[Pharo-project] Basic tricks for improving a serializer?

Henrik Sperre Johansen henrik.s.johansen at veloxit.no
Wed May 18 15:40:29 CEST 2011

On 18.05.2011 14:53, Sven Van Caekenberghe wrote:
> Mariano,
> On 18 May 2011, at 14:29, Mariano Martinez Peck wrote:
>> Sven, I improved quite a lot using your buffered write stream.
>> What I don't understans is why MultiByteFileStream  doesn't perform as good as them.
>> If I see StandardFileStream has an internal buffer called 'buffer1'.
>> So why is that much difference between using MultiByteFileStream directly and
>> a WriteStream (ByteArray new writeSteam ) or  ZnBufferedWriteStream ?
Because actually writing to file is expensive.
MBFS does it on every nextPut/nextPutAll: send, ZnBuffered only when 
asked to/buffer fills.

> I just looked briefly at the hierarchy, it seems that buffer1 is an output buffer of size 1 !
> Have a look at
> StandardFileStream>>#nextPut: char
> 	"Write the given character to this file."
> 	rwmode ifFalse: [^ self error: 'Cannot write a read-only file'].
> 	collection ifNotNil: [
> 		position<  readLimit ifTrue: [ self flushReadBuffer ] ].
> 	buffer1 at: 1 put: char.
> 	self primWrite: fileID from: buffer1 startingAt: 1 count: 1.
> 	^ char
> There is simply no buffering going on.
> buffer1 is a mystery to me ;-)
> Sven
The primitive requires an object of variableByte type.
If you didn't have a buffer1, you'd need to create a new 1-element 
ByteArray/String on every call to nextPut: ;)

As for the primitive call always flushing to file, that is a decision 
which have arguments both in favor and against it.
I wasn't there when it was written, so have no idea why they weighed one 
over the other.
If I were to guess, I'd say PLS ("But I wrote it to file! Why isnt it 
there yet when I open it??") and deterministic behaviour won over 

Changing it now would probably mean quite a few changes to f.ex. source 
management if you want the same level of recoverability you are ensured now.

That does not mean a buffering of write stream should not be available, 
of course.
There are so many ways to do that though it quickly turns into painting 
a bikeshed.


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