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From: Peter Koch Larsen (peter.koch.larsen_at_[hidden])
Date: 2019-12-04 23:30:35

On Thu, Dec 5, 2019 at 12:07 AM Andrey Semashev via Boost
<boost_at_[hidden]> wrote:
> On 2019-12-04 23:50, Peter Koch Larsen wrote:
> > On Wed, Dec 4, 2019 at 7:10 PM Andrey Semashev via Boost
> > <boost_at_[hidden]> wrote:
> >>
> >> On 2019-12-04 19:05, Peter Dimov via Boost wrote:
> >>>
> >>> The idea here is that you win one byte by reusing the last byte of the
> >>> storage as the size, overlapping it with the null terminator in the
> >>> size() == N case (because capacity - size becomes 0).
> >>
> >> I'm not sure this would actually be beneficial in terms if performance.
> >> Ignoring the fact that size() becomes more expensive, and this is a
> >> relatively often used function, you also have to access the tail of the
> >> storage, which is likely on a different cache line than the beginning of
> >> the string. It is more likely that the user will want to process the
> >> string in the forward direction, possibly not until the end (think
> >> comparison operators, copy/assignment, for instance). If the string is
> >> not close to full capacity, you would only fetch the tail cache line to**
> >> get the string size.
> >>
> >> It is for this reason placing any auxiliary members like size is
> >> preferable before the storage array. Of course, if you prefer memory
> >> size over speed, placing size in the last byte is preferable.
> >
> > There is another reason to place the size (or rather the free size) at
> > the end of the data: C-compatibility. I have a similar class named
> > fc_string where I for a fixed_string of N chars use one extra char for
> > the free space. This character steps in and becomes the
> > null-terminator in case the string is full, so I use no extra space in
> > any case. If (for char-based arrays) more than 255 bytes are used, I
> > store 255 in the end and the free size in the characters below the
> > last one.
> C compatibility beyond zero termination of strings is non-existant. You
> have that special convention, and that is fine, but that convention is
> not standard and only you know and follow it. No C function would be
> able to use that extra information without explicit support. You special
> use case does not make an argument for designing a general utility like
> fixed_string.
It is not a convention. It is a question of enforcing a memory size
and a layout.
For embedded systems, this can be important. We have types that are
required to be standard layout and have a alignment of 1 - something
that we enforce programmatically.
I believe that fixed_string is sufficiently specialised to also take
embedded development into consideration.
> > I doubt that cacheing does matter (much) for performance.
> It all depends on the use case, of course, but memory bandwidth is the
> main bottleneck in the modern systems.
> From the space standpoint, there is little difference between N and N+1
> or even N+4 or N+8 bytes for a fixed_string<N> object. Given this, it is
> preferable to choose a data layout that is more efficient in terms of
> memory accesses and computation complexity on typical use.
It is not just N + 4 or N + 8. Considering alignment restrictions it
could be N + 7 or N + 15. This is significant and also a waste of

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