What's the correct right hand side expression for initializing a storage array of address?

I'm trying to initialize a storage address[] from inside a function. Everything I've tried gives warnings, and I'm looking for the correct way to silence them.

// address[] storage b;
Warning: Uninitialized storage pointer.

This warning is warranted. After testing I've found b is pointing to "garbage data" which happens to be the same as another address[] storage a array I define earlier. (Related post) On top of that, modifying b (b.length = 0) is modifying the a array.

Every right hand expression I've tried hasn't worked, since they're meant for memory arrays. (eg. = address[]())

2 Answers 2


Although it doesn't directly address what you're asking, I think https://programtheblockchain.com/posts/2018/03/09/understanding-ethereum-smart-contract-storage/ will help.

When you just declare address[] storage b; (same as without storage, since that's the default), b points to slot 0 in storage, which will be whatever state variable you declared first.

Without knowing exactly what you're trying to do, it's hard to suggest a fix, but you probably want to use a mapping or array in the contract scope (e.g. mapping (uint256 => address[]) or the like).

  • 1
    Thanks for your answer. A workaround I've found is to move the declaration to the top, as a state variable. It's strange though, and I feel there must be a way to initialize it in a function.
    – Daniel Que
    Mar 13, 2018 at 23:46
  • 1
    If you declared it in a function, how would you use it later?
    – user19510
    Mar 14, 2018 at 0:00
  • 1
    It's to test a library function which consumes a storage array.
    – Daniel Que
    Mar 14, 2018 at 6:38
  • 1
    Ah, hopefully you can appreciate why that's a use case that's not worth optimizing for. Anyway, just use a mapping. E.g. index = 0; mapping (uint256 => address[]);. "Allocate" new dynamic arrays via address[] storage b = mapping[index++];.
    – user19510
    Mar 14, 2018 at 6:42
  • 2
    I've used something similar to "allocate" nodes for a linked list. You can also push onto a dynamically-sized array.
    – user19510
    Mar 14, 2018 at 6:50

The workaround I've found is to move the declaration to the top, as a state variable.

contract Test {
  address[] a;
  address[] b;

  function testFeature() {
    // test

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