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Requirements on asynchronous operations

This section uses the names Alloc1, Alloc2, alloc1, alloc2, Args, CompletionHandler, completion_handler, Executor1, Executor2, ex1, ex2, f, i, N, Signatures, token, initiation, Initiation, T[sub i], t[sub i], work1, and work2 as placeholders for specifying the requirements below.

General asynchronous operation concepts

An initiating function is a function which may be called to start an asynchronous operation. A completion handler is a function object that will be invoked, at most once, with the result of the asynchronous operation.

The lifecycle of an asynchronous operation is comprised of the following events and phases:

— Event 1: The asynchronous operation is started by a call to the initiating function.

— Phase 1: The asynchronous operation is now outstanding.

— Event 2: The externally observable side effects of the asynchronous operation, if any, are fully established. The completion handler is submitted to an executor.

— Phase 2: The asynchronous operation is now completed.

— Event 3: The completion handler is called with the result of the asynchronous operation.

In this library, all functions with the prefix async_ are initiating functions.

Completion tokens and handlers

Initiating functions:

— are function templates with template parameter CompletionToken;

— accept, as the final parameter, a completion token object token of type CompletionToken;

— specify one or more completion signatures, referred to below as a variadic pack of call signatures (C++Std [func.def]) Signatures, that determine the possible argument sets to the completion handler.

In this library, initiating functions specify a Completion signature element that defines the call signatures Signatures. The Completion signature elements in this library may have named parameters, and the results of an asynchronous operation may be specified in terms of these names.

Completion token behaviour is determined through specialisation of the async_result trait. These specialisations must have the form:

template <class CompletionToken, class... Signatures>
struct async_result
{
  template<
      class Initiation,
      class RawCompletionToken,
      class... Args
    >
  static initiating-fn-return-type initiate(
      Initiation&& initiation,
      RawCompletionToken&& token,
      Args&&... args
    );
};

An async_result specialisation’s implementation of the initiate() static member function must:

This invocation of initiation may be immediate, or it may be deferred (e.g. to support lazy evaluation). If initiation is deferred, the initiation and args... objects must be decay-copied and moved as required.

The async_result trait must be specialised for the decayed type of a CompletionToken. A helper function template async_initiate is provided to simplify correct invocation of async_result<>::initiate for the appropriate specialisation:

template<
    class CompletionToken,
    completion_signature... Signatures,
    class Initiation,
    class... Args
  >
DEDUCED async_initiate(
    Initiation&& initiation,
    CompletionToken& token,
    Args&&... args
  );

[Note: No other requirements are placed on the type CompletionToken. —end note]

Automatic deduction of initiating function return type

An initiating function returns async_initiate<CompletionToken, Signatures...>(initiation, token, unspecified-args...), where initiation is a function object of unspecified type Initiation, which is defined as:

class Initiation
{
public:
  using executor_type = Executor; // optional
  executor_type get_executor() const noexcept; // optional

  template <class CompletionHandler, unspecified-args...>
    void operator()(CompletionHandler&& completion_handler, unspecified-args...) const;
};

For the sake of exposition, this library sometimes annotates functions with a return type DEDUCED. For every function declaration that returns DEDUCED, the meaning is equivalent to an automatically deduced return type, having the type of the expression async_initiate<CompletionToken, Signatures...>(initiation, token, unspecified-args...).

[Example: Given an asynchronous operation with a single Completion signature void(R1 r1, R2 r2), an initiating function meeting these requirements may be implemented as follows:

template<class CompletionToken>
auto async_xyz(T1 t1, T2 t2, CompletionToken&& token)
{
  return async_initiate<CompletionToken, void(R1, R2)>(
      [](auto completion_handler, T1 t1, T2 t2)
      {
        // initiate the operation and cause completion_handler to be invoked
        // with the result
      }, token, std::move(t1), std::move(t2));
}

The concepts completion_token_for and completion_handler_for may also be used to improve compile-time diagnostics:

template<completion_token_for<void(R1, R2)> CompletionToken>
auto async_xyz(T1 t1, T2 t2, CompletionToken&& token)
{
  return async_initiate<CompletionToken, void(R1, R2)>(
      [](completion_handler_for<void(R1, R2)> auto completion_handler, T1 t1, T2 t2)
      {
        // initiate the operation and cause completion_handler to be invoked
        // with the result
      }, token, std::move(t1), std::move(t2));
}

Initiation functions may also be implemented using the async_result trait directly:

template<class CompletionToken>
auto async_xyz(T1 t1, T2 t2, CompletionToken&& token)
{
  return async_result<decay_t<CompletionToken>, void(R1, R2)>::initiate(
      [](auto completion_handler, T1 t1, T2 t2)
      {
        // initiate the operation and cause completion_handler to be invoked
        // with the result
      }, forward<CompletionToken>(token), std::move(t1), std::move(t2));
}

Note the use of decay_t and forward applied to the CompletionToken type. However, the first form is preferred as it preserves compatibility with legacy completion token requirements.

end example]

Lifetime of initiating function arguments

Unless otherwise specified, the lifetime of arguments to initiating functions shall be treated as follows:

— If the parameter has a pointer type or has a type of lvalue reference to non-const, the implementation may assume the validity of the pointee or referent, respectively, until the completion handler is invoked. [Note: In other words, the program must guarantee the validity of the argument until the completion handler is invoked. —end note]

— Otherwise, the implementation must not assume the validity of the argument after the initiating function completes. [Note: In other words, the program is not required to guarantee the validity of the argument after the initiating function completes. —end note] The implementation may make copies of the argument, and all copies shall be destroyed no later than immediately after invocation of the completion handler.

Non-blocking requirements on initiating functions

An initiating function shall not block (C++Std [defns.block]) the calling thread pending completion of the outstanding operation.

[Note: Initiating functions may still block the calling thread for other reasons. For example, an initiating function may lock a mutex in order to synchronize access to shared data. —end note]

Associated executor

Certain objects that participate in asynchronous operations have an associated executor. These are obtained as specified in the sections below.

Associated I/O executor

An asynchronous operation has an associated executor satisfying the Executor requirements. If not otherwise specified by the asynchronous operation, this associated executor is an object of type system_executor.

All asynchronous operations in this library have an associated executor object that is determined as follows:

— If the initiating function is a member function, the associated executor is that returned by the get_executor member function on the same object.

— If the initiating function is not a member function, the associated executor is that returned by the get_executor member function of the first argument to the initiating function.

The operation's associated I/O executor may be exposed via the Initiation function object's executor_type type alias and get_executor() member function.

Let Executor1 be the type of the associated executor. Let ex1 be a value of type Executor1, representing the associated executor object obtained as described above.

Associated completion handler executor

A completion handler object of type CompletionHandler has an associated executor of type Executor2 satisfying the Executor requirements. The type Executor2 is associated_executor_t<CompletionHandler, Executor1>. Let ex2 be a value of type Executor2 obtained by performing get_associated_executor(completion_handler, ex1).

Outstanding work

Until the asynchronous operation has completed, the asynchronous operation shall maintain:

— an object work1 of type executor_work_guard<Executor1>, initialized as work1(ex1), and where work1.owns_work() == true; and

— an object work2 of type executor_work_guard<Executor2>, initialized as work2(ex2), and where work2.owns_work() == true.

Allocation of intermediate storage

Asynchronous operations may allocate memory. [Note: Such as a data structure to store copies of the completion_handler object and the initiating function's arguments. —end note]

Let Alloc1 be a type, satisfying the ProtoAllocator requirements, that represents the asynchronous operation's default allocation strategy. [Note: Typically std::allocator<void>. —end note] Let alloc1 be a value of type Alloc1.

A completion handler object of type CompletionHandler has an associated allocator object alloc2 of type Alloc2 satisfying the ProtoAllocator requirements. The type Alloc2 is associated_allocator_t<CompletionHandler, Alloc1>. Let alloc2 be a value of type Alloc2 obtained by performing get_associated_allocator(completion_handler, alloc1).

The asynchronous operations defined in this library:

— If required, allocate memory using only the completion handler's associated allocator.

— Prior to completion handler execution, deallocate any memory allocated using the completion handler's associated allocator.

[Note: The implementation may perform operating system or underlying API calls that perform memory allocations not using the associated allocator. Invocations of the allocator functions may not introduce data races (See C++Std [res.on.data.races]). —end note]

Execution of completion handler on completion of asynchronous operation

Let Args... be the argument types of a completion signature in Signatures... and let N be sizeof...(Args). Let i be in the range [0,N). Let T[sub i] be the ith type in Args... and let t[sub i] be the ith completion handler argument associated with T[sub i].

Let f be a function object, callable as f(), that invokes completion_handler as if by completion_handler(forward<T[sub 0]>(t[sub 0]), ..., forward<T[sub N-1]>(t[sub N-1])).

If an asynchonous operation completes immediately (that is, within the thread of execution calling the initiating function, and before the initiating function returns), the completion handler shall be submitted for execution as if by performing post(ex2, std::move(f), alloc2). Otherwise, the completion handler shall be submitted for execution as if by performing dispatch(ex2, std::move(f), alloc2).

Completion handlers and exceptions

Completion handlers are permitted to throw exceptions. The effect of any exception propagated from the execution of a completion handler is determined by the executor which is executing the completion handler.

Default completion tokens

Every I/O executor type has an associated default completion token type. This is specified via the default_completion_token trait. This trait may be used in asynchronous operation declarations as follows:

template <
    typename IoObject,
    typename CompletionToken =
      typename default_completion_token<
        typename IoObject::executor_type
      >::type
  >
auto async_xyz(
    IoObject& io_object,
    CompletionToken&& token =
      typename default_completion_token<
        typename IoObject::executor_type
      >::type{}
  );

If not specialised, this trait type is void, meaning no default completion token type is available for the given I/O executor.

[Example: The default_completion_token trait is specialised for the use_awaitable completion token so that it may be used as shown in the following example:

auto socket = use_awaitable.as_default_on(tcp::socket(my_context));
// ...
co_await socket.async_connect(my_endpoint); // Defaults to use_awaitable.

In this example, the type of the socket object is transformed from tcp::socket to have an I/O executor with the default completion token set to use_awaitable.

Alternatively, the socket type may be computed directly:

using tcp_socket = use_awaitable_t<>::as_default_on_t<tcp::socket>;
tcp_socket socket(my_context);
// ...
co_await socket.async_connect(my_endpoint); // Defaults to use_awaitable.

end example]


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