Is std::exception_ptr nothrow constructible and assignable?

Raymond Chen

When I was writing my series on awaitable signals and coroutine promises, I had to investigate a few details of the language specification, like why coroutine_handle::resume() is potentially-throwing. Another detail I had to investigate was whether std::exception_ptr was potentially-throwing in its constructors and assignment operators.

The answer is No, but you have to chase through the language specification a bit.

The exception_ptr is introduced in the C++ language specification under [propagation], and it says that exception_ptr is a NullablePointer¹ but otherwise says nothing about exceptions.

Chase through to [nullablepointer.requirements], which spells out the various operations that must be supported. It says, for example, that the object must satisfy Cpp17CopyConstructible (or CopyConstructible, as calls it), but if you follow that definition, there is still no mention of exceptions.

But the magic sentence is right there. You just overlooked it.

Back in the definition of NullablePointer, it says,

4 No operation which is part of the NullablePointer requirements shall exit via an exception.

So there it is. The exception_ptr, or more generally, anything that satisfies NullablePointer, is nothrow comparable, constructible, assignable, destructible, swappable, and testable.

¹ Starting in C++20, these requirements have been renamed Cpp17NullablePointer, Cpp17CopyConstructible, etc.


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  • Sumit Bhardwaj 0

    Now, that’s some excellent language-lawyering. 🙂 Thank you!

    • Erik Fjeldstrom 0

      And now to see how many implementations follow the rules to the letter! (Compilers and libraries have gotten a lot better at this over time.)

      • Jonathan Wilson 0

        The people doing the C++ implementation for Visual C++ seem to do everything possible to meet the standard (AFAIK the only times they deviate from the standard is because of limitations in Windows that prevent proper standard implementation or because they need to remain ABI compatible)

  • IS4 0

    It’s like the subtle sentence in XML Schema that makes xs:hexBinary and xs:base64Binary semantically disjoint.

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