IMP logo
IMP Manual  for IMP version 2.7.0

Sometimes it is useful to drop support for code (or other things, like file formats) for various reasons, for example

  • it represents a failed experiment
  • there is better functionality that replaced it
  • it wasn't used
  • it is broken and not worth fixing

For such code that will be removed, our policy is to mark it as deprecated for one stable release (e.g. 2.1) and then remove it in the next one (2.2). In practice this means adding the markers in the IMP develop branch before the 2.1 release, then removing the code in the develop branch sometime between the 2.1 and 2.2 releases. The general idea is that any code that works in the latest stable release (e.g. tutorials, examples, biological systems) should also work without modification in the latest nightly build (but there is no guarantee that code works unchanged from one stable release to the next).

If you deprecate code in favor of some new mechanism, it is your responsibility to update all callers of the old code in IMP (C++ code, test cases, examples, benchmarks) to use the new way of doing things, and ensure the test cases still pass. You should also wait until the new mechanism is fully functional before deprecating the old one.

Code that is deprecated must produce warnings when used. (You can also force usage of deprecated code to trigger an exception by calling IMP::set_deprecation_exceptions() or by passing the --deprecation_exceptions command line flag.)


C++ code should be marked in the following way (where EXAMPLE is replaced by your module name and 2.1 is replaced by the release where the code is deprecated):

  • macros should have an IMPEXAMPLE_DEPRECATED_MACRO(version, replacement) line added within their definition
        #define MY_DEPRECATED_MACRO(args)                                                     \
                IMPEXAMPLE_DEPRECATED_MACRO(2.1, "You should use MY_NEW_MACRO(args) instead") \
                do stuff....
  • class methods should have IMPEXAMPLE_DEPRECATED_METHOD_DECL(version) added to the end of the declaration and IMPEXAMPLE_DEPRECATED_METHOD_DEF(version, message) added in their body
       class IMPEXAMPLEEXPORT MyClass {
         void my_deprecated_method(args) {
           IMPEXAMPLE_DEPRECATED_METHOD_DEF(2.1, "Use my_new_method(args) instead");
           do stuff....
  • functions should have IMPEXAMPLE_DEPRECATED_FUNCTION_DECL(version) added to the end of the declaration and IMPEXAMPLE_DEPRECATED_FUNCTION_DEF(version, message) added in their body
           void my_deprecated_function(args);
         void my_deprecated_function(args) {
            IMPEXAMPLE_DEPRECATED_FUNCTION_DEF(2.1, "Use my_new_function(args) instead");
            do stuff....
  • classes should have IMPEXAMPLE_DEPRECATED_OBJECT_DECL(version) or IMPEXAMPLE_DEPRECATED_VALUE_DECL(version) added before their constructor declarations and IMPEXAMPLE_DEPRECATED_OBJECT_DEF(version, message) or IMPEXAMPLE_DEPRECATED_VALUE_DEF(version, message) added in their constructor bodies.
       class IMPEXAMPLEEXPORT MyDeprecatedClass :: public IMP::Object {
            MyDeprecatedClass(args) {
               IMPEXAMPLE_DEPRECATED_OBJECT_DEF(2.1, "Use MyNewClass instead");
            MyDeprecatedClass(other_args) {
               IMPEXAMPLE_DEPRECATED_OBJECT_DEF(2.1, "Use MyNewClass instead");
  • Headers should have IMPEXAMPLE_DEPRECATED_HEADER(version, message) in them.
        IMPEXAMPLE_DEPREACTED_HEADER(2.1, "Use my_new_header.h")
        #endif // IMP_MY_DEPRECATED_HEADER_H
  • Other deprecated code paths (e.g., reading an obsolete file format) can call the IMP::handle_use_deprecated() function to print a warning message.
  • All things should also use the \deprecated_at doxygen macro in their docs:
        /** \deprecated_at{2.1} Replaced by my_new_function(). 

These will provide documentation, and runtime and compile time warning messages to users.


For Python code, we provide similar functions and decorators to mark modules, classes, methods, functions, or other code paths as deprecated:

IMP.deprecated_module("2.1", __name__, "Use my_new_module instead")

@IMP.deprecated_object("2.1", "Use MyNewClass instead")
class MyClass(object):
    @IMP.deprecated_method("2.1", "Use my_new_method(args) instead")
    def my_deprecated_method(self):
        do stuff...

@IMP.deprecated_function("2.1", "Use my_new_function(args) instead")
def my_deprecated_function(args):
    do stuff...

For Python there is no need to use the \deprecated_at macro - the warning message from the decorator is automatically added to the documentation.

As in C++, the IMP.handle_use_deprecated() function can be used to print a warning message in other deprecated code paths (such as reading an obsolete file format).

Tests and examples

Any code that demonstrates the use of IMP should not rely on deprecated functionality. This includes tests, examples, and benchmarks.

All examples run as part of the IMP test suite get passed the --deprecation_exceptions command line flag. Thus, any example that calls IMP.setup_from_argv() or uses IMP.OptionParser will fail if it tries to call deprecated code. It is highly recommended that all examples do this.

All unit tests that call IMP.test.main() will also trigger exceptions if they try to call deprecated code. If for some reason you need to test a deprecated code pathway, use the IMP.allow_deprecated() context manager as follows:

with IMP.allow_deprecated():