D and a bazillion of small objects

Yao G. nospamyao at gmail.com
Wed Jun 2 17:37:44 PDT 2010

Thanks bearophile.

With respect to passing structs as reference, I also have this problem. In  
the widget, I have a opIndex method, that returns a ListViewItem given an  
index (like an array). When opIndex return the instance I'm looking for,  
and then I modify some property (a image index, for example) the change is  
only visible in the returned copy, but the internal instance, the one  
stored in the collection (array in this case) is not modified.

Now, about the speed. Currently, I'm not so concerned about speed. First I  
want to make this work correctly, and then profile to improve execution  
speed, etc. What worries me is the hypothetical case of a heap thrashed or  
severely fragmented because the several small allocations. Something that  
I don't mentioned in the previous message, is that in each item instance  
there's a string with the text to display. So not only I need to allocate  
for each item instance, but also allocate the text string for each one  :D

I think the idea of a memory pool or freelist is good. Can you point me  
where can I see your libs?

Thanks again.

Yao G.

On Wed, 02 Jun 2010 19:18:37 -0500, bearophile <bearophileHUGS at lycos.com>  

> Yao G.:
>> Hello everybody.
>> What's the best practice or more efficient way to deal, in D, with lots  
>> of
>> small objects? My problem is this: I have a small control, ListView.  
>> This
>> control can have hundreds (and theoretically thousands) of items
>> (ListViewItem instances, to be precise). And, in turn each one of this
>> ListViewItems can own sub-items (ListViewSubItem instances), effectively
>> creating an humongous quantity of small objects.
>> Should I just go and create all of those items as classes? I have the
>> feeling that this not very efficient (a lot of small heap allocations).
>> There's also the possibility of make them structs. But then I would have
>> the issue of passing value objects in methods and losing whatever  
>> change I
>> made (because I would be modifying a copy of the original). To solve  
>> this
>> I could make an internal, Impl structure, and then use reference  
>> counting
>> to manage the copies and to make effective all the item modification
>> across all copies. But then I would be where I started: doing tons of  
>> heap
>> allocations.
>> So, how should I deal with this issue?
> First of all run your program and profile it. If it's fast enough for  
> your purposes, or if the slow parts are elsewhere then you can avoid to  
> optimize the allocation of all those objects.
> Otherwise, or if you are writing library code it has to be fast  
> regardless. If you can change those objects into structs, then it's  
> "easy", you can pass them in functions by ref, keeping their changes,  
> and you can allocate them in large chunks, using some kind of arena,  
> pool or stack with a freelist, etc. In my dlibs1 I have something like  
> this to allocate chunks of structs in a pool.
> If you must use objects, then you can create the same pools, using  
> placement new. Unfortunately placement new is now deprecated in D2 :-)  
> (If you are using D1 it's OK). Andrei has recently shown a TightArray to  
> replace placement new in D2, but I think it's not good enough yet to  
> solve your problem (but I probably Andrei will improve it).
> Bye,
> bearophile

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