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  ANSI Common Lisp   4 Types and Classes   4.4 Dictionary of Types and Classes

4.4.26 subtypep Function

Syntax:
subtypep type-1 type-2 &optional environment    subtype-p, valid-p

Arguments and Values:
type-1 - a type specifier.

type-2 - a type specifier.

environment - an environment object. The default is nil, denoting the null lexical environment and the current global environment.

subtype-p - a generalized boolean.

valid-p - a generalized boolean.

Description:
If type-1 is a recognizable subtype of type-2, the first value is true. Otherwise, the first value is false, indicating that either type-1 is not a subtype of type-2, or else type-1 is a subtype of type-2 but is not a recognizable subtype.

A second value is also returned indicating the `certainty' of the first value. If this value is true, then the first value is an accurate indication of the subtype relationship. (The second value is always true when the first value is true.)

The next figure summarizes the possible combinations of values that might result.

Result possibilities for subtypep
Value 1 Value 2 Meaning
true true type-1 is definitely a subtype of type-2.
false true type-1 is definitely not a subtype of type-2.
false false subtypep could not determine the relationship,
so type-1 might or might not be a subtype of type-2.

subtypep is permitted to return the values false and false only when at least one argument involves one of these type specifiers: and, eql, the list form of function, member, not, or, satisfies, or values. (A type specifier `involves' such a symbol if, after being type expanded, it contains that symbol in a position that would call for its meaning as a type specifier to be used.) One consequence of this is that if neither type-1 nor type-2 involves any of these type specifiers, then subtypep is obliged to determine the relationship accurately. In particular, subtypep returns the values true and true if the arguments are equal and do not involve any of these type specifiers.

subtypep never returns a second value of nil when both type-1 and type-2 involve only the names in Figure 4.2.3 Type Specifiers, or names of types defined by defstruct, define-condition, or defclass, or derived types that expand into only those names. While type specifiers listed in Figure 4.2.3 Type Specifiers and names of defclass and defstruct can in some cases be implemented as derived types, subtypep regards them as primitive.

The relationships between types reflected by subtypep are those specific to the particular implementation. For example, if an implementation supports only a single type of floating-point numbers, in that implementation (subtypep 'float 'long-float) returns the values true and true (since the two types are identical).

For all T1 and T2 other than *, (array T1) and (array T2) are two different type specifiers that always refer to the same sets of things if and only if they refer to arrays of exactly the same specialized representation, i.e., if (upgraded-array-element-type 'T1) and (upgraded-array-element-type 'T2) return two different type specifiers that always refer to the same sets of objects. This is another way of saying that `(array type-specifier) and `(array ,(upgraded-array-element-type 'type-specifier)) refer to the same set of specialized array representations. For all T1 and T2 other than *, (array T1) and (array T2) is the empty set if and only if they refer to arrays of different, distinct specialized representations.

Therefore,

 (subtypep '(array T1) '(array T2))  true
if and only if

 (upgraded-array-element-type 'T1)  and
 (upgraded-array-element-type 'T2)  

return two different type specifiers that always refer to the same sets of objects.

For all type-specifiers T1 and T2 other than *,

 (subtypep '(complex T1) '(complex T2))  true, true

if:

  • 1. T1 is a subtype of T2, or
  • 2. (upgraded-complex-part-type 'T1) and (upgraded-complex-part-type 'T2) return two different type specifiers that always refer to the same sets of objects; in this case, (complex T1) and (complex T2) both refer to the same specialized representation.
The values are false and true otherwise.

The form

 (subtypep '(complex single-float) '(complex float))
must return true in all implementations, but

 (subtypep '(array single-float) '(array float))

returns true only in implementations that do not have a specialized array representation for single floats distinct from that for other floats.

Examples:
 (subtypep 'compiled-function 'function)  true, true
 (subtypep 'null 'list)  true, true
 (subtypep 'null 'symbol)  true, true
 (subtypep 'integer 'string)  false, true
 (subtypep '(satisfies ) nil)  false, implementation-dependent
 (subtypep '(integer 1 3) '(integer 1 4))  true, true
 (subtypep '(integer (0) (0)) 'nil)  true, true
 (subtypep 'nil '(integer (0) (0)))  true, true
 (subtypep '(integer (0) (0)) '(member))  true, true ;or false, false
 (subtypep '(member) 'nil)  true, true ;or false, false
 (subtypep 'nil '(member))  true, true ;or false, false

Let <aet-x> and <aet-y> be two distinct type specifiers that do not always refer to the same sets of objects in a given implementation, but for which make-array, will return an object of the same array type.

Thus, in each case,

  (subtypep (array-element-type (make-array 0 :element-type '<aet-x>))
            (array-element-type (make-array 0 :element-type '<aet-y>)))
 true, true
 
  (subtypep (array-element-type (make-array 0 :element-type '<aet-y>))
            (array-element-type (make-array 0 :element-type '<aet-x>)))
 true, true

If (array <aet-x>) and (array <aet-y>) are different names for exactly the same set of objects, these names should always refer to the same sets of objects. That implies that the following set of tests are also true:

 (subtypep '(array <aet-x>) '(array <aet-y>))  true, true
 (subtypep '(array <aet-y>) '(array <aet-x>))  true, true

See Also:
Section 4.2 Types

Notes:
The small differences between the subtypep specification for the array and complex types are necessary because there is no creation function for complexes which allows the specification of the resultant part type independently of the actual types of the parts. Thus in the case of the type complex, the actual type of the parts is referred to, although a number can be a member of more than one type. For example, 17 is of type (mod 18) as well as type (mod 256) and type integer; and 2.3f5 is of type single-float as well as type float.

Allegro CL Implementation Details:
None.

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