Fermi Physics Class Libraries Module: pretendToUse

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pretendToUse Mini-package

This mini-package provides a header pretendToUse.h, which defines a function template that allows the user to circumvent compiler warnings about an unused variable, at zero runtime cost.

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Purpose and Rationale
Using pretendToUse

Purpose and Rationale

Certain design patterns make use of variables whose mere instantiation accomplishes some goal. However, compilers may detect an instantiated and apparently unused variable and warn that this may indicate a mistake.

In cases where the developer knows that an instantiated variable will not subsequently be used within its scope, it is useful to have a way to supress that warning, but without the runtime cost of actually using the variable.

Because pretendToUse(T) is a template, it can deal with any type of object T. And because its body is inline and empty, "invoking" this function costs zero at runtime.

Using pretendToUse()

We illustrate the use for the following example method: The lines in blue are added to supress a warning that variable sentry is declared but never used.

	#include "myclasses/X.h"
	#include "mytools/Cleanup.h" 
	#include "ZMtools/pretendToUse.h"
	X::method() {
	  Cleanup sentry; // The destructor of sentry will trigger cleanup
	pretendToUse(sentry);
	// ... remainder of implementation  
}

Another case of some interest is that of an overloaded function. The example code below shows how to deal with that.

Suppose we have a function named myfun overloaded so as to accept either a float or a double argument, and returning void. For some legitimate reason, neither signature is being used. Then the following code fragment will inhibit the usual compiler warnings.

	  { void (*p)(float) = myfun;
	    pretendToUse(p); }

	  { void (*p)(double) = myfun;
	    pretendToUse(p); }
A bit of explanation is in order. Read the first line pair as "Declare p as a pointer to a function, myfun(float), which returns void and pretend to use this function." Then the second line pair says "Declare p as a pointer to a function, myfun(double), which returns void and pretend to use this function."

The curly braces around each line pair defines a scope for p so that we can use the same symbol in both cases.

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Walter Brown
Last modified: November 29, 2001.