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status_result and status_outcome

status_result and status_outcome are type aliases to basic_result<T, E, NoValuePolicy> and basic_outcome<T, EC, EP, NoValuePolicy> in the usual way, but with a defaulted NoValuePolicy which selects on the basis of status_code<DomainType> instead.


If the E type is not some status_code<>, the default policy selector will complain.

The specifications are:

experimental::status_result<T, E = experimental::system_code>
experimental::status_outcome<T, E = experimental::system_code, EP = std::exception_ptr>

So, the default E is the erased status code system_code, which can represent any generic_code, posix_code, win32_code, nt_code, com_code and many other integer error and status codings. Note that system_code may represent successes as well as failures. This mirrors, somewhat, how std::error_code can have an all bits zero defaulted state.

You can absolutely choose an E type which is non-erased e.g. posix_code directly. You can also choose an E type which is contract guaranteed to be a failure rather than an unknown success or failure – see errored_status_code.

Whether to choose typed status codes versus the erased status codes depends on your use cases. Outcome replicates faithfully the implicit and explicit conversion semantics of its underlying types, so you can mix results and outcomes of <system_error2> types exactly as you can the <system_error2> types themselves e.g. typed forms will implicitly convert into erased forms if the source type is trivially copyable or move relocating. This means that you can return a generic_code from a function returning a system_code or error, and it’ll work exactly as you’d expect (implicit conversion).


As status_code<erased<T>> is move-only, so is any status_result or status_outcome. For some reason this surprises a lot of people, and they tend to react by not using the erased form because it seems “difficult”.

It is actually, in fact, a wise discipline to follow to make all functions return move-only types if you care about determinism and performance. Whilst C++ 17 onwards does much to have the compiler avoid copying of identical function return values thanks to guaranteed copy elision, when a chain of functions return different types, if the programmer forgets to scatter std::move() appropriately, copies rather than moves tend to occur in non-obvious ways. No doubt future C++ standards will improve on the automatic use of moves instead of copies where possible, but until then making all your result and outcome types move-only is an excellent discipline.

Note that move-only result and outcome capable code (i.e. your project is in Experimental Outcome configuration) usually compiles fine when result and outcome are copyable (i.e. your project is in Standard Outcome configuration), albeit sometimes with a few compiler warnings about unnecessary use of std::move().

Last revised: February 05, 2019 at 17:14:18 UTC

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