[Bro-Dev] min() and max() problem in util.h

Gregor Maier gregor at icir.org
Wed Nov 24 09:35:46 PST 2010

On 11/24/10 8:06 , Robin Sommer wrote:
> On Wed, Nov 24, 2010 at 07:38 -0800, you wrote:
>> One could write a bunch of overloaded min/max function to handle all
>> kinds of argument types correctly.
> Actually I think that's the best solution, and I don't really see
> how it would cause hard to find bugs? min/max seems simple enough,
> and as long as we don't provide versions with mixed argument types,
> I think we should be fine. Or am I missing something nasty?

Let's say we want to support:
   * int min(int,int)
   * int32_t min(int32_t, int32_t)
   * int64_t min(int64_t, int64_t)
   * (also for unsigned, alo for max)

Depending on the architecture the int one and int32 and int64 will have
the same signature and yield a compiler warning. We can probably just
omit the int version though, right? Since either int32 or int64 would be
a int (depending on the platform), right?

What happens, if I pass an int32 and an int64 to min()? Will I get a
compiler error or will the compiler to some coercion?

Also, what happens, if somebody tries to compare unsigned and signed?
Compiler error? (I know that gcc warns if you try to compare signed and
unsigned, but I'm not sure what it would do when it tries to find a
matching function signature)

Finally, if one wants to use a constant in a min/max call, one should
cast it to the right type, right? (If it's not casted it might cause
compiler errors, if the a constant has different width on different


>>    min_i32(), min_u32(), min_u64(), min_64()....
> That looks pretty ugly, in particualr when overloading can solve the
> problem automatically. 

yeah. that's pretty ugly


(*) Now that I think of it I can't reacall the details of my problems
with overloaded functions. I remember though that I had a problem with
an overloaded function that would pick the wrong function due to
something strange with the function signature and the types I passed to
the function....
However, I think that it involved polymorphism.....
Long story short: I can't really come up with a case in which
overloading min/max would be a problem, as long as we get compiler
errors when somebody tries to use unsupported types.

Gregor Maier                                             gregor at icir.org
Int. Computer Science Institute (ICSI)          gregor at icsi.berkeley.edu
1947 Center St., Ste. 600                    http://www.icir.org/gregor/
Berkeley, CA 94704

More information about the bro-dev mailing list