Announcing Quuxplusone/coro, single-header C++2a example code

My new GitHub repo Quuxplusone/coro is a collection of single-header library facilities for working with C++2a coroutines. Here’s an example:

#include <>
#include <stdio.h>
#include <tuple>
#include <range/v3/view/take.hpp>

namespace rv = ranges::view;

auto triples() -> shared_generator<std::tuple<int, int, int>> {
    for (int z = 1; true; ++z) {
        for (int x = 1; x < z; ++x) {
            for (int y = x; y < z; ++y) {
                if (x*x + y*y == z*z) {
                    co_yield std::make_tuple(x, y, z);

int main() {
    for (auto&& triple : triples() | rv::take(10)) {

Notice the first line of this code. It’s including a URL! Yes, Godbolt Compiler Explorer supports #include-by-URL. But the fetching and textual-pasting-in of the #included file is done entirely in client-side JavaScript. So if the header you’re including happens to #include some other header which is not installed on Godbolt’s virtual machine, then you’re out of luck.

So I decided the other day that what the world needed was a collection of single-header library facilities — one facility per header file — implementing simple coroutine primitives such as task and generator. So I made that.

Or, more accurately, I stole that! Most of the code in my repo so far is only slightly different from Lewis Baker’s llvm/coroutine_examples repo, or from Eric Niebler’s range/v3/experimental. They’re the ones who know how to write this code from scratch, really. The only thing I’m adding is the ability to #include these files from Compiler Explorer.

Lewis Baker is also the author of cppcoro, which is available in the Libraries dropdown on Compiler Explorer. So you can get a lot of stuff simply by adding cppcoro to your Libraries and writing lines like

#include <cppcoro/generator.hpp>

However, as of this writing, cppcoro::generator<T> is a move-only type (which makes perfect sense: it manages a coroutine, which is a non-copyable resource). Move-only types don’t satisfy ViewableRange, which means they don’t work with any of the range adaptors in the C++2a Ranges library.

Eric Niebler’s ranges::experimental::generator<T> is copyable and thus viewable, but if you try to compile it on Godbolt, Clang runs out of memory and crashes.

So I believe Quuxplusone/coro has at least some value-added. I hope some readers of this blog find it useful as well!

In the coming weeks, I hope to add more facilities to it, such as an awaitable type that can interleave execution within a thread pool, an awaitable optional, and a few manageable examples that use the co_await syntax in a meaningful way. If you know of good examples that show off the potential of co_await, please send them my way!

The release of C++2a should be delayed past 2020

Speaking of move-only range types, Corentin Jabot has a proposal currently before LWG that introduces “move-only iterator types”: P1207R2 “Movability of Single-pass Iterators” (June 2019). Move-only iterators are something that’s never been tried before; in classic C++, iterators are lightweight and copyable by definition. But Corentin correctly draws an analogy between istream_iterator<int> and auto_ptr<int>: both are copyable only because C++98 didn’t have move semantics. Neither one should be copyable!

Casey Carter’s P1456R0 “Move-only views” (January 2019) proposes a similar feature for range types.

In a world with coroutines, move-only iterators and ranges are going to become more important. (Uncertainty re WG21’s direction in this area is one reason cppcoro doesn’t yet provide any copyable/viewable generator type.) These both seem like very fruitful directions to explore. Today on Slack Corentin said of P1207 and P1456, “Both need to be in [C++]20, or never” — these are directions that if we do not explore them before shipping C++2a, we will likely never be able to act on them at all.

WG21 has no plans to add C++2a Coroutines support to the C++2a standard library. The current synopsis of the <coroutine> header is startlingly short and I have it on good authority that it will stay that way (unless Coroutines is ripped out of C++2a or unless additions to C++2a are entertained). There are semi-active proposals for a std::task<T> type similar to what you get from cppcoro or Quuxplusone/coro, but these proposals (Lewis Baker and Gor Nishanov’s P1056, Gor’s P1681) are no longer targeting C++2a.

Setting realistic deadlines is maybe an art, maybe a science, but regardless, the timetable must match the amount of work to be done. C++2a has a very big amount of work to be done, and work items of the form “explore, implement, and get user feedback on _____” aren’t necessarily parallelizable.

When is the best time to catch bugs: while the product is in development, or after it has been released to customers?

Posted 2019-07-03