Quick Q: Why doesn't c++ have a specified order for evaluating function arguments?

Quick A: In order to get the best performance.

recently on SO:

Why doesn't c++ have a specified order for evaluating function arguments?

C++ leaves as much as practical up to the implementation of the compiler, especially where optimization opportunities might occur. Before fixing something like this, existing compiler writers are consulted to see if there is a cost.

Some order of evaluation guarantees surrounding overloaded operators and complete-argument rules where added in C++17. But it remains that which argument goes first is left unspecified. In C++17, it is now specified that the expression giving what to call (the code on the left of the ( of the function call) goes before the arguments, and whichever argument is evaluated first is evaluated fully before the next one is started, and in the case of an object method the value of the object is evaluated before the arguments to the method are. (There may be some minor errors in this description: ask a narrow question about it for a more vetted answer).

These where vetted and determined to not cause significant prolems for existing compilers. Reordering of arguments was considered, and discarded, presumably for good reasons. Or even poor reasons, like existing compilers have a default order and it could break (possibly non-compliant) code on that compiler to force them all to do it in one global order.

In short, C++ leaves lots of freedom to compiler writers. This has let compiler writers find optimization opportunities in strange crannies. The kind of optimizations available today are way beyond what the original writers of C++, let alone C++, may have suspected where practical or be considered reasonable.

Add a Comment

Comments are closed.

Comments (0)

There are currently no comments on this entry.