Mateusz Loskot :: hacking on, working out, living up

shared_ptr almost like intrusive_ptr

02 Nov 2011 | mloskot

The current C++11 Standard consists of a very important remark in section It is about creation of shared_ptr object. The remarks state:

Implementations are encouraged, but not required, to perform no more than one memory allocation. (Note: this provides efficiency equivalent to an intrusive smart pointer. end note)

At work [1], I use Visual C++ 2010+ implementation of C++. I couldn’t resist myself to check if the standard managed to encourage Stephan T. Lavavej (STL) and his team at Microsoft to go for this optimisation.

I compiled and run a quick test:

#include <memory>
int main()
    std::shared_ptr<int> p0(new int(3)); // #1

    std::shared_ptr<int> p1 = std::make_shared<int>(3); // #2

Quick check using breakpoints confirmed that Visual C++ 2010 indeed optimises construction of the shared_ptr. The difference between #1 and #2 is an important one: the second version causes 50% less memory allocations than the first one. Namely, one allocation. std::make_shared packs bookkeeping data and the user-defined data into a single block of memory.

Know your tools or suffer fragmented.

GCC At Home

I couldn’t leave a blog post alone without some kind of unrelated off-topic and pointless digression. So, here is one: Stephan T. Lavavej on his homepage provides custom-built distribution of MinGW toolset with What MinGW Is section starting as follows:

I recommend that anyone who is learning Standard C++ and who uses Windows for a primary development environment should use two compilers: the most modern version of Microsoft Visual C++ (currently 2010 SP1) and the most modern version of GCC, the GNU Compiler Collection.

Stephan works at Microsoft. I admire this kind of professionalism free from strategically competitive marketing b******t. GCC should definitely be included in the list of New Seven Wonders of the World. Recently, a new wonder has emerged: LLVM/Clang. I’m a user of all the three compilers (and related toolsets). It is easy for me to dream about Visual C++Visual Studio IDE based on LLVM/Clang as C++ compiler and shipped with C/C++ standard libraries provided by GCC. That would be a real C++ Renaissance

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