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From: William Kempf (sirwillard_at_[hidden])
Date: 2000-11-16 17:35:29

I want to move onto discussing the Thread Concept very shortly, and
so I've implemented a preliminary version in the recently checked in
Win32 threads implementation file. The main thrust of this
particular implementation is that instead of creating a thread on a C
callback (a C function pointer) we'll instead create the thread on a
C++ callback (a functor that can be created through various means
including use of the Lambda Library). The current implementation
uses a very generic/simple approach for storing the functor as a
callback class instance which can be passed as a pointer to the
actual underlying C callback internally. This implementation works,
but it's not worth much more than a quick hack for the specific needs
of a general concept that we all agree should be added to boost (at
least I gather that from recent postings).

So... before we discuss the thread specific stuff I'd like to first
address callbacks. I've read all the articles on the subject that I
can get my hands on and it seems they all take different approaches
(the Kubrick article covers several of them), each with varying pros
and cons. I'd like to describe what requirements I think our version
of callbacks need to take just to make sure everyone agrees with my
opinions before we attempt to create an actual implementation.

1. Need to allow traditional functor types as the callback so that
function pointers, standard functors, hand coded functors and Lambda
Library style functors can all be used with relative ease.
2. The callback type(s) should be templatized on the return type and
argument types, but not on the functor type to simplify useage.
3. Copying a callback should be quick, on par with copying a
function pointer. This is not gauranteed with functors but becomes
somewhat important with callbacks that may be stored, copied and
passed around frequently in some cases.
4. A callback should itself be a functor.
5. Compiler type coercion should be possible to apply to the functor
that the callback wraps for all parameters and the return value.
6. Executing a callback should be nearly as efficient as executing
the contained functor.

Do you agree or disagree with any of the above? What other
requirements should there be? Any other ideas or comments? Is there
someone interested in submitting an implementation for Boost? (I'm
chewing on several Boost related things right now, so if there's
someone else interested in tackling this I'd prefer it. If there
isn't then I'll have to tackle it, because this is going to be a
fundamental requirement for threads.)

Bill Kempf

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