Slice Metadata Directives

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General Metadata Directives

amd

This directive applies to interfaces, classes, and individual operations. It enables code generation for asynchronous method dispatch. (See the relevant language mapping chapter for details.)

delegate

This directive applies only to local interfaces with one operation. Interfaces with this metadata will be generated as a std::function in C++, a delegate in C#, and an interface with one operation (usable as a FunctionalInterface for Java 8) in Java.

deprecate

This directive allows you to emit a deprecation warning for Slice constructs.

ice-prefix

This global directive allows the use of identifiers that start with the reserved prefix Ice (or ICEice etc.). Only Slice files provided by Ice should use this directive.

format

This directive defines the encoding format used for any classes or exceptions marshaled as the arguments or results of an operation. The tag can be applied to an interface, which affects all of its operations, or to individual operations. Legal values for the tag are format:sliced, format:compact, and format:default. A tag specified for an operation overrides any setting applied to its enclosing interface. The Ice.Default.SlicedFormat property defines the behavior when no tag is present.

marshaled-result

This directive changes the return type of servant methods so that a servant can force its results to be marshaled immediately in a thread-safe manner. Refer to the relevant server-side language mapping sections for more information on the rules for parameter passing.

preserve-slice

This directive applies to classes and exceptions, allowing an intermediary to forward an instance of the annotated type, or any of its subtypes, with all of its slices intact. Operations that transfer such types must be annotated with format:sliced. It is not necessary to repeat the preserve-slice tag on derived types, but you may wish to do so for documentation purposes.

protected

This directive applies to data members of classes and changes code generation to make these members protected. See class mapping of the relevant language mapping chapter for more information.

suppress-warning

This global directive allows to suppress Slice compiler warnings. It applies to all definitions in the Slice file that includes this directive. If one or more categories are specified (for example "suppress-warning:invalid-metadata" or "suppress-warning:deprecated, invalid-metadata") only warnings matching these categories will be suppressed, otherwise all warnings are suppressed. The categories are described in the following table:

Suppress Warning Category Description
all Suppress all Slice compiler warnings. Equivalent to [["suppress-warning"]].
deprecated Suppress warnings related to deprecated features.
invalid-metadata Suppress warnings related to invalid metadata.

underscore

This global directive allows the use of identifiers with underscores. It applies to all definitions in the Slice file that includes this directive.

Metadata Directives for C++

The Slice to C++ compiler understands three C++ metadata prefixes: cpp, cpp11 and cpp98. Most C++ metadata directives can be specified with either one of the prefixes.

cpp11 and cpp98 directives applies only to their respective mapping. A cpp metadata directive applies to both mappings, and can be overridden by the same directive with cpp98 or cpp11.  For example:

Slice
["cpp:type:MyType", "cpp11:type:MyNewType"] sequence<byte> ByteSeq;

maps ByteSeq to MyType with the C++98 mapping, and to MyNewType with the C++11 mapping.

cpp:array

This directive applies to sequence parameters in operations. It directs the code generator to map these parameters to pairs of pointers.

cpp:class

This directive applies to structures. It directs the code generator to create a C++ class (instead of a C++ structure) to represent a Slice structure. This is a C++98-only metadata: it has no effect with the C++11 mapping.

cpp:comparable

This directive applies to structures. It directs the code generator to generate comparison operators for a structure regardless of whether it qualifies as a legal dictionary key type. This is a C++98-only metadata: it has no effect with the C++11 mapping.

cpp:const

This directive applies to operations. It directs the code generator to create a const pure virtual member function for the skeleton class.

cpp:dll-export:SYMBOL

This global directive applies to all definitions in a Slice file.

Use SYMBOL to control the export and import of symbols from DLLs on Windows and dynamic shared libraries on other platforms. This option allows you to export symbols from the generated code, and place such generated code in a DLL (on Windows) or shared library (on other platforms). As an example, compiling a Slice file Widget.ice with:

Slice
[["cpp:dll-export:WIDGET_API"]]

results in the following additional code being generated into Widget.h:

C++
#ifndef WIDGET_API
#   if defined(ICE_STATIC_LIBS)
#       define WIDGET_API /**/
#   ifdef WIDGET_API_EXPORTS
#       define WIDGET_API ICE_DECLSPEC_EXPORT
#   else
#       define WIDGET_API ICE_DECLSPEC_IMPORT
#   endif
#endif

The generated code also includes the provided SYMBOL name (WIDGET_API in our example) in the declaration of classes and functions that need to be exported (when building a DLL or dynamic library) or imported (when using such library).  

ICE_DECLSPEC_EXPORT and ICE_DECLSPEC_IMPORT are macros that expand to compiler-specific attributes. For example, for Visual Studio, they are defined as:

C++
#if defined(_MSC_VER)
#   define ICE_DECLSPEC_EXPORT __declspec(dllexport)
#   define ICE_DECLSPEC_IMPORT __declspec(dllimport)

With GCC and clang, they are defined as:

C++
#elif defined(__GNUC__) || defined(__clang__)
#   define ICE_DECLSPEC_EXPORT __attribute__((visibility ("default")))
#   define ICE_DECLSPEC_IMPORT __attribute__((visibility ("default")))

The generated .cpp file (Widget.cpp in our example) defines SYMBOL_EXPORTS; this way, you don't need to do anything special when compiling generated files. 

cpp:header-ext

This global directive allows you to use a file extension for C++ header files other than the default .h extension.

cpp:ice_print

This directive applies to exceptions. It directs the code generator to declare (but not implement) an ice_print member function that overrides the ice_print virtual function inherited from an Ice base class. The application must provide the implementation of this ice_print function.

cpp:include

This global directive allows you inject additional #include directives into the generated code. This is useful for custom types.

cpp:noexcept

This directive applies only to operations on local interfaces. When specified, the generated C++ pure virtual function declaration will carry the noexcept specifier (C++11) or the ICE_NOEXCEPT macro (C++98). ICE_NOEXCEPT expands to noexcept or throw() depending the C++ compiler and C++ compilation flags.

cpp:range

This directive applies to sequence parameters in operations.  It directs the code generator to map these parameters to pairs of iteratorsThis is a C++98-only metadata direcetive: it has no effect with the C++11 mapping.

cpp:scoped

This directive applies to enumerations. It directs the code generator to use the enumeration's name as prefix for all generated C++ enumerators. This is a C++98-only metadata directive: it has no effect on the C++11 mapping. See also cpp:unscoped below.

cpp:source-ext

This global directive allows you to use a file extension for C++ source files other than the default .cpp extension.

cpp:type:c++-type

This directive applies to sequences and dictionaries. It directs the code generator to map the Slice type or parameter to the provided C++ type. 

cpp:type:string and cpp:type:wstring

These directives apply to data members of type string as well as to containers, such as structures, classes and exceptions. String members map by default to std::string. You can use the cpp:type:wstring metadata to cause a string data member (or all string data members in a structure, class or exception) to map to std::wstring instead. Use the cpp:type:string metadata to force string members to use the default mapping regardless of any enclosing metadata.

Slice
module A
{
    ["cpp:type:wstring"] struct Struct1
    {
        string s1; // Maps to std::wstring
        ["cpp:type:string"] string s2; // Maps to std::string
    }
}

cpp:unscoped

This directive applies to enumerations. It directs the code generator to create an old-type unscoped C++ enumeration instead of a scoped enumeration (enum class). This is a C++11-only directive: it has no effect on the C++98 mapping. See also cpp:scoped above.

cpp:view-type:c++-view-type

This directive applies to string, sequence and dictionary parameters. It directs the code generator to map this parameter to the provided C++ type when this parameter does not need to hold any memory, for example when mapping an in-parameter to a proxy function.

cpp:virtual

This directive applies to classes with the C++98 mapping only. It has no effect with the C++11 mapping. If the directive is present and a class has base classes, the generated C++ class derives virtually from its bases; without this directive, slice2cpp generates the class so it derives non-virtually from its bases.

This directive is useful if you use Slice classes as servants and want to inherit the implementation of operations in the base class in the derived class. For example:

Slice
class Base
{
    int baseOp();
}

["cpp:virtual"]
class Derived extends Base
{
    string derivedOp();
}

The metadata directive causes slice2cpp to generate the class definition for Derived using virtual inheritance:

C++98
class Base : public virtual Ice::Object
{
    // ...
};

class Derived : public virtual Base
{
    // ...
};

This allows you to reuse the implementation of baseOp in the servant for Derived using ladder inheritance:

C++98
class BaseI : public virtual Base
{
    Ice::Int baseOp(const Ice::Current&);
    // ...
};

class DerivedI : public virtual Derived, public virtual BaseI
{
    // Re-use inherited baseOp()
};

Note that, if you have data member in classes and use virtual inheritance, you need to take care to correctly call base class constructors if you implement your own one-shot constructor. For example:

Slice
class Base
{
    int baseInt;
}

class Derived extends Base
{
    int derivedInt;
}

The generated one-shot constructor for Derived initializes both baseInt and derivedInt:

C++98
Derived::Derived(Ice::Int iceP_baseInt, Ice::Int iceP_derivedInt) :
    M::Base(iceP_baseInt),
    derivedInt(iceP_derivedInt)
{
}

If you derive your own class from Derived and add a one-shot constructor to your class, you must explicitly call the constructor of all the base classes, including Base. Failure to call the Base constructor will result in Base being default-constructed instead of getting a defined value. For example:

C++98
class DerivedI : public virtual Derived
{
public:
    DerivedI(int baseInt, int derivedInt, const string& s) :
        Base(baseInt), Derived(baseInt, derivedInt), _s(s)
    {
    }

private:
    string _s;
};

This code correctly initializes the baseInt member of the Base part of the class. Note that the following does not work as intended and leaves the Base part default-constructed (meaning that baseInt is not initialized):

C++98
class DerivedI : public virtual Derived
{
public:
    DerivedI(int baseInt, int derivedInt, const string& s) :
        Derived(baseInt, derivedInt), _s(s)
    {
        // WRONG: Base::baseInt is not initialized.
    }

private:
    string _s;
};

Metadata Directives for C#

The metadata for C# (or .NET) directives uses the cs prefix or the clr prefix.  These two prefixes are interchangeable:  cs:attribute and clr:attribute have exactly the same meaning. We present these directives with the cs prefix below.

In Ice releases prior to 3.7, the cs prefix was used exclusively for the metadata directives cs:attribute and cs:tie while the clr prefix was used for all other directives.

cs:attribute

This directive can be used both as a global directive and as directive for specific Slice constructs. It injects C# attribute definitions into the generated code. (See C-Sharp Attribute Metadata Directive.)

cs:class

This directive applies to Slice structures. It directs the code generator to emit a C# class instead of a structure.

cs:generic:List, cs:generic:LinkedList, cs:generic:Queue and cs:generic:Stack

These directives apply to sequences and map them to the specified sequence type.

cs:generic:SortedDictionary

This directive applies to dictionaries and maps them to SortedDictionary.

cs:generic

This directive applies to sequences and allows you map them to custom types.

cs:implements:type

This directive adds the specified base type to the generated code for a Slice structure, class or interface. For example, Ice defines the Communicator interface as shown below:

Slice
["cs:implements:global::System.IDisposable"]
local interface Communicator { ... }

Consequently, the generated C# interface Ice.Communicator implements IDisposable.

When used with structs, this metadata can only refer to interfaces without operations. With classes, the code is responsible for registering a value factory if the Slice class is transferred over-the-wire and uses this metadata to implement native C# interfaces.

cs:property

This directive applies to Slice structures and classes. It directs the code generator to create C# property definitions for data members.

cs:serializable

This directive allows you to use Ice to transmit serializable CLR classes as native objects, without having to define corresponding Slice definitions for these classes.

cs:tie

This directive applies to an interface or a class with operations, and triggers the generation of a tie class.

Metadata Directives for Java

java:buffer

This directive applies to sequences of certain primitive types. It directs the translator to map the sequence to a subclass of java.nio.Buffer.

java:getset

This directive applies to data members and structures, classes, and exceptions. It adds accessor and modifier methods (JavaBean methods) for data members.

java:implements:type

This directive adds the specified base interface to the generated code for a Slice structure, class or interface. For example, Ice defines the Communicator interface as shown below:

Slice
["java:implements:java.lang.AutoCloseable"]
local interface Communicator { ... }

Consequently, the generated Java interface Communicator implements java.lang.AutoCloseable.

When used with structs, this metadata can only refer to interfaces without operations. With classes or interfaces, the generated Java interface will be marked as abstract. The code is responsible for registering a value factory if the Slice class is transferred over-the-wire and uses this metadata to implement native Java interfaces.

java:optional

This directive is only used by the Java Compat mapping and has no effect in the Java mapping.

This directive forces optional output parameters to use the optional mapping instead of the default required mapping in servants.

java:package

This directive instructs the code generator to place the generated classes into a specific package. The directive can be used as global metadata and can also be applied to top-level modules. Global metadata (if any) serves as the default directive unless overridden by module metadata.

When applying this directive to a module that is reopened by your Slice file, you must repeat the metadata for each reopening of the module if you want the packaging to remain consistent:

Slice
["java:package:MyPackage"]
module M
{
    ...
}
 
//
// Re-open module M to define more types
//
["java:package:MyPackage"]
module M
{
    ...
}

java:serializable

This directive allows you to use Ice to transmit serializable Java classes as native objects, without having to define corresponding Slice definitions for these classes.

java:serialVersionUID

This directive overrides the default (generated) value of serialVersionUID for a Slice type.

java:tie

This directive is only used by the Java Compat mapping and has no effect in the Java mapping.

This directive applies to an interface or a class with operations, and triggers the generation of a tie class.

java:type

This directive allows you to use custom types for sequences and dictionaries.

java:UserException

This directive applies to operations, and indicates that the generated Java methods on the mapped servant interfaces and class can throw any user exception, regardless of its specific definition. The exception specification for these methods is simply  throws com.zeroc.Ice.UserException (Java) or throws Ice.UserException (Java Compat). This metadata has no effect on the methods of generated proxies. The directive UserException (without the java: prefix) is a deprecated alias for java:UserException.

Metadata Directives for Objective-C

objc:dll-export:SYMBOL

This global directive applies to all definitions in a Slice file.

Use SYMBOL to control the export of symbols from dynamic shared libraries. This option allows you to export symbols from the generated code and place such generated code in a shared library. Compiling a Slice definition with:

Slice
[["objc:dll-export:WIDGET_API"]]

 adds the provided SYMBOL name (WIDGET_API in our example) to the declaration of interfaces and protocols that need to be exported. The generated code also defines the provided SYMBOL as __attribute__((visibility ("default"))).

This option is useful when you create a shared library and compile your Objective-C code with -fvisibility=hidden to reduce the number of symbols exported.

objc:header-dir

This global directive allows you to specify a prefix for the header path in generated Objective-C files. For example, all the Slice files from Ice set this metadata to objc to allow importing Objective-C headers from the objc directory (e.g.: #import <objc/Ice/Ice.h>).

objc:prefix

This directive applies to modules and changes the default mapping for modules to use a specified prefix.

objc:scoped

This directive applies to enumerations. It directs the code generator to use the enumeration's name as prefix for all generated Objective-C enumerators.

Metadata Directives for Python

python:package

This directive instructs the code generator to enclose the generated code in a specified Python package. The directive can be used as global metadata and can also be applied to top-level modules. Global metadata (if any) serves as the default directive unless overridden by module metadata.

When applying this directive to a module that is reopened by your Slice file, you must repeat the metadata for each reopening of the module if you want the packaging to remain consistent:

Slice
["python:package:MyPackage"]
module M
{
    ...
}
 
//
// Re-open module M to define more types
//
["python:package:MyPackage"]
module M
{
    ...
}

python:pkgdir

This global directive instructs the code generator to place the generated code into a specified directory.

python:seq:default, python:seq:list and python:seq:tuple

These directives allow you to change the mapping for Slice sequences.

Metadata Directives for Freeze

freeze:read and freeze:write

These directives inform a Freeze evictor whether an operation updates the state of an object, so the evictor knows whether it must save an object before evicting it.

See Also