I used to write code like const int * const * const ptrPtr; for about a year, having seen the “modern C” etc tutorials saying literally everything but be const. In that year, I had one bug that would have been caught by consting absolutely everything, but wasn’t because I forgot to write const enough times on a pointer, and with that I stopped doing it.
const int * const * const ptrPtr;
Writing const on everything is not worth the readability hit. It’s not worth the time it takes to type it in. Const in C is simply not powerful enough to catch real bugs, nor guide you towards better designs.
I would use and appreciate a -fconst-by-default, but that’s never going to happen.
i wonder how hard it would be to transition to a saner declaration syntax for C. it would introduce no actual language changes, so you could do it entirely as a preprocessing step, run after the C preprocessor expansion is complete and before you hand off to the compiler. per-file would be the simplest way to do it - all you need is a directive at the start of the file to run the extra preprocessor, and everything else would work unchanged. the readability payoff would be considerable.
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“Have you considered rewriting it in Rust?”
Maybe they could use Go’s declaration syntax? It’s clean and well thought out and fits pretty well into the C-derived language syntax.
yeah, go was what I had in mind when I was writing that; it’s designed by people with deep c experience who learnt from the mistakes of the past