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Declarations

Declaration:
    FuncDeclaration
    VarDeclarations
    AliasDeclaration
    AggregateDeclaration
    EnumDeclaration
    ImportDeclaration
    ConditionalDeclaration
    StaticForeachDeclaration
    StaticAssert
VarDeclarations:
    StorageClassesopt BasicType Declarators ;
    AutoDeclaration
Declarators: DeclaratorInitializer DeclaratorInitializer , DeclaratorIdentifierList
DeclaratorInitializer: VarDeclarator VarDeclarator TemplateParametersopt = Initializer AltDeclarator AltDeclarator = Initializer
DeclaratorIdentifierList: DeclaratorIdentifier DeclaratorIdentifier , DeclaratorIdentifierList
DeclaratorIdentifier: VarDeclaratorIdentifier AltDeclaratorIdentifier
VarDeclaratorIdentifier: Identifier Identifier TemplateParametersopt = Initializer
AltDeclaratorIdentifier: BasicType2 Identifier AltDeclaratorSuffixesopt BasicType2 Identifier AltDeclaratorSuffixesopt = Initializer BasicType2opt Identifier AltDeclaratorSuffixes BasicType2opt Identifier AltDeclaratorSuffixes = Initializer
Declarator: VarDeclarator AltDeclarator
VarDeclarator: BasicType2opt Identifier
AltDeclarator: BasicType2opt Identifier AltDeclaratorSuffixes BasicType2opt ( AltDeclaratorX ) BasicType2opt ( AltDeclaratorX ) AltFuncDeclaratorSuffix BasicType2opt ( AltDeclaratorX ) AltDeclaratorSuffixes
AltDeclaratorX: BasicType2opt Identifier BasicType2opt Identifier AltFuncDeclaratorSuffix AltDeclarator
AltDeclaratorSuffixes: AltDeclaratorSuffix AltDeclaratorSuffix AltDeclaratorSuffixes
AltDeclaratorSuffix: [ ] [ AssignExpression ] [ Type ]
AltFuncDeclaratorSuffix: Parameters MemberFunctionAttributesopt
Type:
    TypeCtorsopt BasicType BasicType2opt
TypeCtors: TypeCtor TypeCtor TypeCtors
TypeCtor: const immutable inout shared
BasicType: BasicTypeX . IdentifierList IdentifierList Typeof Typeof . IdentifierList TypeCtor ( Type ) TypeVector
BasicTypeX: bool byte ubyte short ushort int uint long ulong cent ucent char wchar dchar float double real ifloat idouble ireal cfloat cdouble creal void
BasicType2: BasicType2X BasicType2opt
BasicType2X: * [ ] [ AssignExpression ] [ AssignExpression .. AssignExpression ] [ Type ] delegate Parameters MemberFunctionAttributesopt function Parameters FunctionAttributesopt
IdentifierList: Identifier Identifier . IdentifierList TemplateInstance TemplateInstance . IdentifierList Identifier [ AssignExpression ]. IdentifierList
StorageClasses:
    StorageClass
    StorageClass StorageClasses
StorageClass: LinkageAttribute AlignAttribute deprecated enum static extern abstract final override synchronized auto scope const immutable inout shared __gshared Property nothrow pure ref
Initializer:
    VoidInitializer
    NonVoidInitializer
NonVoidInitializer: ExpInitializer ArrayInitializer StructInitializer
ExpInitializer: AssignExpression
ArrayInitializer: [ ArrayMemberInitializationsopt ]
ArrayMemberInitializations: ArrayMemberInitialization ArrayMemberInitialization , ArrayMemberInitialization , ArrayMemberInitializations
ArrayMemberInitialization: NonVoidInitializer AssignExpression : NonVoidInitializer
StructInitializer: { StructMemberInitializersopt }
StructMemberInitializers: StructMemberInitializer StructMemberInitializer , StructMemberInitializer , StructMemberInitializers
StructMemberInitializer: NonVoidInitializer Identifier : NonVoidInitializer

Declaration Syntax

Declaration syntax generally reads right to left:

int x;    // x is an int
int* x;   // x is a pointer to int
int** x;  // x is a pointer to a pointer to int
int[] x;  // x is an array of ints
int*[] x; // x is an array of pointers to ints
int[]* x; // x is a pointer to an array of ints

Arrays read right to left as well:

int[3] x;     // x is an array of 3 ints
int[3][5] x;  // x is an array of 5 arrays of 3 ints
int[3]*[5] x; // x is an array of 5 pointers to arrays of 3 ints

Pointers to functions are declared using the function keyword:

int function(char) x; // x is a pointer to
                     // a function taking a char argument
                     // and returning an int
int function(char)[] x; // x is an array of
                     // pointers to functions
                     // taking a char argument
                     // and returning an int

C-style array, function pointer and pointer to array declarations are deprecated:

int x[3];          // x is an array of 3 ints
int x[3][5];       // x is an array of 3 arrays of 5 ints
int (*x[5])[3];    // x is an array of 5 pointers to arrays of 3 ints
int (*x)(char);    // x is a pointer to a function taking a char argument
                   // and returning an int
int (*[] x)(char); // x is an array of pointers to functions
                   // taking a char argument and returning an int

In a declaration declaring multiple symbols, all the declarations must be of the same type:

int x,y;   // x and y are ints
int* x,y;  // x and y are pointers to ints
int x,*y;  // error, multiple types
int[] x,y; // x and y are arrays of ints
int x[],y; // error, multiple types

Implicit Type Inference

AutoDeclaration:
    StorageClasses AutoDeclarationX ;
AutoDeclarationX: AutoDeclarationY AutoDeclarationX , AutoDeclarationY
AutoDeclarationY: Identifier TemplateParametersopt = Initializer

If a declaration starts with a StorageClass and has a NonVoidInitializer from which the type can be inferred, the type on the declaration can be omitted.

static x = 3;      // x is type int
auto y = 4u;       // y is type uint

auto s = "Apollo"; // s is type immutable(char)[]

class C { ... }

auto c = new C();  // c is a handle to an instance of class C

The NonVoidInitializer cannot contain forward references (this restriction may be removed in the future). The implicitly inferred type is statically bound to the declaration at compile time, not run time.

An ArrayLiteral is inferred to be a dynamic array type rather than a static array:

auto v = ["resistance", "is", "useless"]; // type is string[], not string[3]

Alias Declarations

AliasDeclaration:
    alias StorageClassesopt BasicType Declarators ;
    alias StorageClassesopt BasicType FuncDeclarator ;
    alias AliasDeclarationX ;
AliasDeclarationX: AliasDeclarationY AliasDeclarationX , AliasDeclarationY
AliasDeclarationY: Identifier TemplateParametersopt = StorageClassesopt Type Identifier TemplateParametersopt = FunctionLiteral

AliasDeclarations create a symbol that is an alias for another type, and can be used anywhere that other type may appear.

alias myint = abc.Foo.bar;

Aliased types are semantically identical to the types they are aliased to. The debugger cannot distinguish between them, and there is no difference as far as function overloading is concerned. For example:

alias myint = int;

void foo(int x) { ... }
void foo(myint m) { ... } // error, multiply defined function foo

A symbol can be declared as an alias of another symbol. For example:

import planets;

alias myAlbedo = planets.albedo;
...
int len = myAlbedo("Saturn"); // actually calls planets.albedo()

The following alias declarations are valid:

template Foo2(T) { alias t = T; }
alias t1 = Foo2!(int);
alias t2 = Foo2!(int).t;
alias t3 = t1.t;
alias t4 = t2;

t1.t v1;  // v1 is type int
t2 v2;    // v2 is type int
t3 v3;    // v3 is type int
t4 v4;    // v4 is type int

Aliased symbols are useful as a shorthand for a long qualified symbol name, or as a way to redirect references from one symbol to another:

version (Win32)
{
    alias myfoo = win32.foo;
}
version (linux)
{
    alias myfoo = linux.bar;
}

Aliasing can be used to import a symbol from an import into the current scope:

alias strlen = string.strlen;

Aliases can also import a set of overloaded functions, that can be overloaded with functions in the current scope:

class A
{
    int foo(int a) { return 1; }
}

class B : A
{
    int foo( int a, uint b ) { return 2; }
}

class C : B
{
    int foo( int a ) { return 3; }
    alias foo = B.foo;
}

class D : C
{
}

void test()
{
    D b = new D();
    int i;

    i = b.foo(1, 2u);   // calls B.foo
    i = b.foo(1);       // calls C.foo
}

Note: Type aliases can sometimes look indistinguishable from alias declarations:

alias abc = foo.bar; // is it a type or a symbol?

The distinction is made in the semantic analysis pass.

Aliases cannot be used for expressions:

struct S { static int i; }
S s;

alias a = s.i; // illegal, s.i is an expression
alias b = S.i; // ok
b = 4;         // sets S.i to 4

Extern Declarations

Variable declarations with the storage class extern are not allocated storage within the module. They must be defined in some other object file with a matching name which is then linked in.

An extern declaration can optionally be followed by an extern linkage attribute. If there is no linkage attribute it defaults to extern(D):

// variable allocated and initialized in this module with C linkage
extern(C) int foo;
// variable allocated outside this module with C linkage
// (e.g. in a statically linked C library or another module)
extern extern(C) int bar;

Best Practices:

  1. The primary usefulness of Extern Declarations is to connect with global variables declarations and functions in C or C++ files.

typeof

Typeof:
    typeof ( Expression )
    typeof ( return )

Typeof is a way to specify a type based on the type of an expression. For example:

void func(int i)
{
    typeof(i) j;       // j is of type int
    typeof(3 + 6.0) x; // x is of type double
    typeof(1)* p;      // p is of type pointer to int
    int[typeof(p)] a;  // a is of type int[int*]

    writefln("%d", typeof('c').sizeof); // prints 1
    double c = cast(typeof(1.0))j; // cast j to double
}

Expression is not evaluated, just the type of it is generated:

void func()
{
    int i = 1;
    typeof(++i) j; // j is declared to be an int, i is not incremented
    writefln("%d", i);  // prints 1
}

Special cases:

  1. typeof(this) will generate the type of what this would be in a non-static member function, even if not in a member function.
  2. Analogously, typeof(super) will generate the type of what super would be in a non-static member function.
  3. typeof(return) will, when inside a function scope, give the return type of that function.
class A { }

class B : A
{
    typeof(this) x;  // x is declared to be a B
    typeof(super) y; // y is declared to be an A
}

struct C
{
    static typeof(this) z;  // z is declared to be a C

    typeof(super) q; // error, no super struct for C
}

typeof(this) r;   // error, no enclosing struct or class

If the expression is a Property Function, typeof gives its return type.

struct S
{
    @property int foo() { return 1; }
}
typeof(S.foo) n;  // n is declared to be an int

Best Practices:

  1. Typeof is most useful in writing generic template code.

Void Initializations

VoidInitializer:
    void

Normally, variables are initialized either with an explicit Initializer or are set to the default value for the type of the variable. If the Initializer is void, however, the variable is not initialized. If its value is used before it is set, undefined program behavior will result.

Undefined Behavior: If a void initialized variable's value is used before it is set, the behavior is undefined.

void foo()
{
    int x = void;
    writeln(x);  // will print garbage
}

Best Practices:

  1. Void initializers are useful when a static array is on the stack, but may only be partially used, such as as a temporary buffer. Void initializers will speed up the code, but of course one must be careful that array elements are actually set before read.
  2. The same is true for structs.
  3. Use of void initializers is rarely useful for individual local variables, as a modern optimizer will remove the dead store of its initialization if it is initialized later.
  4. For hot code paths, it is worthwhile to check to see if the void initializer actually improves results before using it.

Global and Static Initializers

The Initializer for a global or static variable must be evaluatable at compile time. Runtime initialization is done with static constructors.

Implementation Defined:

  1. Whether some pointers can be initialized with the addresses of other functions or data.

Type Qualifiers vs. Storage Classes

Type qualifer and storage classes are distinct.

A type qualifier creates a derived type from an existing base type, and the resulting type may be used to create multiple instances of that type.

For example, the immutable type qualifier can be used to create variables of immutable type, such as:

immutable(int)   x; // typeof(x) == immutable(int)
immutable(int)[] y; // typeof(y) == immutable(int)[]
                    // typeof(y[0]) == immutable(int)

// Type constructors create new types that can be aliased:
alias ImmutableInt = immutable(int);
ImmutableInt z;     // typeof(z) == immutable(int)

A storage class, on the other hand, does not create a new type, but describes only the kind of storage used by the variable or function being declared. For example, a member function can be declared with the const storage class to indicate that it does not modify its implicit this argument:

struct S
{
    int x;
    int method() const
    {
        //x++;    // Error: this method is const and cannot modify this.x
        return x; // OK: we can still read this.x
    }
}

Although some keywords can be used both as a type qualifier and a storage class, there are some storage classes that cannot be used to construct new types, such as ref:

// ref declares the parameter x to be passed by reference
void func(ref int x)
{
    x++; // so modifications to x will be visible in the caller
}

void main()
{
    auto x = 1;
    func(x);
    assert(x == 2);

    // However, ref is not a type qualifier, so the following is illegal:
    ref(int) y; // Error: ref is not a type qualifier.
}

Functions can also be declared as ref, meaning their return value is passed by reference:

ref int func2()
{
    static int y = 0;
    return y;
}

void main()
{
    func2() = 2; // The return value of func2() can be modified.
    assert(func2() == 2);

    // However, the reference returned by func2() does not propagate to
    // variables, because the 'ref' only applies to the return value itself,
    // not to any subsequent variable created from it:
    auto x = func2();
    static assert(is(typeof(x) == int)); // N.B.: *not* ref(int);
                                     // there is no such type as ref(int).
    x++;
    assert(x == 3);
    assert(func2() == 2); // x is not a reference to what func2() returned; it
                          // does not inherit the ref storage class from func2().
}

Some keywords, such as const, can be used both as a type qualifier and a storage class. The distinction is determined by the syntax where it appears.

struct S
{
    /* Is const here a type qualifier or a storage class?
     * Is the return value const(int), or is this a const function that returns
     * (mutable) int?
     */
    const int* func() // a const function
    {
        ++p;          // error, this.p is const
        return p;     // error, cannot convert const(int)* to int*
    }

    const(int)* func() // a function returning a pointer to a const int
    {
        ++p;          // ok, this.p is mutable
        return p;     // ok, int* can be implicitly converted to const(int)*
    }

    int* p;
}

Best Practices: To avoid confusion, the type qualifier syntax with parentheses should be used for return types, and function storage classes should be written on the right-hand side of the declaration instead of the left-hand side where it may be visually confused with the return type:

struct S
{
    // Now it is clear that the 'const' here applies to the return type:
    const(int) func1() { return 1; }

    // And it is clear that the 'const' here applies to the function:
    int func2() const { return 1; }
}

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