Last night I decided to just use straight C, but for other reasons.
(This is a Cocoa app that uses ObjC, so I wanted a language that integrates smoothly, which is why I'm only considering C and C++.)
Objects are overkill
I was drawn to C++ because of its speed. But C++ objects come with overhead for things like constructors and destructors, and polymorphic function lookup. C functions and structs don't have this problem.
I don't need very complex inheritance or polymorphism: an Element is
either an Atom or a Collection. This could be a simple bool value at
the start of my two struct types. From what I've read, that's much
And if later I decide to "subclass" Collection for representing
Definitions (lists beginning with
def[.*]), I could use a bitwise
mask instead of bool, which lets me specify that an element is both a
Collection and a Definition.
STL containers are overkill
The three main containers I was using were
std::string for token
std::list as a linked-list for child-elements, and
std::vector to pass a collection of tokens to my parser. But these
are (almost) all slower than using the C counterparts.
For strings that tokens will point to, I decided to use the
bstring library, which gives me O(1) performance for
some operations like getting the string's length. This is an important
operation I'll be doing often, so
char* won't suffice, and I'm not
about to write my own string library.
For temporarily storing tokens for the parser to consume, I went with a plain old C-array. They're just as fast, especially since I don't need bounds-checking here. And its memory is just as easy to manage. The only downside is a new out-param for the size of the array, but that's mostly just aesthetics: I could wrap it in a new type that hides this, but it's hardly worth the trouble or overhead.
For the child-element of a collection, I didn't mind using
std::list, but since I'm already outside of C++ at this point, I'll
just write my own doubly-linked list structure and accompanying
My name is Steven Degutis, and I've been writing software professionally for almost a decade. During that time, I've written many apps and websites, quite a few techical articles, and kept up-to-date with the rapidly evolving software industry.
If you have software needs for web, mobile, or desktop, and are looking for a seasoned software professional, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a phone call.
- Self-employed – present
- Clean Coders – 5 years
- 8th Light – 2 years
- Big Nerd Ranch – 1 year
- Self-employed - 1 year
- Web: full-stack
- iOS (UIKit)
- macOS (Cocoa)
- REST APIs
- AWS / EC2 / ELB
- HTML5 / CSS
Over the past decade, I've written a total of 169 technical articles on various programming languages, frameworks, best practices, and my own projects, as I kept up-to-date and active in the software industry.
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- 2017 — "Clean code" isn't actually clean
- 2017 — Passion in your field is overrated
- 2017 — What I learned in 5 days of writing an experimental website
- 2014 — Age of the Polyglot
- 2013 — How to Program
- 2013 — Ignore the Naysayers
- 2013 — Writing Clearly
- 2012 — Reinvent the wheel
- 2010 — Good usability
- 2009 — Twitter is the wrong tool
- 2009 — We're all pretty bad at driving
- 2008 — Why I Code
|March||Notes on Haskell Extensions|
|February||Second thoughts on front-end tools|
|February||First thoughts on front-end tools|
|February||Some thoughts on GUIs|
|February||First thoughts on OCaml|
|February||First thoughts on Haskell|
Here are some of the projects I'm most proud of. They were created using a variety of technologies, running on several different platforms and OSes. They're all finished products, and many of them are open source.
I made Docks in 2009 for users who wanted to swap out icons in their Dock with a single click. Its unique functionality and design aesthetic attracted the attention of Apple, Engadget, MacWorld, and led to an acquisition of my start-up by Big Nerd Ranch.
This toy was made in a weekend to entertain my 1 year old daughter. It lets you create bubbles with your fingers, which then simulate physics by bumping into each other and falling.
When I couldn't find an app in the App Store that let me make very simple lists extremely quickly, I made one myself. I use it almost every day to organize and track my activities.
I created this app to increase my productivity by letting me move windows around in macOS using keyboard shortcuts. It grew into a community-driven highly extensible app, using Lua for its plugin system.
Implementing this elite social network gave me experience integrating both Apple Pay and credit card payments (via Stripe.com) seamlessly into web apps, for a frictionless and pain-free payment experience.
This isn't just any chatroom. In this web app, you can see what everyone is typing while they type it. I made this in order to scratch my itch for making real-time apps and games, and learned how to use WebSockets in the process.
This was written in 2009, before the time of Slack, when IRC was the main way for programmers to get short-term assistance from each other. Its purpose was to be a beautiful app with an emphasis on simplicity and usability over technical power.
This is an app I actually use every single day. It lets you move windows with global keyboard shortcuts. Since it uses Vim-like key bindings, it should feel pretty natural to any programmer. There's no configuration needed; it Just Works™.
As an evolution of Phoenix, Hydra was my first attempt at embedding a full Lua virtual machine into an Objective-C app, to make a lightweight and efficient window manager that focused on speed, low memory usage, low CPU usage, and overall being gentle on laptop batteries.
These may be tiny, but they're interesting technical feats.
|Lua4Swift||Swift framework for embedding Lua with a native Swift API.|
|choose||Command line fuzzy-matching tool for macOS that uses a GUI|
|music||Command line music daemon for macOS that only speaks JSON|
|hecto||Command line text editor with an embedded Lua plugin system|
|ZephSharp||Window manager for Windows using Clojure for scripting|
|management||Minimalist EC2 configuration & deployment tool in Ruby.|
|go.assert||Assertion helper package for writing tests in Go.|
|go.shattr||Go library for printing shell-attributed strings to stdout.|
|OCDSpec2||Objective-C based testing framework with Xcode integration.|