Zero overhead utilities for preventing bugs at compile time
C++ CMake Python
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type_safe provides zero overhead abstractions that use the C++ type system to prevent bugs.

Zero overhead abstractions here and in following mean abstractions that have no cost with optimizations enabled, but may lead to slightly lower runtime in debug mode, especially when assertions for this library are enabled.

The library features cannot really explained in the scope of this readme, I highly suggest that you check out the first and second blog post and the examples.


Improved built-in types

  • ts::integer<T> - a zero overhead wrapper over a built-in integer type
    • no default constructor to force meaningful initialization
    • no "lossy" conversions (i.e. from a bigger type or a type with a different signedness)
    • no mixed arithmetic/comparison with floating points or integer types of a different signedness
    • over/underflow is undefined behavior in release mode - even for unsigned integers, enabling compiler optimizations
  • ts::floating_point<T> - a zero overhead wrapper over a built-in floating point
    • no default constructor to force meaningful initialization
    • no "lossy" conversion (i.e. from a bigger type)
    • no "lossy" comparisons
    • no mixed arithmetic/comparison with integers
  • ts::boolean - a zero overhead wrapper over bool
    • no default constructor to force meaningful initialization
    • no conversion from integer values
    • no arithmetic operators
  • aliases like ts::uint32_t or ts::size_t that are either wrapper or built-in type depending on macro
  • literal operators for those aliases like 342_u32 or 0_usize

Vocabulary types

  • ts::object_ref<T> - a non-null pointer
  • ts::index_t and ts::distance_t - index and distance integer types with only a subset of operations available
  • ts::array_ref<T> - non-null reference to contigous storage
  • ts::function_ref<T> - non-null reference to a function
  • ts::flag - an improved flag type, better than a regular bool or ts::boolean
  • ts::flag_set<Enum> - a set of flags
  • ts::output_parameter<T> - an improved output parameter compared to the naive lvalue reference

Optional & Variant

  • ts::basic_optional<StoragePolicy> - a generic, improved std::optional that is fully monadic, also ts::optional<T> and ts::optional_ref<T> implementations
  • ts::compact_optional implementation for no space overhead optionals
  • ts::basic_variant<VariantPolicy, Types...> - a generic, improved std::variant, also ts::variant and ts::fallback_variant implementations

Type safe building blocks

  • ts::constrained_type<T, Constraint, Verifier> - a wrapper over some type that verifies that a certain constraint is always fulfilled
    • ts::constraints::* - predefined constraints like non_null, non_empty, ...
    • ts::tagged_type<T, Constraint> - constrained type without checking, useful for tagging
    • ts::bounded_type<T> - constrained type that ensures a value in a certain interval
    • ts::clamped_type<T> - constrained type that clamps a value to ensure that it is in the certain interval
  • ts::strong_typedef - a generic facility to create strong typedefs more easily
  • ts::deferred_construction<T> - create an object without initializing it yet


Header-only, just copy the files in your project. You need to add the type_safe include directory to your include path as well as make debug_assert.hpp available. The repository is included as git submodule, simply run git submodule update --init and add external/debug_assert to the include path. You also need to enable C++11.

Behavior can be customized with the following macros:

  • TYPE_SAFE_ENABLE_ASSERTIONS (default is 1): whether or not assertions are enabled in this library
  • TYPE_SAFE_ENABLE_WRAPPER (default is 1): whether or not the typedefs in type_safe/types.hpp use the wrapper classes
  • TYPE_SAFE_ARITHMETIC_UB (default is 1): whether under/overflow in the better integer types is UB.

If you're using CMake there is the target type_safe available after you've called add_subdirectory(path/to/type_safe). Simply link this target to your target and it will setup everything automagically. For convenience the macros are also mapped to CMake options of the same name.


You can find the full documentation generated by standardese on my website.


This project is greatly supported by my patrons. In particular thanks to the individual supporters:

  • Reiner Eiteljörge

And big thanks to the main contributors as well: