[webkit-dev] Stop Using Raw Pointers & References in New Code

Alicia Boya García aboya at igalia.com
Tue Jan 24 05:30:08 PST 2023

On 12/01/2023 06.21, Ryosuke Niwa via webkit-dev wrote:
> I suggest we *stop using raw pointers and references in any local or 
> heap stored variable*.

I don't think this is feasible for code using non-WebKit libraries, and 
would expect it to not apply to such cases.

For instance, many GLib and GStreamer objects are refcounted, and we 
even have smart pointers for them in WebKit: GRefPtr, which refs/unref 
using RAII, and GUniquePtr, which frees GLib non-refcounted objects.

We use both GRefPtr/GUniquePtr and raw pointers, but the meaning of each 
is different:

GRefPtr and GUniquePtr mean the code owns a reference, and will 
unref/free when the variable goes out of scope. Raw pointer means the 
code is borrowing a reference. The code will do something with the 
object, then leave it, without establishing ownership of a reference to 
it. This is especially the case for const raw pointers, which you are 
meant to use within scope and are not allowed to free() them, as you are 
just borrowing them.
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