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Re: [Qemu-devel] [PATCH v5 01/28] qapi: Document type-safety considerati

From: Eric Blake
Subject: Re: [Qemu-devel] [PATCH v5 01/28] qapi: Document type-safety considerations
Date: Wed, 25 Mar 2015 14:11:53 -0600
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On 03/25/2015 12:31 PM, Markus Armbruster wrote:
> Eric Blake <address@hidden> writes:
>> Go into more details about the various types of valid expressions
>> in a qapi schema, including tweaks to document fixes being done
>> later in the current patch series.  Also fix some stale and missing
>> documentation in the QMP specification.
>> Signed-off-by: Eric Blake <address@hidden>
>> ---
>> I'm not sure if it is okay to assert GPLv2+ licensing without an
>> explicit Copyright, but as I am not the original author, I don't
>> know who to attribute any original Copyright to.  Advice?  Should
>> I split the license addition to a separate patch?

No thoughts to this question?

>> +There are six top-level expressions recognized by the parser:
>> +'include', 'command', 'type', 'enum', 'union', and 'event'.  There are
>> +several built-in types, such as 'int' and 'str'; additionally, the
>> +top-level expressions can define complex types, enumeration types, and
>> +several flavors of union types.  The 'command' expression can refer to
>> +existing types by name, or list an anonymous type as a dictionary.
> 'event' can do that, too.

Yep. I can fix that on top if no respin is needed.

>> +Types, commands, and events share a common namespace.  Therefore,
>> +generally speaking, type definitions should always use CamelCase for
>> +user-defined type names, while built-in types are lowercase. Type
>> +definitions should not end in 'Kind', as this namespace is used for
>> +creating implicit C enums for visiting union types.  Command names,
>> +and field names within a type, should be all lower case with words
>> +separated by a hyphen.  However, some existing older commands and
>> +complex types use underscore; when extending such expressions,
>> +consistency is preferred over blindly avoiding underscore.  Event
>> +names should be ALL_CAPS with words separated by underscore.  The
>> +special string '**' appears for some commands that manually perform
>> +their own type checking rather than relying on the type-safe code
>> +produced by the qapi code generators.
> The generator generates C identifiers pretty thoughtlessly, and is
> therefore prone to generate clashes.  Fixable, but we've got bigger fish
> to fry, and this series is hefty enough as it is.  Documenting the mess
> instead makes sense.

And I actually DO tighten up the parser to flag some of these problems
later in the series.

>>  The QAPI schema definitions can be modularized using the 'include' 
>> directive:
>>   { 'include': 'path/to/file.json'}
> If you need to respin for some reason, insert a space before the closing
> brace.

Sure; added to my on-top-or-respin pile.

>> -A complex type is a dictionary containing a single key whose value is a
>> -dictionary.  This corresponds to a struct in C or an Object in JSON.  An
>> -example of a complex type is:
>> +Usage: { 'type': 'str', 'data': 'dict', '*base': 'complex-type-name' }
> Here, the reader needs to get that 'type' and 'data' and 'base' are
> literals, but 'str', 'dict' and 'complex-type-name' are placeholders.  I
> like setting apart placeholders with typograhic conventions.  If we want
> to do that, let's do it on top.

I was trying to borrow from qapi syntax, in that the 'data' dictionary
uses '*name':'type' for a literal "name" coupled with a
value-of-that-type pair in the dictionary sent over the wire for
"arguments".  As for a typographical convention, would either of these
be any easier to read?

Usage: { 'type': 'STR', 'data': 'DICT', '*base': 'COMPLEX-TYPE-NAME' }


Usage: { 'type': string, 'data': dict [, 'base': complex-type-name] }

> '*base' is interesting.  It's a tacit use of the schema language's
> "'*name' means member 'name' is optional" rule on meta-schema-level.  We
> can take care of that when/if we clarify placeholders.
>> +
>> +A complex type is a dictionary containing a single 'data' key whose
>> +value is a dictionary.  This corresponds to a struct in C or an Object
>> +in JSON. Each value of the 'data' dictionary must be the name of a
>> +complex, enum, union, or built-in type,
> Are there any others?  If not, we can simplify to
>     Each value of the 'data' dictionary must be a type name

Works for me, especially since the addition of 'alternate' later in this
series is also a type that works in this context.

>>                                          or a one-element array
>> +containing a type name.  An example of a complex type is:
>>   { 'type': 'MyType',
>>     'data': { 'member1': 'str', 'member2': 'int', '*member3': 'str' } }
>> -The use of '*' as a prefix to the name means the member is optional.
>> +The use of '*' as a prefix to the name means the member is optional in
>> +the corresponding QMP usage.
> Not just in QMP, also QGA and (internal) C interfaces.  Since explaining
> that is tiresome, I'd be tempted to stick to the original sentence here.
> Preexisting: we sometimes say "QMP wire format", and sometimes simply
> "JSON".  Again, we got bigger fish to fry.

If I do anything for this, it will be a separate patch on top scrubbing
for all uses.

>> +Additionally, an implicit C enum NameKind is created, corresponding to
>> +the union Name, for accessing the various branches of the union.  No
>> +branch of the union can be named 'max', as this would collide with the
>> +implicit enum.
> Aside: I guess this implicit enum is just like a normal QAPI enum,
> except it doesn't have a name in the schema.

Implemented identically; and why I want to eventually add:

{ 'enum': 'Enum', 'data': [ 'one', 'two' ] }
{ 'union': 'Name', 'discriminator': 'Enum',
  'data': { 'one': 'str', 'two': 'int' } }
{ 'command': 'foo', 'data': 'Name' }

to allow this on the wire:

{ "execute": "foo", "arguments": { "type": "one", "data": "string" } }
{ "execute": "foo", "arguments": { "type": "two", "data": 1 } }

>>   { 'type': 'BlockdevCommonOptions', 'data': { 'readonly': 'bool' } }
>>   { 'union': 'BlockdevOptions',
> Worth mentioning explicitly that the base type's members are common to
> all the union's cases?


>> +The final flavor of unions is an anonymous union. While the other two
>> +union types are always passed as a dictionary in the wire format, an
>> +anonymous union instead allows the direct use of different types in
>> +its place. As they aren't structured, they don't have any explicit
>> +discriminator but use the (QObject) data type of their value as an
>> +implicit discriminator. This means that they are restricted to using
>> +only one discriminator value per QObject type. For example, you cannot
>> +have two different complex types in an anonymous union, or two
>> +different integer types.
> This is the first mention of "QObject type".  How it's related to JSON
> is left to the reader's deductive skills :)
> The connections JSON string - QTYPE_QSTRING, JSON object - QTYPE_QDICT,
> JSON array - QTYPE_QLIST and JSON boolean - QTYPE_QBOOL are obvious
> enough.
> If I remember correctly, our JSON parser chokes on the JSON keyword
> null.
> That leaves just JSON numbers - QTYPE_QINT or QTYPE_QFLOAT.  Can an
> anonymous union have a separate case for each of the two?
> For completeness: on the QTYPE_ side, it leaves QTYPE_QERROR and
> QTYPE_NONE.  QTYPE_QERROR is internal only, and will hopefully be gone
> soon.  I can't see QTYPE_NONE objects being created anywhere.
> Should we explain this in terms of JSON types instead of QObject types?

Yeah, makes sense.  Sounds like my on-top patch is getting bigger.

>>  Anonymous unions are declared using an empty dictionary as their 
>> discriminator.
>>  The discriminator values never appear on the wire, they are only used in the
>> @@ -200,23 +350,93 @@ This example allows using both of the following 
>> example objects:
>>  === Commands ===
>> -Commands are defined by using a list containing three members.  The first
>> -member is the command name, the second member is a dictionary containing
>> -arguments, and the third member is the return type.
>> +Usage: { 'command': 'str', '*data': 'dict-or-complex-type-name',
>> +         '*returns': 'type',
> Shoudn't this be '*returns': 'dict-or-type-name'?

Yep.  Good catch.

>> +         '*gen': false, '*success-response': false }
>> -An example command is:
>> +Commands are defined by using a dictionary containing several members,
>> +where three members are most common.  The 'command' member is a
>> +mandatory string, and determines the "execute" value passed in a QMP
>> +command exchange.
>> +
>> +The 'data' member is optional; if absent, the command accepts an
>> +optional empty dictionary.
> Suggest: The 'data' member is optional, and defaults to {}.
>> +                            If present, it must be the string name of
>> +a complex type, a one-element array containing the name of a complex
>> +type, or a dictionary that declares an anonymous type with the same
>> +semantics as a 'type' expression, with one exception noted below when
>> +'gen' is used.  The 'data' argument maps to the "arguments" dictionary
>> +passed in as part of a QMP command.
> Suggest to move the last sentence to the beginning of the paragaph.

Good ideas.

>> +
>> +The 'returns' member describes what will appear in the "return" field
>> +of a QMP reply on successful completion of a command.  The member is
>> +optional from the command declaration; if absent, the "return" field
>> +will be an empty dictionary.  If 'returns' is present, it must be the
>> +string name of a complex or built-in type, a one-element array
>> +containing the name of a complex or built-in type, or a dictionary
>> +that declares an anonymous type with the same semantics as a 'type'
>> +expression, with one exception noted below when 'gen' is used.
> Oh, 'gen' affect 'returns', too?  Live and learn...

Yes; thanks to 'qom-get'.

>> +
>> + { 'command': 'netdev_add',
>> +   'data': {'type': 'str', 'id': 'str', '*props': '**'},
>> +   'gen': false }
> We use 'gen': 'no' until PATCH 18.

Yeah.  I debated about that one, whether to do all my docs to their
final state up front, or whether to doc existing practice and then tweak
it to be more specific later in the series as fixes were made.  I guess
you can see which way I chose.  And of course, if I do more followups on
top of the series, I no longer have all changes in one place.  Oh well;
doc changes don't affect bisection :)

(well, I did more docs later when creating 'alternate' in place of
anonymous union, but still limited to two patches)

>> +
>> +Normally, the QAPI schema is used to describe synchronous exchanges,
>> +where a response is expected.  But in some cases, the action of a
>> +command is expected to change state in a way that a successful
>> +response is not possible (the command still returns a normal
>> +dictionary error on failure).  When a successful reply is not
>> +possible, the command expression should include the optional key
>> +'success-response' with boolean value false.  So far, only the
>> +qemu-guest-agent makes use of this field.
> I had no idea :)

You said that last time :)

>>  http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc4627.txt
> Upgrade to RFC 7159?

Sure; wasn't even aware it was out there.

/me reads it

Looks like it added hints about objects being true dictionaries
(repeating a name leads to unpredictable results, you can't rely on
order being preserved in the dictionary by default), clarified that
arrays need not be homogeneous types; gave more details on the limits of
numbers, spoke more about consequences of encoding in other than UTF-8,
and required that escape sequences be normalized before comparing
strings for equality.  None of those should really hurt our usage (well,
we DO document that our use of json-object for 'data' member is
special-cased in that order is significant to the generated C code but
not to the QMP wire format).

>>  The format of a success response is:
>> -{ "return": json-object, "id": json-value }
>> +{ "return": json-entity, "id": json-value }
> Unlike the other json-FOOs we use, "entity" isn't defined in RFC4627.
> "value" is, and we already use json-value.  What's the difference
> between the two?

Umm, when I wrote that, I was thinking "id":json-value meant integer, so
I wanted something that was not an integer.  But sure enough, json-value
is precisely the term I wanted to use:

$ qemu-kvm -qmp stdio -nodefaults
{"QMP": {"version": {"qemu": {"micro": 90, "minor": 2, "major": 2},
"package": " (qemu-2.3.0-0.1.rc0.fc21)"}, "capabilities": []}}
{"return": {}, "id": []}
{"execute":"huh", "id":{"a":1,"b":true}}
{"id": {"a": 1, "b": true}, "error": {"class": "CommandNotFound",
"desc": "The command huh has not been found"}}

So _I_ learned something (the id can be anything at all!)

Looks like I have some wording improvements to add.

>>   Where,
>> -- The "return" member contains the command returned data, which is defined
>> -  in a per-command basis or an empty json-object if the command does not
>> -  return data
>> +- The "return" member contains the data returned by the command, which
>> +  is defined on a per-command basis (usually a json-object or
>> +  json-array of json-objects, but sometimes a json-value, json-string,
>> +  or json-array of json-strings); it is an empty json-object if the
>> +  command does not return data
> Err, aren't json-object, -string, -array all json-value?  At least
> that's how the JSON RFC uses "value".


> Massive improvement.  We can always improve some more on top, thus:
> Reviewed-by: Markus Armbruster <address@hidden>

Thank you.  If there's cause for respin, I can fold in some improvements
then; otherwise, I'm already working on putting my changes into a
followup patch.

Eric Blake   eblake redhat com    +1-919-301-3266
Libvirt virtualization library http://libvirt.org

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