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========================
Symbol Visibility Macros
========================

.. contents::
   :local:

Overview
========

Libc++ uses various "visibility" macros in order to provide a stable ABI in
both the library and the headers. These macros work by changing the
visibility and inlining characteristics of the symbols they are applied to.

Visibility Macros
=================

**_LIBCPP_HIDDEN**
  Mark a symbol as hidden so it will not be exported from shared libraries.

**_LIBCPP_FUNC_VIS**
  Mark a symbol as being exported by the libc++ library. This attribute must
  be applied to the declaration of all functions exported by the libc++ dylib.

**_LIBCPP_EXTERN_VIS**
  Mark a symbol as being exported by the libc++ library. This attribute may
  only be applied to objects defined in the libc++ library. On Windows this
  macro applies `dllimport`/`dllexport` to the symbol. On all other platforms
  this macro has no effect.

**_LIBCPP_OVERRIDABLE_FUNC_VIS**
  Mark a symbol as being exported by the libc++ library, but allow it to be
  overridden locally. On non-Windows, this is equivalent to `_LIBCPP_FUNC_VIS`.
  This macro is applied to all `operator new` and `operator delete` overloads.

  **Windows Behavior**: Any symbol marked `dllimport` cannot be overridden
  locally, since `dllimport` indicates the symbol should be bound to a separate
  DLL. All `operator new` and `operator delete` overloads are required to be
  locally overridable, and therefore must not be marked `dllimport`. On Windows,
  this macro therefore expands to `__declspec(dllexport)` when building the
  library and has an empty definition otherwise.

**_LIBCPP_INLINE_VISIBILITY**
  Mark a function as hidden and force inlining whenever possible.

**_LIBCPP_ALWAYS_INLINE**
  A synonym for `_LIBCPP_INLINE_VISIBILITY`

**_LIBCPP_TYPE_VIS**
  Mark a type's typeinfo, vtable and members as having default visibility.
  This attribute cannot be used on class templates.

**_LIBCPP_TEMPLATE_VIS**
  Mark a type's typeinfo and vtable as having default visibility.
  This macro has no effect on the visibility of the type's member functions.

  **GCC Behavior**: GCC does not support Clang's `type_visibility(...)`
  attribute. With GCC the `visibility(...)` attribute is used and member
  functions are affected.

  **Windows Behavior**: DLLs do not support dllimport/export on class templates.
  The macro has an empty definition on this platform.


**_LIBCPP_ENUM_VIS**
  Mark the typeinfo of an enum as having default visibility. This attribute
  should be applied to all enum declarations.

  **Windows Behavior**: DLLs do not support importing or exporting enumeration
  typeinfo. The macro has an empty definition on this platform.

  **GCC Behavior**: GCC un-hides the typeinfo for enumerations by default, even
  if `-fvisibility=hidden` is specified. Additionally applying a visibility
  attribute to an enum class results in a warning. The macro has an empty
  definition with GCC.

**_LIBCPP_EXTERN_TEMPLATE_TYPE_VIS**
  Mark the member functions, typeinfo, and vtable of the type named in
  a `_LIBCPP_EXTERN_TEMPLATE` declaration as being exported by the libc++ library.
  This attribute must be specified on all extern class template declarations.

  This macro is used to override the `_LIBCPP_TEMPLATE_VIS` attribute
  specified on the primary template and to export the member functions produced
  by the explicit instantiation in the dylib.

  **GCC Behavior**: GCC ignores visibility attributes applied the type in
  extern template declarations and applying an attribute results in a warning.
  However since `_LIBCPP_TEMPLATE_VIS` is the same as
  `__attribute__((visibility("default"))` the visibility is already correct.
  The macro has an empty definition with GCC.

  **Windows Behavior**: `extern template` and `dllexport` are fundamentally
  incompatible *on a class template* on Windows; the former suppresses
  instantiation, while the latter forces it. Specifying both on the same
  declaration makes the class template be instantiated, which is not desirable
  inside headers. This macro therefore expands to `dllimport` outside of libc++
  but nothing inside of it (rather than expanding to `dllexport`); instead, the
  explicit instantiations themselves are marked as exported. Note that this
  applies *only* to extern *class* templates. Extern *function* templates obey
  regular import/export semantics, and applying `dllexport` directly to the
  extern template declaration (i.e. using `_LIBCPP_FUNC_VIS`) is the correct
  thing to do for them.

**_LIBCPP_CLASS_TEMPLATE_INSTANTIATION_VIS**
  Mark the member functions, typeinfo, and vtable of an explicit instantiation
  of a class template as being exported by the libc++ library. This attribute
  must be specified on all class template explicit instantiations.

  It is only necessary to mark the explicit instantiation itself (as opposed to
  the extern template declaration) as exported on Windows, as discussed above.
  On all other platforms, this macro has an empty definition.

**_LIBCPP_METHOD_TEMPLATE_IMPLICIT_INSTANTIATION_VIS**
  Mark a symbol as hidden so it will not be exported from shared libraries. This
  is intended specifically for method templates of either classes marked with
  `_LIBCPP_TYPE_VIS` or classes with an extern template instantiation
  declaration marked with `_LIBCPP_EXTERN_TEMPLATE_TYPE_VIS`.

  When building libc++ with hidden visibility, we want explicit template
  instantiations to export members, which is consistent with existing Windows
  behavior. We also want classes annotated with `_LIBCPP_TYPE_VIS` to export
  their members, which is again consistent with existing Windows behavior.
  Both these changes are necessary for clients to be able to link against a
  libc++ DSO built with hidden visibility without encountering missing symbols.

  An unfortunate side effect, however, is that method templates of classes
  either marked `_LIBCPP_TYPE_VIS` or with extern template instantiation
  declarations marked with `_LIBCPP_EXTERN_TEMPLATE_TYPE_VIS` also get default
  visibility when instantiated. These methods are often implicitly instantiated
  inside other libraries which use the libc++ headers, and will therefore end up
  being exported from those libraries, since those implicit instantiations will
  receive default visibility. This is not acceptable for libraries that wish to
  control their visibility, and led to PR30642.

  Consequently, all such problematic method templates are explicitly marked
  either hidden (via this macro) or inline, so that they don't leak into client
  libraries. The problematic methods were found by running
  `bad-visibility-finder <https://github.com/smeenai/bad-visibility-finder>`_
  against the libc++ headers after making `_LIBCPP_TYPE_VIS` and
  `_LIBCPP_EXTERN_TEMPLATE_TYPE_VIS` expand to default visibility.

**_LIBCPP_EXTERN_TEMPLATE_INLINE_VISIBILITY**
  Mark a member function of a class template as visible and always inline. This
  macro should only be applied to member functions of class templates that are
  externally instantiated. It is important that these symbols are not marked
  as hidden as that will prevent the dylib definition from being found.

  This macro is used to maintain ABI compatibility for symbols that have been
  historically exported by the libc++ library but are now marked inline.

**_LIBCPP_EXCEPTION_ABI**
  Mark the member functions, typeinfo, and vtable of the type as being exported
  by the libc++ library. This macro must be applied to all *exception types*.
  Exception types should be defined directly in namespace `std` and not the
  versioning namespace. This allows throwing and catching some exception types
  between libc++ and libstdc++.

Links
=====

* `[cfe-dev] Visibility in libc++ - 1 <http://lists.llvm.org/pipermail/cfe-dev/2013-July/030610.html>`_
* `[cfe-dev] Visibility in libc++ - 2 <http://lists.llvm.org/pipermail/cfe-dev/2013-August/031195.html>`_
* `[libcxx] Visibility fixes for Windows <http://lists.llvm.org/pipermail/cfe-commits/Week-of-Mon-20130805/085461.html>`_