[REBOL] Re: Translate this code into real Rebol?
From: jeff:rebol at: 24-Jan-2002 9:14
> I did some test a while back that indicated that
> set [word1 word2 word3 ... wordN] reduce [
> expression1 expression2 expression3 ...
> takes a surprising performance hit compared with
> word1: expression1
> word2: expression2
> ... wordN: expressionN
. . .
> Is it reasonable to believe that the majority of the extra
> time required by the block SET is due to REDUCE --
> specifically the time required to allocate, and store
> values in, a new block?
Well, REDUCE will add some overhead because it adds another
thing to evaluate and, as you indicate, does create a
temporary block to return as a result, but there's some other
overhead as well. Consider what happens when REBOL encounters
A) SET [foo bar] [1 2]
B) foo: 1 bar: 2
A) we see SET, we evaluate the word SET and determine it's a
NATIVE. We figure out how many args it takes, then collect the
arguments (evaluating those in the process) and then we call
B) we see FOO:, it's a set-word, to evaluate the set-word we
simply evaluate the next argument and we're done.
Back in case A) We see that it's a block of something to SET
so we're trucking down the block. We need to make sure that
each thing is a word before we try and set it. Bad things
happen when you try to set, for example, a number to some
value. This used to crash REBOL: set [1 2 3] [4 5 6] So this
additional but necessary error checking adds some overhead.
Again, in case B) after encountering BAR: we just evaluate the
next argument and we're done. We've only evaluated two
arguments in this case. The process of evaluating a SET-WORDS
sets it, so it will always be more efficient than using a
NATIVE, and the native has to worry about being passed bogus
stuff. The difference in speed is a matter of a difference in
the complexity of the expressions and a difference in the
amount of evaluation that occurs.
The question of efficiency and readability reminds me:
INSERT TAIL will always be quicker than APPEND, but most
people justifiably use APPEND.
I tend to use REBOL idioms to get me down the road. If and
when I ever determine that I need a speed up then I can go
back and optimize.
If I always picked my code based on efficiency I wouldn't use
mezzanines functions, just natives.
> Any thoughts on how to get the benefits of inner functions
> (nice "packaging" and communication of ideas, maximum
> locality, minimizing global namespace impact, shared
> context) without the overhead of redefinition on every use?
REBOL modules. (-;
Or contexts in the meantime.