[Geany-devel] Ideas on increasing quality of plugins

Lex Trotman elextr at xxxxx
Thu Mar 10 01:15:03 UTC 2011

On 10 March 2011 11:57, Thomas Martitz
<thomas.martitz at student.htw-berlin.de> wrote:
> On 10.03.2011 01:23, Lex Trotman wrote:
>> On 10 March 2011 00:45, Colomban Wendling<lists.ban at herbesfolles.org>
>>  wrote:
>>> Le 09/03/2011 05:31, Lex Trotman a écrit :
>>>> Hi Colomban,
>>>> Agree with most, comment on the rest below.
>>>> On 9 March 2011 14:00, Colomban Wendling<lists.ban at herbesfolles.org>
>>>>  wrote:
>>>>> Le 08/03/2011 22:29, Colomban Wendling a écrit :
>>>>>> Le 08/03/2011 19:58, Enrico Tröger a écrit :
>>>>>>> On Tue, 08 Mar 2011 11:06:16 +0100, Frank wrote:
>>>>>>>> Am 23.02.2011 01:10, schrieb Matthew Brush:
>>>>>>>>> For first thing, maybe we could enforce use/passing of those tools
>>>>>>>>> mentioned and these before adding to release, examples:
>>>>>>>>> http://www.splint.org/
>>>>>>>>> http://valgrind.org/info/tools.html
>>>>>>>>> (suppression for GTK -
>>>>>>>>> http://people.gnome.org/~johan/gtk.suppression)
>>>>>>>>> http://www.gnu.org/software/indent/ (just for making coding styles
>>>>>>>>> more consistent between plugins) http://check.sourceforge.net/ or
>>>>>>>>> http://cutest.sourceforge.net/ or http://cunit.sourceforge.net/
>>>>>>>>> Perhaps some or all of these could be automated.
>>>>>> I don't suggest (yet) to use splint, because I haven't found it
>>>>>> useful,
>>>>>> it reported ways too much things (and some was false positive) to be
>>>>>> really usable. However, I probably don't know how to configure it (and
>>>>>> haven't the time to find out yet), so if somebody with experience with
>>>>>> it can provide some hints, maybe we can add this too.
>>>>>> For Valgrind however, I doubt we can do anything automatically,
>>>>>> because
>>>>>> it's a runtime checker, and its output must generally be read with
>>>>>> some
>>>>>> care. Writing some sort of guidelines and howto is probably the way to
>>>>>> go.
>>>>>>>> I like that idea. Can someone of you build up a howto on how to use
>>>>>>>> it?
>>>>>>>> I did try valgrind in past and wished for some advice ;)
>>>>>>>> One this is done we can think of automatic tests with some of this
>>>>>>>> tools.
>>>>>>> I, and obviously, Colomban as well, though indepdent from each other
>>>>>>> :D,
>>>>>>> recently played[1,2] with cppcheck. A small tool for static code
>>>>>>> analysis which actually found a few things in the geany-plugins
>>>>>>> repository.
>>>>>>> As I'm currently reworking the system to create the nightly builds,
>>>>>>> we
>>>>>>> could integrate such checks into the nightly builds, maybe run
>>>>>>> cppcheck
>>>>>>> on the sources after the builds and present the results somewhere on
>>>>>>> nightly.geany.org.
>>>>>> I think it's a good idea.
>>>>>> I did a few checks, and this is what I suggest:
>>>>>> 1) run cppcheck on `make check` and abort if it detects an error;
>>>>>> 2) enable by default (though in a portable manner) some compiler flags
>>>>>> such as -Werror-implicit-function-declaration [1] [2]
>>>>> After a little more thinking and testing, I suggest:
>>>>> * -Werror=implicit-function-declaration (see above);
>>>>> * -Werror=pointer-arith, to avoid portability issues with untyped
>>>>> pointer arithmetic;
>>>>> * -Wundef because preprocessor tests should rely on defined variables
>>>>> or
>>>>> explicitly use ifdef;
>>>>> * -Wshadow because shadowing symbols is a Bad Practice (and maybe it is
>>>>> even non-standard, not quite sure however);
>>>> Agree for shadow of locals and parameters, agree for globals but only
>>>> because all globals should be prefixed by a module prefix like the
>>>> Geany_ symbols are.  Is there any way to check this?
>>> Not that I know, unfortunately. However maybe a dumb sed/grep might do
>>> the trick.
>>>>> * -Waggregate-return because returning aggregate values is no good for
>>>>> performances and it's not a Good Practice in C;
>>>> Why isn't it good?  Performance should be as good if not better than
>>>> returning multiple parameters via pointers and then assembling the
>>>> aggregate in the caller.  Why isn't it Good Practice?? (your caps :-)
>>>> Its been standard ever since someone invented allocating the return
>>>> variable on the stack prior to the call, so it can be referenced
>>>> relative to the frame pointer.
>>> Well... I must admit I'm not really pro on the subject, but AFAIK the
>>> main problem is ABI, because since the return value will not necessarily
>>> fit in registers the compiler is likely to generate a dummy parameter to
>>> the function (as you might have done yourself), but this implicitly, so
>>> changing the "natural" ABI of the function.
>> Functions that return too much to fit in the registers should use the
>> stdcall ABI which defines an extra reference parameter for the
>> aggregate. (Or rather the compiler should use it).  There is no such
>> thing as a "natural" ABI that is corrupted by aggregate returns, there
>> are ABIs defined by Intel and other CPU makers for all the required
>> call/return patterns.  Yes its slower than returning something in a
>> register, but if you have got to return an aggregate value thats too
>> big you have to return it.  Might as well let the compiler do the
>> heavy lifting rather than having to declare a temporary and pass a
>> pointer to it as an explicit parameter or otherwise return the
>> components and assemble the aggregate in the caller.
> Returning an aggregate is exactly the same as manually allocating the
> aggregate and passing a pointer to the function (in order to let it fill the
> aggregate) on most if not all ABIs. Without any difference in performance.

Exactly, summarised beautifully.

> Of course the latter has the advantage that you can additionally return a
> failure indicating value (-1 or NULL) so this is why you generally don't see
> functions returning aggregates.

Yes, its the habit created by the standard libraries, and they did it
that way because C doesn't have an out-of-band signaling mechanism to
handle errors.  So its all K&Rs fault... :-)


> Best regards.
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