific purpose: it avoids allocation.  Probably we want to keep that one even if we merge the others.
> IMO SharedTask has the nicest semantics.  I don’t ever want the activation of the function to be copied.  In my experience I always want sharing if more than one reference to the function exists.  I think that what we really want in most places is a WTF::Function that has sharing semantics like SharedTask.  That would let us get rid of std::function and SharedTask.
> In the current status quo, it’s not always correct to convert std::function to the others because:
> - Unlike ScopedLambda and SharedTask, std::function has the magic constructor that allows you to just assign a lambda to it.
> - Unlike ScopedLambda, std::function is safe if the use is not scoped.
> - Unlike WTF::Function, std::function can be copied.
> -Filip
>> On Jun 13, 2017, at 9:24 AM, Darin Adler <darin at apple.com> wrote:
>> I’ve noticed many patches switching us from std::function to WTF::Function recently, to fix problems with copying and thread safety.
>> Does std::function have any advantages over WTF::Function? Should we ever prefer std::function, or should we use WTF::Function everywhere in WebKit where we would otherwise use std::function?
>> — Darin
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