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Re: [PATCH 1/3]: Add named references

On Thu, Feb 9, 2023 at 12:49 PM Oliver Kiddle <opk@xxxxxxx> wrote:
> The following is similar:
>   var=hello
>   typeset -n ref
>   () {
>     typeset var=x
>     ref=var
>     echo $ref
>   }
>   typeset -p ref
>   echo $ref
> This creates a reference to a variable at a deeper local level.

Only in a pointers/refcounting implementation.  With the assumption of
dynamic scoping, it creates a reference to a name, where the scope
search for the name starts at a lower level.  If that name doesn't
exist at that level (because the whole level doesn't exist any more),
the search climbs up.  So I get with set -x (and a couple of
in-progress patches for looping references):

+Src/zsh:15> var=hello
+Src/zsh:16> typeset -n ref
+Src/zsh:17> '(anon)'
+(anon):1> typeset var=x
+(anon):2> ref=var
+(anon):3> echo x
+Src/zsh:22> typeset -p ref
typeset -n ref=var
+Src/zsh:23> echo hello

If I add

  () {
   typeset var=y
   echo $ref
   () {
     typeset var=z
     echo $ref

I get

+Src/zsh:24> '(anon)'
+(anon):0> typeset var=y
+(anon):0> echo y
+(anon):1> '(anon)'
+(anon):0> typeset var=z
+(anon):0> echo y

> The best might be if ref returns to being
> unset when the function returns but an error like ksh is fine too.

I'm not sure how to do that without scanning the whole parameter
table, but I agree it the above is a little puzzling.

> Ksh prints "global reference cannot refer to local variable".

At what point does that happen?  Upon the assignment ref=var ?

Relatedly, what should happen on any failed assignment?  E.g.

typeset -n xy yx
xy=yx  # OK so far
yx=xy  # Oops, invalid loop

Should yx become unset, or should it remain a nameref with no referent?

> > The rule for a private should be that you always
> > pass its value.
> I hadn't really thought about it that way, perhaps because ksh only
> has private scoping and I'm used to writing in languages that only
> have lexical scoping. Certainly if it is hard to implement, I have no
> objection to this approach.

("This approach" meaning "no public refs to private vars"?)  I haven't
tried anything else yet to see how hard it might be.

> We do lose some orthogonality in
> that you can use a private with builtins that take variable names like
> read, compadd and printf (-v). Wrappers of those would have an added
> limitation.

That's true of private already, isn't it?

> When relying only on dynamic scoping, it would be good practice to
> define all the namerefs to passed parameters as early as possible in a
> function to reduce the risk of a name clash.

If you were going to put that in the doc, where would it go?

> It isn't about the positionals being special but that it is useful to be
> able to write a function that exposes an interface similar to read where
> a variable can be named as a parameter. Ksh's making $1, $2.. special
> on the rhs of typeset -n really is very ugly.

This works for my code in current state:

% var=GLOBAL
% typeset -n ref=var
% f() {
function> typeset -n ref=$1
function> print $ref
function> ref=LOCAL
function> }
% f ref
% print $ref

> >   f2 \&var
> My intention with that suggestion is that you'd only do that to refer to
> $var from the scope of f1's caller. So in practice that'd sooner be
> something like \&$3. For this, it'd be just `f2 var` and f2() would
> declare `private -n mine=\&1`

Yeah, I don't like the idea that a called function can arbitrarily
grab parameters from its caller just by sticking & in front.  Caller
needs to do do something (even if only make "normal" use of dynamic
scope) to make the parameter "grabbable".

> > With a hash that's just:
> >
> >   typeset -n ref
> >   for ref in 'hash[(e)'${(k)^hash[(R)?*]}']'; do ...
> "just"!?

Hah!  Point was that it's do-able without "for"-context-sensitive
special subscript semantics.  I think it would be strange for

ary=( 1 2 3 4 5 )
typeset -n ref='ary[*]
ref=( a b c)

to produce something different than

ary=( 1 2 3 4 5 )
typeset -n ref
for ref in 'ary{*]'; do ref=( a b c ); done

> > > And it could be wise to limit what can be done as part of the
> > > subscript evaluation to avoid a CVE similar to the last one.
> >
> > validate_refname() is calling parse_subscript() ... would further
> > examination of the accepted string be sufficient, or something more
> > needed?  I think the greatest danger is of creating an infinite
> > recursion, which can't really be caught in advance.
> So if a function gets the target of a nameref from untrusted input the
> function writer needs to know to validate it

No, I meant, would examining the subscript string in the C code be sufficient.

> This should be an error perhaps:
>   typeset -n ref=arr[1][2]

Why?  ${ary[1][2]} isn't an error, it's the 2nd character of the first
word in $ary.

You can keep throwing subscripts on there as long as the resulting
substrings can be indexed-into.

print ${ary[1][3,9][4]} # etc.

> Currently it isn't possible to create a reference fo $!, $?, $@, $+, $#
> and $$. If easy to add, there would be no harm in them.

You can make references to argv and ARGC, but they always refer to the
current argv/ARGC because of the aforementioned implementation of
positionals as C locals.  $* $@ $# would have the same issues.

The others would all have to be special-cased individually.  What is
$+ ?  Do you mean $- ?

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