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Subject: [boost] [Review] Coroutine : Christopher's Review
From: Christopher Kormanyos (e_float_at_[hidden])
Date: 2012-09-06 14:38:24

(I lost the initial review announcement.)

Yes, I vote that Coroutine should be accepted into Boost!

General impression of the library:

Coroutine offers enormous potential for programming regimes
such as communications software and embedded systems design.
For example, a lightweight event/alarm-based cooperative
multitasking scheduler for embedded systems can be readily
implemented usingCoroutine combined with a timer resource.
Oliver has selected a sensible granularity for Coroutine.
It includes Boost.Context, Coroutine and the proposed Boost.Fiber.
This granularity allows for fine-tuning the implementations of
cooperative scheduling mechanisms while avoiding the prohibitively
heavy weight of preemptive scheduling that is found in POSIX and
often in implementations of the C++11 thread support library.

The documentation is terse, yet complete and informative.
The examples are good.

The design of Coroutine is clearly thought through.
In particular, the separation of Coroutine from Context
allows for porting to other systems with minimal effort
and maximum reliability and code re-use.

How long did I work with Coroutine?

I worked for about 1 week with Coroutine. In particular,
I worked very intensively with Coroutine for 2 days straight.

I used Coroutine with VS2010, VS2012-RC and several
GNU compilers.

I spent a lot of time deeply embedding Coroutine in a hard
real-time system. This experience has led to the comments
and suggestions shown below.

Am I familiar with the regime of Coroutine?

Yes. I am absolutely familiar with the regime of Coroutine.
I have authored many cooperative multitasking schedulers
for a variety of CPU architectures and shipped them in tens
of millions of devices.

Suggestions for Coroutine:

I have several suggestions for Coroutine, none of which
stand in the way of immediate acceptance into Boost.

1) The code may potentially benefit from some clean-up.
In particular, there is a mixture of tabs and spaces in the code,
possibly resulting from programming over two or more time
epochs with different styles. A simple reformat will clean this up.

Coroutine is desperately needed in the embedded systems
community. Along these lines, I suggests some extensions.

2) There should be, let's say, a *lightweight* version
(or configuration) of Coroutine for embedded systems

3) The lightweight version can not use the non-placement
version of new(). The internal details of a coroutine are stored
in the class as a pointer created with non-placement new().
The lightweight version could add a parameter for user-supplied
memory and create the coroutine implementation details
with placement-new().

4) Furthermore, the lightweight version should not
not use any exceptions whatsoever. I spent two solid
hours removing all traces of exceptions while embedding
Coroutine. The result was a lightweight mechanism
that only costed a few kilobytes of program code.

5) We need to work together to create more contexts
for different CPU architectures. The ARM(R) context that is
present in Boost.Context uses several ASM operations that
my ARM(R) Cortex(R)-M3 does not support. For this
reason, I could not complete my benchmark.
We can work on this in the future.

Thank you for your efforts and good luck!

Best regards, Chris.

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