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Subject: Re: [boost] Stack-based vector container
From: Domagoj Saric (dsaritz_at_[hidden])
Date: 2011-01-22 09:18:42

"Thorsten Ottosen" <nesotto_at_[hidden]> wrote in message
> Den 16-01-2011 16:13, Domagoj Saric skrev:
>> Could you possibly add a policy that would 'produce' a strictly static
>> buffer, i.e. that does not use/expand into the heap (to avoid the
>> overhead described in the response to David Bergman)...
> Maybe. I guess it takes some measurement to see if it is actually needed.

Why should we need to measure?
 - It is a priori known that overhead exists: containing and maintaining two
extra pointers/size_ts, extra indirection for buffer access through a
pointer on the stack (as opposed to 'direct' access to a buffer on the
stack), 'possible' EH...
 - The primary, if not the sole purpose of this library is performance... ignoring performance issues known in advance would be self/goal
contradicting and a case of premature pessimization (as pretty much most of,
so frequently encountered, 'invocations' of the 'root of all evil' rule

And measure what and how exactly?
 - A low level tool like this can be used in a wide range of
ways...somewhere the difference will matter little, somewhere it will matter
a lot...A 'good' library/tool ideally does not 'cut corners' based on
assumptions that something 'will be good enough for everyone' (if it does
not need to)...

> For one, the container will allow you to do
> boost:.auto_buffer<T,N> buffer( n, boost::dont_initialize );
> to make it avoid initialization.

Nice. It would be useful if it could do something similar for non-POD types,
i.e. it would take a functor in the constructor which it would then 'walk'
through the N entries and let it in-place construct them (to avoid the usual
default construction then assignment procedure)...

> Futhermore, you may use
> buffer.unchecked_push_back( x );
> to avoid code that checks for a full buffer and subsequent expansion.

AFAICT there is no ('unchecked') resize equivalent...

Speaking of which, there seem to be two approaches/syntaxes for using the
unchecked/uninitialized versions (of code/functionality), with policies/tags
and unchecked_*/uninitialized_* versions of functions...Perhaps it would be
a 'happier' solution to go with only one option (policies/tags) or to
replace both with a proxy 'unchecked' class...So that when you want
'unchecked' access you call the proxy getter and in effect get different
semantics through an identical interface...This would also 'play better'
with Boost.Range and <algorithms>...

> If that is not good enough, then why not just use boost::array<T,N>?
> (that is, if you really never will need the heap for any n)

boost::array is not resizable...
The gap between std::array and std::vector is larger then it may seem...and
it might be worthwhile to use this opportunity to fill it
completely...Besides a resizable stack-only/fixed-max-size buffer and a
stack-to-heap expandable buffer (auto buffer) there is also a need for a
fixed sized (non-resizable) buffer whose size is dynamically determined
which also comes in two flavours, a stack-only portable alloca wrapper and a
heap version...both can be modeled with a const iterator_range (the only
essential difference being that the heap version has a non-trivial
destructor that calls delete[]...)...

"What Huxley teaches is that in the age of advanced technology, spiritual
devastation is more likely to come from an enemy with a smiling face than
from one whose countenance exudes suspicion and hate."
Neil Postman 

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