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Subject: [Boost-build] [win32] Inefficiencies in builtin_check_if_file
From: François Jacques (francois.jacques_at_[hidden])
Date: 2012-04-24 14:01:58


The windows implementation of file_query requires excessive time, and
is mostly I/O bound. I've been able to reduce the amount of time by
replacing the stat call in filent.c::file_query by
GetFileAttributesExA. The later is significantly faster than stat
since it doesn't attempt to expand the path it is being given. On a
large project, this made a big difference.

But that's not all, and the next issue is more interesting to fix.
Follow the white rabbit :

First, stat/GetFileAttributesExA is called to update bjam's
file_info_t record that gets created whenever file_info is called with
a path that's not already in the filesys.c file_info_t hashtable :

file_info_t * ff = file_info( filename );
if ( ! ff->time )
{ /* call stat or GetFileAttriubutes */ }

Then, in file_info function, bjam makes sure that the key is sane by
calling path_as_key :

file_info_t * file_info( OBJECT * filename ) {
  /* snip */
  filename = path_as_key( filename );
  /* snip */

On Win32, path_as_key calls FindFirstFileA through ShortPathToLongPath
and its use is questionable.

Again, but that's not the point here, GetFileAttributes could have
been used instead as is likely to give a slightly better performance.
Anyhow. What bugs me here is the WIN32_FIND_DATA structure in there
that will end up containing all the information to populate the
file_info structure... and is thrown away! Instead, the file_info gets
updated through stat and GetFileAttributes in upper levels. Why? Why
hitting the file system twice for each file?

Taking a step back, is ShortPathToLongPath required at all? All other
platforms are not using that mechanism. Is it to ensure that short
paths ("progra~1") gets expanded to "Program Files" ? The name of the
function hints in that direction. I can see how it could be used to
avoid having two cache entries for a given path that's expressed with
short path notation to save memory, but the performance hit from I/O
is terrible on large projects.

Perhaps path_as_key and ShortPathToLongPath should receive an output
file_info argument that would be populated with the information
retrieved by the FindFirstFile call? In such scenario, the stat call
in file_query would become redundant on Windows but since the
file_info structure is already populated, the stat call would not be

Please have a look at the codebase and correct me if I'm wrong. The
profiler says I'm right though :)


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