An unsafe function-like macro is one that, when expanded, evaluates its argument more than once or does not evaluate it at all. Contrasted with function calls, which always evaluate each of their arguments exactly once, unsafe function-like macros often have unexpected and surprising effects and lead to subtle, hard-to-find defects (see PRE31-C. Avoid side effects in arguments to unsafe macros). Consequently, every function-like macro should evaluate each of its arguments exactly once. Alternatively and preferably, defining function-like macros should be avoided in favor of inline functions (see PRE00-C. Prefer inline or static functions to function-like macros).
Noncompliant Code Example (Multiple Argument Evaluation)
The most severe problem with unsafe function-like macros is side effects of macro arguments, as shown in this noncompliant code example:
The invocation of the
ABS() macro in this noncompliant code example expands to the following code. The resulting code has well-defined behavior but causes
n to be incremented twice rather than once, which may be surprising to those unfamiliar with the implementation of the macro or unaware that they are using a macro in the first place.
Compliant Solution (Inline Function)
A possible and preferable compliant solution is to define an inline function with equivalent but unsurprising semantics:
Compliant Solution (Language Extension)
Some implementations provide language extensions that make it possible to define safe function-like macros, such as the macro
ABS(), that would otherwise require evaluating their arguments more than once. For example, the GCC extension Statements and Declarations in Expressions makes it possible to implement the macro
ABS() in a safe way. Note, however, that because relying on implementation-defined extensions introduces undesirable platform dependencies that may make the resulting code nonportable, such solutions should be avoided in favor of portable ones wherever possible (see MSC14-C. Do not introduce unnecessary platform dependencies).
Another GCC extension known as statement expression makes it possible for the block statement to appear where an expression is expected. The statement expression extension establishes a scope (note the curly braces) and any declarations in it are distinct from those in enclosing scopes.
Defining an unsafe macro leads to invocations of the macro with an argument that has side effects, causing those side effects to occur more than once. Unexpected or undefined program behavior can result.
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|LDRA tool suite|
|562 S, 572 S, 35 D, 1 Q||Partially implemented|