Note: None of this is implemented.

Safety is enriched when the programmer and the compiler work together towards that end, each bringing different gifts to bear on the problem. The compiler's gift is its obsessive ability to detect every time code breaks its declared constraints. This is manifested in the compiler's built-in guard rails for protecting your code against a number of common safety hazards. However, the compiler can only quickly check a small collection of very-simplistic rules; it has no intelligence to detect when rule-breaking code is still 100% safe. The compiler is trying to be helpful, but is just getting in the way!

This is where we rely on the programmer's gift (and ultimate responsibility) to figure this out, using techniques more sophisticated than simple safety rules. In such situations, Cone provides a built-in escape hatch from some of the over-anxious compiler's guard rails, in the form of an annotation. By preceding any any expression or block with trust (as in: "trust me on this"), several safety checks are turned off, thereby allowing:

By using this "trust" mechanism, compiler-unverifiable code can be isolated and highlighted as such, while still acknowledging that the programmer, who has the ultimate responsibility for safety, may very clearly see what the compiler cannot.

Type Reinterpretation

Reinterpretation takes some existing encoded value and allows it to be re-cast and manipulated as if it were a value of a different, but same-sized type. For example, we can use re-interpretation to explicitly coerce a non-nullable reference to a nullable one:

imm nullref = someref as ?&i32

Reinterpretation uses the as operator. Unlike other operators, as expects a type to the right of the operator.

Unless the re-interpretation represents a legal coercion, its use could pose a risk to type safety. A value could behave badly when treated and manipulated within the constraints of a different type.

When Cone is unsure of the risk, it requires use of trust to reassure it that the reinterpretation is safe. Use of this keyword marks that the programmer knows and accepts the reponsibility for handling it in a safe and useful way. For example, re-interpreting a nullable reference as non-nullable without a visible check for null-ness requires such reassurance:

imm someref = trust {nullref as &i32}

Although reinterpretation is mostly used with references and pointers, other valid uses are possible. For example, a IEEE 754-compliant floating-point number can be reinterpreted as an unsigned integer to get direct access to its encoded bits:

imm signbit = Bool[trust {pi as u64} >> 63]

This sort of capability is needed to safely build advanced floating point functions not supported by the CPU, such as trigonometric operations.


A union provides similar capability to enums and variant types. However, since it does explicitly designate a discriminant unable to verify that the appropriate pattern match was done prior to accessing a union's field. trust is the programmers way to tell the compiler not to worry here:

union Value:
  nbr usize
  ref &usize
fn getInt(v Value) usize trust:
  if (v.nbr & 3 == 0):

As this example shows, the entire function block can be marked as trustworthy.