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Re: mdb_cursor_del

David Barbour wrote:
The documentation for the `mdb_cursor_del` function doesn't indicate
what happens to the state of the cursor after the targeted object is

This makes it difficult to reason about, for example, the task of
scanning through the database and deleting keys or values according to
some criterion.

What does MDB_NEXT mean on a cursor after deletion? Will it return the
next element, or should I use MDB_GET_CURRENT for the next element? Or
will these operations return in error, and I should use MDB_SET_RANGE
with the deleted key?

Similarly, what happens to every other cursor pointing to the same key?
I see you have some code that touches them, but no documentation to tell
the user's what is happening.

This needs to be documented. Iterator invalidation is painful in C++
where it is thoroughly documented. When it's reduced to guesswork or
testing without a clear indication of intended behavior, it's worse.

The behavior wasn't settled, in the beginning. But you can read the mtest source code to see what the expected behavior is.

In an open source project, you are expected to read source code to understand what's going on.

Things have settled down enough now to formally document it though.

The point of using cursors is to retain state about a position in the DB, so it can be reused for a subsequent operation. This is the guiding principle. Otherwise cursors would have no reason to exist.

After a cursor_del, the cursor's position is unchanged - it points to the same page and node slot as it did before. But, since the node it pointed to was deleted, the actual data it points to changes. I.e., all nodes in the page are moved down 1 slot to occupy the vacated slot, so it points to whatever was the next item.

Both MDB_NEXT and MDB_GET_CURRENT will return the same record after cursor_del. This simplifies loops where you just want to delete all the records in a range - just use MDB_NEXT like any other loop iteration.

The cursor's actual position can change if the deletion causes a page merge. But its relative position in the set of data will still be the same.

  -- Howard Chu
  CTO, Symas Corp.           http://www.symas.com
  Director, Highland Sun     http://highlandsun.com/hyc/
  Chief Architect, OpenLDAP  http://www.openldap.org/project/