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Re: [Qemu-devel] [PATCH v2 15/18] rtc: add a dynamic property for retrie

From: Kevin Wolf
Subject: Re: [Qemu-devel] [PATCH v2 15/18] rtc: add a dynamic property for retrieving the date
Date: Tue, 13 Dec 2011 10:27:05 +0100
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:8.0) Gecko/20111115 Thunderbird/8.0

Am 09.12.2011 15:25, schrieb Anthony Liguori:
> On 12/09/2011 08:04 AM, Kevin Wolf wrote:
>> Am 09.12.2011 14:08, schrieb Anthony Liguori:
>>> On 12/09/2011 05:26 AM, Kevin Wolf wrote:
>>>> Am 02.12.2011 21:20, schrieb Anthony Liguori:
>>>>> This really shows the power of dynamic object properties compared to qdev
>>>>> static properties.
>>>>> This property represents a complex structure who's format is preserved 
>>>>> over the
>>>>> wire.  This is enabled by visitors.
>>>>> It also shows an entirely synthetic property that is not tied to device 
>>>>> state.
>>>>> Signed-off-by: Anthony Liguori<address@hidden>
>>>> There's one thing that I was hoping to find answered when I would have
>>>> reviewed the whole series, but it hasn't happened: There is no doubt
>>>> that dynamic properties (in the sense of being able to modify them after
>>>> constructions) are a useful thing. But you also claim that class-based
>>>> properties are not enough for QOM and that we need object-based ones,
>>>> which is a requirement not immediately obvious to me.
>>>> Can you provide some examples where we would explicitly need
>>>> object-based properties?
>>> Sure.  Any property that's dynamic needs to be object based.  A good example
>>> would be PCI slots.
>>> Today, we unconditionally advertise 32 slots in our ACPI tables.  It could 
>>> be
>>> desirable to eventually make this configurable.  So you can imagine where 
>>> you
>>> would have an 'slot-count' property and if that was set to 16, it would 
>>> result
>>> in 'slot[0]..slot[15]' being created.
>>> There are other good examples too.
>> So is it mostly about variably sized arrays, which just happen to be
>> considered independent properties in your approach? Or are there cases
>> where a logically separate property may be there or missing depending on
>> some condition, or possibly even that a new property is created during
>> runtime?
> So there are three possibilities for properties:
> 1) Properties have no per-object state, and exist entirely within the 
> classes. 
> This is what qdev does today.

Not quite sure what you mean by per-object state. The properties are
fields in the XyzState, so they certainly are per-object?

> 2) Properties are defined in the class, but carry per-object state.
> 3) Properties are defined in the object and carry per-object state.
> We definitely can rule out (1).  Stateful properties are needed to implement 
> links, composition, and just about anything interesting.
> Another way that (3) is useful is that it allows you to create container 
> devices 
> that more or less model a PCB.  That's how peripheral[-anon] is implemented 
> and 
> I imagine that it will also be useful for implementing "machine" devices.

What would this look like? The user creates new child/link properties on
the board, and some more automatically created properties somehow
describe the wiring between them?

> Of course, you could find a way to special case this with (2) but that's why 
> I 
> ended up going with (3).  You can avoid having a lot of special cases this 
> way.

I'm not entirely convinced that we really need this, but on the other
hand I don't feel strong enough about it to argue.

Actually I think my real problem isn't about per-object properties
(although they might add unnecessary complexity), but more about going
away from the qdev style of things where you had _one_ struct definition
that nicely described all of the properties in a central place. Instead,
I'm seeing patches that spread property definitions all over the code.

Now I understand that for dynamically created properties (like on your
PCB) this is necessary and can't be avoided. For about 99% of the
devices static definition of properties would be enough, though.

So basically what I'm asking for is getting the static structs back for
the 99% and have common code that parses them and calls the appropriate
functions to actually the properties. The remaining 1% that
creates/deletes properties during runtime and isn't covered can directly
call whatever it needs.


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