DR: Matching of template template-arguments excludes compatible templates

Document number: P0522R0
Date: 2016-11-11
Project: Programming Language C++, Core Working Group
Reply-to: James Touton <bekenn@gmail.com>
Hubert Tong <hubert.reinterpretcast@gmail.com>

Table of Contents

  1. Table of Contents
  2. Introduction
  3. Overview
  4. Wording
  5. References
  6. Acknowledgments


Template template-parameters only bind to arguments with matching parameter lists. Matching is currently defined as an exact match; each template parameter in the argument's parameter list must have the same kind and type as the corresponding parameter in the template-parameter's parameter list. (There is an ill-advised exception to this rule when a parameter pack appears in the template-parameter's parameter list; this paper preserves that special behavior.) The matching rules exclude many reasonable arguments. This paper adjusts the matching rules to invoke partial ordering to determine when a template template-argument is a valid match for a template-parameter.

This paper resolves Core issue CWG 150.


This paper allows a template template-parameter to bind to a template argument whenever the template parameter is at least as specialized as the template argument. This implies that any template argument list that can legitimately be applied to the template template-parameter is also applicable to the argument template.


template <template <int> class> void FI();
template <template <auto> class> void FA();
template <auto> struct SA { /* ... */ };
template <int> struct SI { /* ... */ };
FI<SA>();  // OK; error before this paper
FA<SI>();  // error

template <template <typename> class> void FD();
template <typename, typename = int> struct SD { /* ... */ };
FD<SD>();  // OK; error before this paper (CWG 150)


All modifications are presented relative to N4606.

Modify §14.3.3 [temp.arg.template] paragraph 3:

A template-argument matches a template template-parameter P when P is at least as specialized as the template-argument A. If P contains a parameter pack, then A also matches P if each of A'sthe template parameters in the template-parameter-list of the template-argument's corresponding class template or alias template A matches the corresponding template parameter in the template-parameter-list of P. Two template parameters match if they are of the same kind (type, non-type, template), for non-type template-parameters, their types are equivalent ([temp.over.link]), and for template template-parameters, each of their corresponding template-parameters matches, recursively. When P's template-parameter-list contains a template parameter pack ([temp.variadic]), the template parameter pack will match zero or more template parameters or template parameter packs in the template-parameter-list of A with the same type and form as the template parameter pack in P (ignoring whether those template parameters are template parameter packs).


template<class T> class A { /* ... */ };
template<class T, class U = T> class B { /* ... */ };
template <class ... Types> class C { /* ... */ };
template<auto n> class D { /* ... */ };
template<template<class> class P> class X { /* ... */ };
template<template<class ...> class Q> class Y { /* ... */ };
template<template<int> class R> class Z { /* ... */ };
X<A> xa; // OK
X<B> xb; // OKill-formed: default arguments for the parameters of a template argument are ignored
X<C> xc; // OKill-formed: a template parameter pack does not match a template parameter
Y<A> ya; // OK
Y<B> yb; // OK
Y<C> yc; // OK
Z<D> zd; // OK

end example ]


template <class T> struct eval;
template <template <class, class...> class TT, class T1, class... Rest>
struct eval<TT<T1, Rest...>> { };
template <class T1> struct A;
template <class T1, class T2> struct B;
template <int N> struct C;
template <class T1, int N> struct D;
template <class T1, class T2, int N = 17> struct E;
eval<A<int>> eA; // OK: matches partial specialization of eval
eval<B<int, float>> eB; // OK: matches partial specialization of eval
eval<C<17>> eC; // error: C does not match TT in partial specialization
eval<D<int, 17>> eD; // error: D does not match TT in partial specialization
eval<E<int, float>> eE; // error: E does not match TT in partial specialization

end example ]

Insert a new paragraph after §14.3.3 [temp.arg.template] paragraph 3:

A template template-parameter P is at least as specialized as a template template-argument A if, given the following rewrite to two function templates, the function template corresponding to P is at least as specialized as the function template corresponding to A according to the partial ordering rules for function templates ([temp.func.order]). Given an invented class template X with the template parameter list of A (including default arguments):

If the rewrite produces an invalid type, then P is not at least as specialized as A.


  1. CWG Issue 150: http://open-std.org/JTC1/SC22/WG21/docs/papers/2015/n4457.html#150