[m-rev.] a question about accessibility rules and error messages

Julien Fischer jfischer at opturion.com
Wed Mar 20 21:56:25 AEDT 2019

On Wed, 20 Mar 2019, Zoltan Somogyi wrote:

> I would like to change the rules for accessibility of ancestor modules.
> If a module imports module x.y.z, then in principle we require that
> it  must also import x.y and x. We use those imports to check that
> x does indeed include a submodule named x.y, and that x.y has
> a submodule named x.y.z. (In the rest of this email, "import" includes
> use_modules as well.)
> The problem is our current method of enforcement. When we are
> trying to enforce this rule, we use as input a database of import_module
> and use_module declarations from the entire augmented compilation unit,
> which includes, besides the source code of the module being compiled,
> everything we have read from .int, .int2, .int0 and .int3 files, as well as
> from .opt and .trans_opt files. This means that if w.m imports x.y.z
> but does not import x.y, whether we get an error message depends on
> whether any of these *other* files happens to import x.y. If one does,
> the error goes undiagnosed, until such time, possibly much later, when
> that other module deletes its import of x.y. In this way, w.m can go
> from apparently not containing accessibility errors to visibly containing
> them *without being modified*.
> I can fix  this one of two ways. One way is to fix the enforcement;
> base the check on the contents of the source file only. In fact, the
> check should to be done twice, once for the interface and once for
> the implementation, because if w.m imports x.y.z in the interface,
> it should import x and x.y in the interface as well. (The reverse is
> not true; if w.m imports x.y.z in the implementation section, it does not
> matter in which section it imports x.y.)
> The other way is to drop the requirement for the *explicit* inclusion
> of ancestor modules, and make the compiler import them implicitly.
> The second approach has the benefit of requiring less typing.
> The first approach has the benefit that it is more canonical:
> given a set of module imports, there is only one way to make that set
> ancestor-complete (i.e. to ensure that for every imported module,
> all its ancestors are imported as well), and the first approach requires it,
> while the second approach permits non-ancestor-complete sets of imports,
> of which there are many.
> I have a slight preference for the first fix, but could easily live with the second.

I prefer the first fix.

> If we choose the first fix, then I would propose a change in the diagnostic
> we generate for violations. At the moment, we generate a message of
> this form for every import of a module that is inaccessible:
>  very_long_name.m:123: In module `very_long_name':
>  very_long_name.m:123:   error in `import_module' declaration:
>  very_long_name.m:123:   module `parent_module.sub_module' is inaccessible.
> This means that if e.g. you import ten submodules of the parse_tree package,
> you will get ten such messages, even though there is only one bug: the
> absence of an import of parse_tree itself. I propose to change things
> so that instead of generating one message per *inaccessible* module import,
> we generate one message per *missing* module import. The message would
> of course list the currently-inaccessible modules that the absence of
> this import *makes* inaccessible.
> Opinions?

Seems fine to e.


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