Issue #14541 has been updated by Eregon (Benoit Daloze).


If changing class variables to no longer be inherited between classes is considered too hard for compatibility (but I'd like a real-world example),
how about at least removing the semantics that defining a class variable in a superclass removes class variables of the same name in all subclasses?

As said above, it seems no implementation but MRI implements that currently, showing how little Ruby code relies on that.
I argue it's also a very confusing behavior for the programmer, as illustrated by the examples in this bug description.
Defining a class variable at the top-level basically breaks encapsulation for all class variables of the same name, which sounds like something nobody wants.

I do believe much simpler semantics for class variables without inheriting between classes is what most Ruby developers want,
and I would be interested to see if there is any Ruby code using class variable inheritance on purpose.

----------------------------------------
Bug #14541: Class variables have broken semantics, let's fix them
https://bugs.ruby-lang.org/issues/14541#change-70931

* Author: Eregon (Benoit Daloze)
* Status: Open
* Priority: Normal
* Assignee: 
* Target version: 
* ruby -v: ruby 2.6.0dev (2018-01-29 trunk 62091) [x86_64-linux]
* Backport: 2.3: UNKNOWN, 2.4: UNKNOWN, 2.5: UNKNOWN
----------------------------------------
Class variables have the weird semantics of being tied to the class hierarchy and being inherited between classes.
I think this is counter-intuitive, dangerous and basically nobody expects this behavior.

To illustrate that, we can break the tmpdir stdlib by defining a top-level class variable:

    $ ruby -rtmpdir -e '$SAFE=1; @@systmpdir=42; p Dir.mktmpdir {}'
    -e:1: warning: class variable access from toplevel
    Traceback (most recent call last):
    	3: from -e:1:in `<main>'
    	2: from /home/eregon/prefix/ruby-trunk/lib/ruby/2.6.0/tmpdir.rb:86:in `mktmpdir'
    	1: from /home/eregon/prefix/ruby-trunk/lib/ruby/2.6.0/tmpdir.rb:125:in `create'
    /home/eregon/prefix/ruby-trunk/lib/ruby/2.6.0/tmpdir.rb:125:in `join': no implicit conversion of Integer into String (TypeError)

Or even simpler in RubyGems:

    $ ruby -e '@@all=42; p Gem.ruby_version'
    -e:1: warning: class variable access from toplevel
    Traceback (most recent call last):
    	3: from -e:1:in `<main>'
    	2: from /home/eregon/prefix/ruby-trunk/lib/ruby/2.6.0/rubygems.rb:984:in `ruby_version'
    	1: from /home/eregon/prefix/ruby-trunk/lib/ruby/2.6.0/rubygems/version.rb:199:in `new'
    /home/eregon/prefix/ruby-trunk/lib/ruby/2.6.0/rubygems/version.rb:199:in `[]': no implicit conversion of String into Integer (TypeError)

So defining a class variable on Object removes class variables in all classes inheriting from Object.
Maybe @@systmpdir is not so prone to conflict, but how about @@identifier, @@context, @@locales, @@sequence, @@all, etc which are class variables of the standard library?

Moreover, class variables are extremely complex to implement correctly and very difficult to optimize due to the complex semantics.
In fact, none of JRuby, TruffleRuby, Rubinius and MRuby implement the "setting a class var on Object removes class vars in subclasses".
It seems all implementations but MRI print :foo twice here (instead of :foo :toplevel for MRI):

~~~ ruby
class Foo
  @@cvar = :foo
  def self.read
    @@cvar
  end
end

p Foo.read
@@cvar = :toplevel
p Foo.read
~~~


Is there any library actually taking advantage that class variables are inherited between classes? I would guess not or very few.
Therefore, I propose to give class variable intuitive semantics: no inheritance, they behave just like variables of that specific class, much like class-level instance variables (but separate for compatibility).

Another option is to remove them completely, but that's likely too hard for compatibility.

Thoughts?



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