Super access rules in explicit constructor invocation too restrictive

Issue #59 resolved
Jesper Öqvist created an issue

JLSv7 $ states:

An explicit constructor invocation statement in a constructor body may not refer to any instance variables or instance methods or inner classes declared in this class or any superclass, or use this or super in any expression; otherwise, a compile-time error occurs.

The use of this and super in the above specification should be interpreted as meaning any expression evaluating to this and super of the enclosing class of the constructor, not just any occurrence of this or super. For example, the class CustomRunnerTest from JUnit 4.0 has the following constructor:

    public static class CustomRunner extends TestClassRunner {
            public CustomRunner(Class<?> klass) throws InitializationError {
                    super(klass, new TestClassMethodsRunner(klass) {
                            protected TestMethodRunner createMethodRunner(Object test, Method method, RunNotifier notifier) {
                                    return new TestMethodRunner(test, method, notifier,
                                                    methodDescription(method)) {
                                            protected void executeMethodBody()
                                                            throws IllegalAccessException,
                                                            InvocationTargetException {

There is a super access in the above constructor, nested inside an explicit constructor invocation, however the super access does not refer to the same class as the one containing the constructor in which the explicit constructor invocation in question is used.

JastAddJ reports the following error:

  Semantic Error: super may not be accessed in an explicit constructor invocation

The error is of course correct using a naive interpretation of the Java specification, however the super access in this case should really not be an error. Further evidence to this claim is that javac 1.7.0_51 does not report an error for the same code.

Comments (3)

  1. Jesper Öqvist reporter

    Test case:

    class SS {
            public SS(Object o) {
    class Test extends SS {
            public Test() {
                    super(new Runnable() {
                            public void run() {
                                    // legal super access -- not accessing super of Test:
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