What's the point of static arrays ?

wjoe invalid at example.com
Fri Jul 10 15:03:04 UTC 2020

On Friday, 10 July 2020 at 11:13:51 UTC, Stanislav Blinov wrote:
> On Friday, 10 July 2020 at 10:13:23 UTC, wjoe wrote:
>> So many awesome answers, thank you very much everyone!
>> Less overhead,
>> Using/needing it to interface with something else, and
>> Efficiency are very good points.
>> However stack memory needs to be allocated at program start. I 
>> don't see a huge benefit in allocation speed vs. heap 
>> pre-allocation, or is there?
> Stack is allocated by the OS for the process when it's started. 
> Reserving space for stack variables, including arrays, is 
> effectively free, since the compiler assigns offsets statically 
> at compile time.
>> I mean 1 allocation vs 2 isn't going to noticeably improve 
>> overall performance.
> A GC allocation is way more complex than a mere 
> bump-the-pointer. If your program is trivial enough you may 
> actually find that one extra GC allocation is significant in 
> its runtime. Of course, if you only ever allocate once and your 
> program runs for ages, you won't really notice that allocation.

I think that memory for the program must be allocated when the 
process is created, this includes the stack, etc. but it is an 
allocation in computer RAM nonetheless.

A pre-allocated amount of memory for a dynamic array once is one 
additional allocation throughout the entire run time of the 
Now I can't make any guess about how this allocation takes place 
- it might be allocated via malloc, a pool, new, etc. - but it is 
one additional allocation.
What I'm saying is even if this allocation is slow let's say 5ms, 
but it only happens once, that wouldn't matter to overall 
performance at all.

But performance isn't the focus of this question.

> No. A slice is just a pointer/length pair - a contiguous view 
> into *some* memory, regardless of where that memory came from:

Metadata is data that describes other data - a pointer/length 
pair, which describs a continuous view into memory, is matching 
that criteria, doesn't it ?
An array is, by definition, a length of the same kind of element 
mapped into continuous memory, no ?

A dynamic array is a pointer/length pair, a slice is a 
pointer/length pair, too.
Can a function, which is passed both, a dynamic array and a 
slice, tell the two apart, as in distinguish between the two ?
Also, can this function distinguish a slice of a dynamic array 
from a slice of a static array ?

> void takeASlice(scope void[] data) // can take any slice since 
> any slice converts to void[]
> {
>     import std.stdio;
>     writefln("%x %d", data.ptr, data.length);
> }
> int[10] a;
> takeASlice(a); // a[]
> takeASlice(a[1 .. $-1]); // a[1 .. 9]
> struct S
> {
>     float x, y, z;
>     float dx, dy, dz;
> }
> S s;
> takeASlice((&s)[0 .. 1]); // Slicing a pointer, not @safe but 
> can be done.
> takeASlice(new int[10]); // Array, GC allocation
> takeASlice([1, 2, 3, 4]); // Array literal, may or may not be 
> GC-allocated
> `takeASlice` has no knowledge of where the memory came from.
> Dynamic arrays only ever come into the picture if you try to 
> manipulate the slice itself: resize it, append to it, etc.
>> that it's not possible to slice a static array because the 
>> slice would technically be akin to a dynamic array and hence 
>> be incompatible.
> Incompatible to what?

void foo(int[4] a){}

int[4] x;
auto slice = x[];
foo(slice); // that's incompatible, isn't it?

Thank you for your explanations :)

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