AC++ Compiler Manual

Olaf Spinczyk

and pure-systems GmbH
Version 2.2, March 10, 2017

Table of Contents

Introduction

The program ac++ is a compiler for the AspectC++ programming language. It is implemented as a preprocessor that transforms AspectC++ code into ordinary C++ code. During this transformation aspect code, which is defined by aspects, is woven statically into the component code. Aspects are a special AspectC++ language element, which can be used to implement crosscutting concerns in separate modules. Aspect definitions have to be implemented in special “aspect header files”, which normally have the filename extension “.ah”. After the code transformation the output of ac++ can be compiled to executable code with ordinary C++ compilers like GNU g++, or Microsoft VisualC++.
More details about the features of AspectC++ can be found in the quick reference sheet and the publications about the language and its application. Everything is available on the AspectC++ homepage http://www.aspectc.org, which is also a source for updates of this manual.
The compiler's source code is freely available from the project's web site and covered by the GPL. For your convenience there are also binary versions of the open source implementation available. Besides the free GPL version, commercial licenses for ac++, the underlying parser and code manipulator library and the ac++ integration into the MS Visual Studio IDE as well as commercial support are available from pure-systems GmbH.
This document focuses on how the ac++ compiler works and how it is used. The following sections are structured as follows: Section 2 describes how to get and install the compiler. It is followed by section 3, which describes the two transformation modes of ac++ and the meaning of the command line arguments. Platform-specific notes are given in section 4. It describes the specifics of the ac++ ports and which non-standard features of the back-end C++ compiler are supported. Section 5 lists some known problems, common pitfalls, and unimplemented language features.

Download and Installation

Binaries of ac++ for various platforms are available for free download from the AspectC++ homepage (see section 4 for the list and state of the ac++ ports). The versioning scheme is shown in table 1.
Besides the archive file with the compiler there is a README file and a CHANGELOG file available for each release. The README file explains the necessary steps for the installation, while the CHANGELOG documents the changes in the corresponding release as well as the history of changes.
The following subsections explain how the current version of the ac++ compiler is unpacked, installed, and configured. This process depends on the development platform. Skip to the appropriate part from here.

2.1 Linux and MacOS X

The Linux and MacOS X installation procedures are very similar, because all of them belong to the UNIX system family. The ac++ compiler and the example code is provided in a gzip-ed tar archive (tgz file). It can be unpacked with the following command in any directory:
tar xzvf <tar-file-name>
The command creates a directory aspectc++-<version>, which contains the ac++ binary, the ag++ front-end, the example code, and everything else that is needed to run the examples like a Makefile. To transform the examples (in the examples directory) simply execute make in the installation directory. Each example is then transformed from AspectC++ code into C++ code by weaving aspects and saved in examples/<name>-out. To run the example, enter the created directory, call make and start the executable.
The Makefile, which is used to compile the examples uses the command ag++, which is a wrapper for calling ac++, g++, and for the generation of the parser configuration file, which is needed for ac++. A separate manual for ag++ is available from the AspectC++ web site.

2.2 Windows

The Windows port of ac++ supports the freely available Cygwin/GNU g++ and MinGW g++ compiler as back-end compilers.
The installation of ac++ in an environment with GNU g++ and make is similar to the UNIX-like installation described in section 2.1. Additionally refer to section 4.2.2, which provides some specific information about path names in the Cygwin environment.
The following procedure outlines the installation for non-g++ windows command line compilers: The ac++ compiler and the examples are provided in a ZIP archive. Unpack ac++ in a directory of your choice, for instance into C:\AC. The next step is to create a parser configuration file that describes predefined macros and standard include file paths of your back-end compiler. The files pumabc55.cfg and pumavc7.cfg can be taken as examples. An automatic generation of the config file as under UNIX systems is not available at the moment in the free ac++ version.
The examples directory contains various examples that show how to write aspects in AspectC++. You can use the examples.bat batch file to weave all the examples at once. After this step the transformed example files can compiled.

Invocation

3.1 Modes

The ac++ compiler supports two major transformation modes:

3.1.1 Whole ProgramTransformation (WPT)

WPT mode was the first transformation mode of ac++. However, it is not obsolete, because it may be useful in many cases. In this mode ac++ transforms all files in a project directory tree (or set of directories) and saves the result in a different directory tree. For each translation unit and header file a new file is generated in the target tree with the same name. If further transformations of the source code have to be done, either with ac++ or other tools, this is the mode to choose. Even comments and whitespace remain untouched.
The compiler performs a simple dependency check in WPT mode. A translation unit is recompiled if either the translation unit itself or any header file of the project has been changed. This is not very precise but makes sure that after changing an aspect header file all translation units are recompiled.

3.1.2 Single Translation Unit (STU)

In the STU mode ac++ must be called once for each translation unit like a normal C++ compiler. This makes it easier to integrate ac++ into Makefiles or IDEs. As ac++ can't save manipulated header files in this mode, because the unchanged header files are needed for the next translation units, all #include directives in the translation unit that refer to header files of the project directory tree are expanded and, thus, saved together with the manipulated translation unit. The resulting files can be fed directly into a C++ compiler. They do not depend on any other files of the project anymore.
In the STU mode the user is responsible for checking the dependencies of changed files and for calling the right ac++ to transform all translation units that depend on a changed file. The general dependency rule is that a translation unit depends on every header file that is directly or indirectly included and every aspect header that might affect the translation unit (normally all!) and the files they depend on. If you are using g++ and make, checking of this rule can be automized:
g++ -E -I<some-path> -MM <trans-unit> -include "*.ah"
This call of the g++ preprocessor prints a makefile dependency rule, which is suitable to determine when ac++ must be run to rebuild a tranlsation unit.

3.2 Weaving in Library Code

A C++ library consists of header files that have to be included by the client code and an archive file that contains the object code. If the library is implemented in AspectC++ and the client code should not be compiled with ac++ it is necessary to generate manipulated header files. In the WPT mode this is done anyway. In the STU a directory tree with all manipulated headers can be generated with the -i option (see 3.4.7).

3.3 The Project Repository

The ac++ weaver internally creates a translation unit model, which contains a description of all name and code join points as well as the weaving plan, while it processes a C++ input file. By using the command line option -r (or --repository) it is possible to save this model in a file called the “project repository”. If the project repository already exists, ac++ will merge its translation unit model into the existing project repository. Eventually, after translation of all C++ input files of the project, the repository will contain a description of all potential and affected join points in the project. When an input file is modified and re-translated, ac++ will update the repository accordingly.
The project model can be used for various purposes, e.g. as input for join point visualization tools. It can also be used for checking pointcut expressions or even their interactive development. This is supported by the -x (or --expr) command line option, which can be used to evaluate a given pointcut expression by matching it against the join points in the the repository. The internal structure of the project repository might be subject to future changes.

3.4 Options

Table 2 summarizes the platform-independent options supported by ac++. Platform specific options will be explained in section 4. All options can either be passed as command line arguments or by the configuration file, which is referenced by the environment variable PUMA_CONFIG (see section 2). '–' in any of the columns WPT or STU means that this option has no meaning in the corresponding translation mode.
The upper part of the table lists ac++-specific options, while the options in the lower part are widely-known from other compilers like g++.

3.4.1 -p|--path <arg>

This option defines the name of a project directory tree <arg>. The option can be used more than once if several directories belong to the project. At least one -p options is always needed when ac++ has to transform code, even in STU mode.

3.4.2 -d|--dest <arg>

With -d a target directory for saving is selected. It corresponds to the last -p option. For example, if two directories belong to a project they would be described in STU mode with
-p dir1 -p dir2
and in WPT with two source/target pairs:
-p source1 -d target1 -p source2 -d target2
In STU mode -d makes only sense in combination with -i to generate header files for a library (see 3.4.7).

3.4.3 -e|--extension <arg>

In WPT mode ac++ searches in all project directories for translation units to transform. Translation units are identified by their filename extension. The default is “cc”, which means that all files ending with “.cc” are handled. By using the option -e cpp or -e cxx you can select other frequently used filename extensions. The option can be used more than once, but only the last one is effective.
In WPT mode ac++ generates a file called ac_gen.<extension>. This extension is also taken from the -e option, if one is provided.

3.4.4 -v|--verbose [<arg>]

The compiler can print message on the standard output device, which describe what it is currently doing. These message can be printed with different levels of details. You can select this level with the parameter <arg>. The range is from 0, which means no output, to 9, which means all details. The option -v0 is the same as having no -v option at all. -v without <arg> is the same as -v3.
The -v option can be used more than once but only the last one is effective.

3.4.5 -c|--compile <arg>

The -c option is used to select an input file for ac++ in the STU mode. Using it more than once is possible, but only one is effective. There are no restrictions on the filename extension. ac++ expects that the file contains AspectC++ source code.

3.4.6 -o|--output <arg>

With the -o option one can select the name of the output file, i.e. the name of the target of the code transformation, in STU mode. If this option is not used, the default output filename is ac.out. Note that the output filename is not derived from the input file name as it is done by other compilers.

3.4.7 -i|--include_files

The -i option has to be used if the source code of the project should be compiled into a library and ac++ should run in STU mode (see 3.2). When a translation unit is transformed by using -c and -o in STU mode no manipulated header files are generated. All include files are expanded within the generated source code. This is fully sufficient if the translation units will then be compiled and linked directly. However, if a library should be provided the client needs a library file (an archive) and manipulated header files. These can be generated with -i. The generation results in a directory tree with the same structure as the input directory tree specified by -p exhibits. Use the -d option to select the target directory name(s).
Note that at the moment only and all files with the extension .h are considered to be include files. This is rather inflexible and will be improved in future releases.

3.4.8 -a|--aspect_header <arg>

By default ac++ searches all files with the filename extension .ah in the project directory tree(s) and allows all aspects defined in these files to affect the current translation unit. If you are looking for a simple mechanism to deactivate aspects at compile-time, or if .ah does not conform to your local conventions, or if not all aspects should affect all translation units (be careful! See 5.1), the -a option might help.
The option may be used more than once and each of them selects one aspect header that has to be considered for the current translation unit in STU mode or all translation units in WPT mode. If no aspect header should be considered use -a0.

3.4.9 -r|--repository <arg>

The “project repository” is an XML-based description of global information about an AspectC++ development project that is compiled with ac++. It fulfills two purposes:
  1. It is a vehicle to transport information from one compiler run to another
  2. It might be used by integrated development environments to visualize the join points where aspects affect the component code.
The -r option is used to define the name of the project repository file. However, this is an experimental feature. The file format might be subject to future changes. The uniqueness of join point IDs is only guaranteed if the project is compiled with a project repository. If a file with the given name does not exist, ac++ will create a new repository file. If the file exists, but is empty or does not contain valid data, ac++ terminates with an error message. A warning messages will be printed if the version of the weaver, which created the project repository, differs from the current ac++ version.

3.4.10 -x|--expr <arg>

This option is used to match a pointcut expression, given as argument <arg>, against a project repository file. The project repository filename has to be provided with the -r option. For example the following command prints all nested class known in the “PragmaOnceObserver” test program in the AspectC++ development tree.
prompt> ac++ -x '"%::%"' -r PragmaOnceObserver/repo.acp
ObserverPattern.ah:12: Class "ObserverPattern::Subject"
ObserverPattern.ah:13: Class "ObserverPattern::Observer"
This example illustrates the mechanism with a more complicated pointcut expression:
prompt> ac++ -x 'call("%") && within("% main()")' -r ...
main.cc:29: Call "void ObserverPattern::addObserver( ...
main.cc:32: Call "void ObserverPattern::addObserver( ...
main.cc:34: Call "void ClockTimer::Tick()"
main.cc:37: Call "void ClockTimer::Tick()"
Note that pointcut expression contain quotes (). Make sure that quotes are not removed by the command shell. On Linux systems it is a convenient solution to enclose the pointcut expression in single quotes, e.g. '”%”'.

3.4.11 --config <arg>

Besides setting the environment variable PUMA_CONFIG this options can be used to set the path to the parser configuration file.

3.4.12 -k|--keywords

By default the AspectC++ keywords aspect, pointcut, advice, and slice are only treated as keywords in aspect header files. If they are used in normal project files, ac++ interprets them as normal identifiers. By this design decision aspects can be woven into legacy code even if the code uses the AspectC++ keywords as normal identifiers.
If the AspectC++ keywords should be interpreted as keywords in normal project files as well, the command line option -k or --keywords has to be used.
In files that do not belong to the project, e.g. standard library header files, the AspectC++ keywords are always regarded as normal identifiers, even if -k or --keywords is used.
If any of the AspectC++ keywords is generated by a macro, the classification as keyword or identifier is based on the file in which the macro expansion takes place. It does not depend on the location of the macro definition.

3.4.13 --introduction_depth <arg>

AspectC++ introductions may affect introduced code. This is called a “nested introduction”. In order to avoid problems with infinitely nested introductions, ac++ checks the “depth” of a nested introduction and does not allow a depth that exceeds the given maximum <arg>. The default value for <arg> is 10.

3.4.14 --no_line

When ac++ manipulates files, e.g. by inserting generated code, it also inserts #line directives. Inserting these directives can be disabled with the --no_line option. Normally, #line directives are only generated by C preprocessors. The directives are important for back-end compiler error messages and source code debuggers. Without the #line generation these numbers correspond to the lines in the generated code, while they correspond to the source code written by the programmer otherwise.

3.4.15 --gen_size_type <arg>

ac++ generates a new operator, which has size_t in its argument type list. As the generated code shall not include the respective header file (to avoid portability problems), the weaver normally generates the name of the right type. However, in case of cross-compilation the type on the target platform might differ. Then it is possible to provide a string with this option, which is directly used in the constructor's argument list.

3.4.16 --problem...

An option like this is used to enable a back-end compiler-specific code generation workaround. This is sometimes needed, because the C++ compilers differ in their degree of standard conformance. For details about the workarounds needed for each back-end refer to section 4.2.

3.4.17 --no_problem...

This option can be used to disable a back-end compiler-specific code generation workaround which is enabled by default.

3.4.18 --warn_...

With this option the weaver is instructed to print specific warnings that are otherwise suppressed. Table 3 lists the names of warnings currently supported by the weaver.

3.4.19 --no_warn_...

The warnings listed in table 3 can be suppressed with --no_warn_<Name>.

3.4.20 --builtin_operators

This option is needed if you want to use the pointcut function builtin(). For more information on this feature consult the language reference manual.

3.4.21 --data_joinpoints

This option is needed if you want to use the pointcut functions get(), set(), and ref(). For more information on this feature consult the language reference manual.

3.4.22 --attributes/--no_attributes

This option is needed if you want to use attributes in C++11-Style (e.g. [[noreturn]]). It is enabled by default and can be disabled with --no_attributes. For more information on this feature consult the language reference.

3.4.23 -I <arg>

The option -I adds the directory <arg> to the list of directories to be searched for header files. It can be used more than once. The compiler ac++ needs to know all directories, where header files for the current translation unit might be located.
In case of system headers there are often a lot of these directories. To make the setup of ac++ more convenient we provide the ag++ --gen_config command. The command calls the g++ compiler to get all these paths. Users of non-supported back-end compilers have to find out this list on their own.

3.4.24 -D <name>[=<value>]

With -D a preprocessor macro <name> will be defined. Without the optional value assignment the macro will get the value 1. The option can be used more than once.
In most cases your source code expects some standard macros to be defined like win32, linux, or i386. And even if your code doesn't use them directly, they are often required to be set correctly by system header files. Thus, for the ac++ parser a correct set of these macros has to be defined. For g++ users we provide a command called ag++ that calls the compiler to get the list of these macros. Users of non-supported back-end compilers have to find out this list on their own.

3.4.25 -U <name>

This option can be used to undefine a previously defined macro.

3.4.26 -include <arg>

The -include option can be used to include a file <arg> into the compiled translation unit(s) even though there is no explicit #include directive given in the source code. If multiple -include options are given on the command line, the files are included in the same order (from left to right). If you use the option in STU mode make sure that the back-end compiler is not forced to include the same files again (read details in 5.1.2).

3.5 Examples

The following examples describe the compiler like interface (STU Mode). All dependency handling has to be done by the user.

Platform Notes

4.1 Ports

The ac++ compiler was originally developed on RedHat Linux systems.Today most of the development is still done under Linux (Debian and OpenSuse), but Windows has become a second development platform. This means that the Windows and Linux ports are the most tested. The MacOS X ports were compiled, because they were demanded by users, but they are far less tested than our development platform ports.

4.1.1 Linux

The ac++ binary was tested on…

4.1.2 Windows

Windows systems have different filename conventions than UNIX systems. Although ac++ was originally developed on Linux and does not use or need the Cygwin environment, path names are allowed to contain '\' characters and drive names like 'C:'. The UNIX filename delimiters '/' are also accepted.

4.1.3 MacOS X

No specific information available, yet.

4.2 Back-End Compiler Support

The C++ compiler that should be used to compile the output of ac++ (back-end compiler) plays a very important role for ac++, because compilers normally come with header files, which ac++ must be able to parse. None of the back-end compilers listed here has totally standard conforming header files, which makes it very hard for ac++ to parse all this code.
GNU g++ (including Cygwin/GNU g++ under Windows) and clang++ are our best supported compilers. Users of clang++ can invoke it via ag++ by using the ag++ option --c_compiler clang++.

4.2.1 GNU g++

There are a lot of GNU g++ specific C++ extensions as well as several builtin functions and types. To enable all these extensions the option --gnu (or --gnu-2.95 if g++ 2.9x header files should be parsed) has to be used. If a configuration file is generated with ag++ --gen_config, this option will be automatically inserted (either --gnu or --gnu-2.95 depending on your compiler).
The ac++ parser aims at being compatible with g++ and nearly all of the header files that come with g++ 3.x and 2.9x can be parsed. The workaround to install the old g++ 2.95 header and to modify your puma.config file so that ac++ finds these old files while parsing your code is no longer needed starting from version 0.8pre2.
Compilers from the g++ family do not support explicit template specialization in a non-namespace scope. However, this feature is needed by ac++ in the code generation process. A workaround for this problem is automatically enabled when you use the --gnu or --gnu-2.95 option. To explictly enable or disable the workaround use --problem_spec_scope or --no_problem_spec_scope.

4.2.2 Cygwin/GNU g++

The ac++ compiler can also be used with the Cygwin/GNU g++ compiler under Windows. Note, that ac++ itself is not a Cygwin application and, thus, does not support Cygwin-specific path names like /home/olaf, which is relative to the cygwin installation directory. If you generate your parser configuration file automatically with ag++ --gen_config the contained include paths will automatically be converted from Cygwin paths names to Windows path names using the cygpath command. However, be careful when you set the PUMA_CONFIG environment variable or when you pass any other path name to ac++. Furthermore, ac++ and ag++ don't support Cygwin file links. This might also cause compilation problems. A known problem is that in some Cygwin versions g++ itself is a link to g++-4. This means that it will not be found by ag++. It helps to provide the proper compiler name with the --c_compiler g++-4 option.

4.2.3 MS VC++

The ac++ parser aims at being compatible with Microsoft Visual C++ 7 and later. This compiler comes with a large number of non-standard language extensions. To enable support for these extensions in the ac++ parser the command line option --vc must be provided either on the command line or in your configuration file.
It is not recommended to use ac++ with Visual C++ 6 as this compiler has some problems with the generated code, even though the generated code is standard complient.
We recently found a bug in Visual C++ 6 and 7, which is related to local classes defined in header files. As ac++ sometimes generates such classes a workaround has to be enabled until Microsoft fixes the problem. The workaround can be enabled with the command line option --problem_local_class and disabled with --no_problem_local_class. In the current ac++ version the workaround is enabled by default if the executable was compiled for the Windows platform.

Problems & Workarounds

5.1 Common Pifalls

5.1.1 Include Cycles

In versions prior to 1.0pre1 include cycles could occur in many situations and workarounds could not always be found. In version 1.0pre1 include cycles can only occur in the case of aspect code with introductions. Advice for code join points cannot produce cycles.
The reason for the remaining possible cycles is that ac++ generates #include <aspect-header> in every file that contains the definition of a target class of an introduction. Without this generation pattern definitions from the aspect header would not be accessible by introduced code. However, if the aspect header directly or indirectly includes the target file, there is a cycle, which might cause parse errors.
Figure 1 illustrates the include cycle problem by giving an example. Here an aspect Problem uses the type Target and therefore includes Target.h. At the same time the aspect introduces a slice into the class Target. As the slice might depend on definitions or #includes in Problem.ah, the weaver generates the #include "Problem.ah" in Target.h. This causes the include cycle. Include guards (which should always be used!) avoid duplicate definitions, but do not solve the problem. It might still be the case that the parser complains about undefined types.
To avoid these cycles introductions can always be separated from the aspect by means of slices. Slice declarations and slice member definitions can be located in arbitrary aspect header files. The aspect weaver will only include these aspect headers in the target classes' header/implementation files and thereby avoid the cycle. For a slice reference within an advice declaration even a forward declaration of the slice is sufficient.
Figure 2 shows how the include cycle from the example in Figure 1 can be avoided. Here the function dump is implemented in a separate slice class Dump that is stored in an aspect header file Dump.ah. The implementation of Dump could rely on defintions and #includes in Dump.ah (stdio.h in this example), but not on defintions in Problem.ah. Therefore, the aspect weaver generates #include "Dump.ah" and not #include "Problem.ah" in Target.h.
Note that in the case of non-inline introductions the #include directive is generated in the file that contains the “link-once element” of the target class, which is never a header file. You can, for example, exploit this feature to produce cyclic class relationships. The included file will be the aspect header file that contains the definition of the non-inline slice member.

5.1.2 Duplicate Forced Includes in STU Mode

In the Single Translation Unit (STU) mode ac++ handles forced includes (see -include option in section 3.4.26) in the following way:
internal includes:
If the included file is part of your project, the file content will be expanded in the compiled translation unit.
external includes:
If the included file is not part of the project, ac++ generates an #include directive with the absolute path name of the file.
In both cases the back-end compiler should not be forced to include the same file again. For example, g++ users should not use the -include option with ac++ and with g++, because otherwise symbols might be defined twice.

5.1.3 Compiling libraries

There are certain restrictions on the code structure if ac++ should generate transformed header files for an aspect-oriented C++ library. For instance, all header files need "include guards" and should not depend on the context by which they are included. Furthermore all headers must have the extension .h.
Furthermore, users have to be careful not to generate transformed headers into the project directory tree (-p option). Otherwise, the next compilation of the library is likely to fail, because ac++ would search aspect header files in the generated directory tree.

5.1.4 Project structure

The AspectC++ weaver ac++ expects that "projects" do not overlap, have no cyclic dependencies, and can be described by a list of directory names (-p option). AspectC++ needs the notion of a "project" in order to restrict the set files that are affected by the aspects. Sometimes big applications are organized in multiple projects within the same workspace and have arbitrary dependencies (include relations) to each other. For these applications selecting the -p option is sometimes difficult. Often treating the whole workspace as one AspectC++ project is the best solution.

5.1.5 The --aspect_header option

This option can be used to avoid that ac++ automatically searches all aspect header files in the project directory tree. It is to be made sure by the user that each aspect header file is included only once. If no aspect headers should be taken into account, the option “-a 0” has to be used.

5.2 Unimplemented Features

5.2.1 Multi-Threading Support

C++ has no integrated thread model like Java. Therefore, the woven AspectC++ code cannot rely on any available thread synchronization mechanism. As a result the implementation of the cflow pointcut functions is currently not thread-safe.
We are urgently investigating how thread synchronization and thread local storage can be integrated into AspectC++.

5.2.2 C++ 11/14/...

ac++ does not fully support the latest language features introduced with the C++ 11 standard. These features, such as lambda functions or move constructors, are accepted by the underlying parser (the Clang framework, which is used in ac++ 2.x), but the weaver can't deal with these features, yet. Therefore, it is safe to use C++ 11 code as long as the code affected by advice conforms to C++ 2003.

5.2.3 Parse Errors

If ac++ stops processing because of parse errors this might be due to an incompatibility or missing feature in the underlying C++ parser.
In the case that the error is found in your own code, i.e. code you are able to modify, you could use the following workaround:
#ifdef __acweaving
// ... simplified version of the code for ac++
#else
// ... original code
#endif
Even if your own AspectC++ code contains only harmless C++ code you might experience parsing problems due to header files from libraries which your application code includes, especially in the case of template libraries. In this situation it might help to copy the file with the parse error into a different directory. Then you have to change the code in this file to avoid the error message by simplifying it. The final step is to extend the puma.config file by a “-I <path>” entry for the directory where you placed the copy. As the result ac++ will now parse the simplified version while the original file is untouched and used while the C++ compiler runs.

5.2.4 Templates

Currently ac++ is able to parse a lot of the (really highly complicated) C++ templates, but weaving is restricted to non-templated code only. That means you can not weave in templates or even affect calls to template functions or members of template classes. However, template instances can be matched by match expressions in the pointcut language and calls to members of class templates or template functions can be affected by advice.

5.2.5 Macros

In versions prior to 1.0 the weaver was not able at all to transform code that was generated by macro expansion. It simply printed a warning and continued without transforming the code. To turn this warning off the command line option --no_warn_macro could be used (see Table 3).
The current solution is to expand a macro whenever it is affected by aspects and do the weaving afterwards. While this works fine for most cases, problems may occur if the macro definition used by the (cross-)compiler differs from the one used by ac++. Future releases will thus distinguish between macros definitions that belong to the project and can safely be expanded and macros that were defined outside the project.

5.2.6 Unimplemented Language Elements

cflow
does not yet support exposure of context information.
base
only works as expected if all classes that should be matched by the pointcut function's argument are known in the translation unit. Therefore, the aspect header file has to contain the right set of include directives.

5.2.7 Support for Plain C Code

Currently ac++ generates C++ code, which cannot be compiled by a C compiler. As for many hardware platforms in the embedded domain no C++ compiler is available we are actively looking for a solution.

5.2.8 Support for C++ language extensions

The parser does not yet fully support the language features of C++ 11 and more recent standards (see 5.2.2). Furthermore, most but not all g++ specific language extensions are implemented.

5.2.9 Constructor/Destructor Generation

If advice for construction/destruction joinpoints is given and no constructor/destructor is defined explicitly, ac++ will generate it. However, currently ac++ assumes that the copy constructor has one argument of type “const <Classname>&”. This leads to problems if the implicitly declared copy constructor has an argument of type “<Classname>&”. Therefore, you should not define construction/destruction advice for classes with this copy constructor signature.

5.2.10 Functions with variable argument lists

There is no support for execution advice on functions with variable argument lists. A warning will be issued. There is no portable way to generate a wrapper function for this class of functions.

5.2.11 Restrictions on calling tjp->proceed()

Due to a problem with result object construction/destruction of intercepted functions, the tjp->proceed() function may only be called once during around advice.

5.2.12 Advice on advice

Join points within advice code are not matched by pointcut expressions.

5.2.13 JoinPoint-API for slices

There is a joinpoint-API for slices introduced into a target class. It provides static type information about the target's baseclasses and members as well as dynamic information, such as a pointer to each member. However, the baseclass part of the slice may not access the JoinPoint-API. This is partly natural, as, for instance, member types might depend on the introduced baseclass. Yet, not even the target's classname is available. Future versions might make this possible.
The identifier 'JoinPoint' is only to be used to access the joinpoint-API. Even though it would conceptually make sense to allow, for instance, a local variable to be called 'JoinPoint', it is not supported, yet.

Code Transformation Patterns

This appendix documents some internals of the ac++ weaver implementation.

6.1 Inclusion of Aspect Header Files

The weaver has to guarantee that aspect header files are only compiled in a translation unit if they are affecting the shadows of code join point that are located within the translation unit. If an aspect header has to be included because of this reason, the same check has to be performed again, because the aspect header might contain code join points that are affected by other aspects.
In order to implement this behavior a forward declaration of the advice invocation function is generated and a macro __ac_need_<mangled_ah_filename> is defined in each file that contains a join point shadow, which is affected by an aspect that is defined in an aspect header whose mangled files name is <mangled_ah_filename>. Multiple inclusions shall be avoided. Therefore, another macro __ac_have_<mangled_ah_filename> is set wherever an aspect header is included by generated code. The following code is an example that shows the code which is generated at the end of each translation unit for each known aspect header of the project:
#ifdef __ac_need_<mangled_ah_1>
#ifndef __ac_have_<mangled_ah_1>
#define __ac_have_<mangled_ah_1>
#include "ah_1"
#endif
// other aspect headers that are needed if ah_1 is needed
#ifndef __ac_have_<mangled_ah_4>
#define __ac_have_<mangled_ah_4>
#include "ah_4"
#endif
#endif // __ac_need_<mangled_ah_1>
This code transformation pattern might result in multiple #include directives for the same aspect header files. This is correct, as there might be cyclic dependencies between the aspect headers.