Attribute specifier sequence(since C23)

< c‎ | language

Introduces implementation-defined attributes for types, objects, expressions, etc.

[[attr]] [[attr1, attr2, attr3(args)]] [[attribute-prefix::attr(args)]]

Formally, the syntax is

[[ attribute-list ]] (since C23)

where attribute-list is a comma-separated sequence of zero or more attribute-tokens

standard-attribute (1)
attribute-prefix :: identifier (2)
standard-attribute ( argument-list ) (3)
attribute-prefix :: identifier ( argument-list ) (4)
1) standard attribute, such as [[fallthrough]]
2) attribute with a namespace, such as [[gnu::unused]]
3) standard attribute with arguments, such as [[deprecated("reason")]]
4) attribute with both a namespace and an argument list


[edit] Explanation

Attributes provide the unified standard syntax for implementation-defined language extensions, such as the GNU and IBM language extensions __attribute__((...)), Microsoft extension __declspec(), etc.

An attribute can be used almost everywhere in the C program, and can be applied to almost everything: to types, to variables, to functions, to names, to code blocks, to entire translation units, although each particular attribute is only valid where it is permitted by the implementation: [[expect_true]] could be an attribute that can only be used with an if, and not with a class declaration. [[omp::parallel()]] could be an attribute that applies to a code block or to a for loop, but not to the type int, etc. (note these two attributes are fictional examples, see below for the standard and some non-standard attributes)

In declarations, attributes may appear both before the whole declaration and directly after the name of the entity that is declared, in which case they are combined. In most other situations, attributes apply to the directly preceding entity.

Unlike alignas and [[noreturn]] in C++, the _Alignas and _Noreturn specifiers are not a part of the attribute specifier sequence.

Two consecutive left square bracket tokens ([[) may only appear when introducing an attribute-specifier or inside an attribute argument.

Besides the standard attributes listed below, implementations may support arbitrary non-standard attributes with implementation-defined behavior. All attributes unknown to an implementation are ignored without causing an error.

Every standard-attribute is reserved for standardization. That is, every non-standard attribute is in the attribute-prefix provided by the implementation, e.g. [[gnu::may_alias]] and [[clang::no_sanitize]].

[edit] Standard attributes

Only the following attributes are defined by the C standard. Every standard attribute whose name is of form attr can be also spelled as __attr__ and its meaning is not changed.

indicates that the use of the name or entity declared with this attribute is allowed, but discouraged for some reason
[[fallthrough]](C23) indicates that the fall through from the previous case label is intentional and should not be diagnosed by a compiler that warns on fall-through
encourages the compiler to issue a warning if the return value is discarded
[[maybe_unused]](C23) suppresses compiler warnings on unused entities, if any

[edit] Attribute testing

__has_c_attribute( attribute-token )

Checks for the presence of an attribute token named by attribute-token.

For standard attributes, it will expand to the year and month in which the attribute was added to the working draft (see table below), the presence of vendor-specific attributes is determined by a non-zero integer constant.

__has_c_attribute can be expanded in the expression of #if and #elif. It is treated as a defined macro by #ifdef, #ifndef and defined but cannot be used anywhere else.

attribute-token Attribute Value Standard
deprecated [[deprecated]] 201904L (C23)
fallthrough [[fallthrough]] 201904L (C23)
maybe_unused [[maybe_unused]] 201904L (C23)
nodiscard [[nodiscard]] 202003L (C23)

[edit] Example

[[gnu::always_inline]] [[gnu::hot]] [[gnu::const]] [[nodiscard]]
int f(void); // declare f with four attributes
[[gnu::always_inline, gnu::const, gnu::hot, nodiscard]]
int f(void); // same as above, but uses a single attr specifier that contains four attributes
int f(void) { return 0; }
int main(void)

[edit] External links

[edit] See also

C++ documentation for Attribute specifier sequence