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Thursday, May 18 • 2:30pm - 4:00pm
Implementing `variant` visitation using lambdas

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The addition of `std::variant` to the upcoming C++17 standard will introduce a "type-safe sum type" to the Standard Library.
Variants model a "choice between types" - they essentially are type-safe "tagged unions".

The interface they expose, however, is often more cumbersome to use than it needs to be: defining exhaustive visitors requires the user to create a class with several `operator()` overloads, or to create a chain of `if constexpr(...)` calls. Both solutions are not very elegant.

After a brief overview of `std::variant` and its usefulness, this talk will focus on the implementation of a "lambda-based in-place visitation" approach, where the user can visit a variant by simply providing a set of lambdas on the spot. This will require implementing a way of overloading arbitrary function objects.

Recursive variant types will then be covered and the "lambda-based" visitation techniques will be applied to them. This will require implementing the "Y combinator" higher-order function to achieve zero-runtime-overhead lambda recursion.

This talk is intended for developers familiar with C++11 and C++14 core language features (lambdas, variadic templates, `auto`, etc...). Prior knowledge of `std::variant` or sum types is not required.

avatar for Vittorio Romeo

Vittorio Romeo

Software Engineer, Bloomberg LP
Vittorio Romeo is an Italian 22 year old Software Engineer at Bloomberg LP. He completed his Bachelor's degree in Computer Science at "Università degli Studi di Messina". | | He began programming at a very young age and is now a C++ enthusiast. While following the evolution... Read More →

Thursday May 18, 2017 2:30pm - 4:00pm

Attendees (12)