Bounds Checking

For a slice or array x, an expression like x[i .. j] is invalid unless the compiler can prove that ((0 <= i) and (i <= j) and (j <= x.length())). For example, the expression x[..] is always valid because the implicit i and j values are 0 and x.length(), and a slice or array cannot have negative length.

Similarly, an expression like x[i] is invalid unless there is a compile-time proof that i is in-bounds: that ((0 <= i) and (i < x.length())). Proofs can involve natural bounds (e.g. if i has type base.u8 then (0 <= i) is trivially true since a base.u8 is unsigned), refinements (e.g. if i has type base.u32[..= 100] then 100 is an inclusive upper bound for i), facts (e.g. an explicit prior check if i < x.length()) and interval arithmetic (e.g. for an expression like x[m + n], the upper bound for m + n is the sum of the upper bounds of m and n).

For example, if a is an array base.u8, and expr is some expression of type base.u32, then a[expr & 1023] is valid (in-bounds). The bitwise-and means that the overall index expression is in the range [0 ..= 1023], regardless of expr's range.

Overflow Checking

Arithmetic overflow checking uses the same mechanisms as bounds checking. For example, if m and n both have type base.u8 (or a refinement thereof) then the expression m + n also has type base.u8. Proving that m + n evaluates to something inside the base.u8 range, [0 ..= 255], is equivalent to proving that the expression h[m + n] is valid (in-bounds) for a hypothetical h array of length 256.

nullptr Checking

Guarding against nullptr dereferences is another case of bounds checking. Like other programming languages, nptr T and ptr T are types: nullable and non-null pointers to some type T. In Wuffs, the latter is effectively a refinement. Assuming that nullptr is equivalent to 0, ptr T is conceptually just (nptr T)[1 ..= UINTPTR_MAX], although that's not actually valid syntax. Similarly, if expr is a pointer-typed expression then checking that expr is not nullptr is equivalent to checking that expr is in the range [1 ..= UINTPTR_MAX].