Difference between revisions of "Avoiding implicit try finally section"

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m (minor rephrasing for clarity)
(review)
Line 2: Line 2:
  
 
== Overview ==
 
== Overview ==
When optimizing code it helps to know that the compiler will wrap certain code constructs in an implicit try ... finally block. This is needed whenever you use variables such as ansistrings, variants or dynamic arrays which require initialization and finalization (i.e. where the standard procedures Initialize() and Finalize() are needed for correct allocation/deallocation of the memory used).
+
When optimizing code it helps to know that the compiler will wrap certain code constructs in an implicit <code>try finally</code>-block.
 +
This is needed whenever you use variables such as [[Ansistring|<code>ansiString</code>s]], [[Variant|<code>variant</code>s]] or [[Dynamic array|dynamic arrays]] which require [[Initialization|initialization]] and [[Finalization|finalization]] (i.e. where the standard procedures <code>initialize</code> and <code>finalize</code> are needed for correct allocation and release of acquired memory).
  
E.g. a procedure like
+
For example, a procedure like
 
<syntaxhighlight>
 
<syntaxhighlight>
procedure P;
+
procedure doSomething;
var  
+
var
  S: AnsiString;
+
msg: ansiString;
 
begin
 
begin
  ... do something with S ...
+
// do something with msg
 
end;
 
end;
 
</syntaxhighlight>
 
</syntaxhighlight>
 
 
is actually expanded by the compiler to look like this:
 
is actually expanded by the compiler to look like this:
 
 
<syntaxhighlight>
 
<syntaxhighlight>
procedure P;
+
procedure doSomething;
var  
+
var
  S: AnsiString;
+
msg: ansiString;
 
begin
 
begin
Initialize(S);
+
initialize(msg);
try
+
try
  ... do something with S ...
+
// do something with msg
finally Finalize(S) end;
+
finally
 +
finalize(msg);
 +
end;
 
end;
 
end;
 
</syntaxhighlight>
 
</syntaxhighlight>
  
The compiler thereby ensures that the reference count of S will be properly decremented when procedure P exits with exception(s). However, often this can significantly affect the speed of given code adversely.  
+
The compiler thereby ensures that the reference count of <code>msg</code> will be properly decremented when <code>procedure doSomething</code> exits with exception[s]?.
 +
However, often this may have significant adverse effects on the generated code's speed.
  
Here's a link to archived discussion on the fpc-devel list regarding this issue, with the subject "TList slowness in classes" : http://www.mail-archive.com/fpc-devel@lists.freepascal.org/msg01367.html
+
This is issue was a subject on the <code>fpc-devel</code> list in the [http://www.mail-archive.com/fpc-devel@lists.freepascal.org/msg01367.html <code>TList</code> slowness classes] thread.
  
Note that temporary ansistring variables can be created implicitly. The only way to be completely sure what's going on is to read the assembler output.
+
Note, that temporary <code>ansiString</code> variables can be created ''implicitly''.
 +
The only way to be completely certain about what actually is being done is to read the assembler output.
  
==Possible solutions==
+
== possible solutions ==
* use {$implicitexceptions off} Make sure however that you use this only on release versions of your program. Debugging can become a problem with that switch especially locating memory leaks and corruption.
+
* use [[sImplicitExeptions|<code>{$implicitexceptions off}</code>]]: Ensure this applies to release versions only. Debugging can become cumbersome with that switch especially locating memory leaks and corruption.
 +
* split off rarely used code that causes an implicit <code>try…finally</code> into separate procedures. (You can use procedures in procedures)
 +
* use [[Const#const parameter|const parameters]] rather than value parameters. This avoids the need to change <code>refcount</code> but temporary variables could still be an issue.
 +
* use [[Global variables|global variables]]: You have to be careful with reentrancy issues here though and temporary variables could still be an issue.
 +
* use non-reference-counted types like [[Shortstring|<code>shortstring</code>s]].
  
* split off rarely used code that causes an implicit try finally into separate procedures. (You can use procedures in procedures)
+
== risks and when to apply ==
 
 
* use const parameters rather than value parameters. This avoids the need to change refcount but temporary variables could still be an issue.
 
 
 
*use global variables. You have to be careful with reentrancy issues here though and temporary variables could still be an issue.
 
 
 
*use non refcounted types like shortstrings.
 
 
 
==Risks and when to apply==
 
  
 
{{Warning|These exception frames are generated for a reason. If you leave them out any exception in that code will leave a memory leak}}
 
{{Warning|These exception frames are generated for a reason. If you leave them out any exception in that code will leave a memory leak}}
  
In 2007 $implicitexceptions was added to the strutils unit. Meanwhile, sysutils has probably followed (''to do: verify''). For this, the following approach was followed:
+
In 2007 [[sImplicitExceptions|<code>{$implicitExceptions}</code>]] was added to the {{Doc|package=RTL|unit=strutils|text=<code>strutils</code> unit}}.
* A routine that calls a routine that raises exceptions is unsafe - e.g. strtoint, but not strtointdef.
+
Meanwhile, {{Doc|package=RTL|unit=sysutils|tetx=<code>sysUtils</code>}} has probably followed.
 +
For this, the following approach was followed:
 +
* A routine that calls a routine that raises exceptions is unsafe e.g. {{Doc|package=RTL|unit=sysutils|identifier=strtoint|text=<code>strToInt</code>}}, but not {{Doc|package=RTL|unit=sysutils|identifier=strtointdef|text=<code>strToIntDef</code>}}.
 
* A routine that raises exceptions itself is unsafe.
 
* A routine that raises exceptions itself is unsafe.
* Very large routines are not worth the trouble, because of the risk and low gains - e.g. date formatting routines.
+
* Very large routines are not worth the trouble, because of the risk and low gains e.g. {{Doc|package=RTL|unit=sysutils|identifier=datetimeroutines|text=date formatting}} routines.
* Floating point use can raise exceptions that are converted into catchable exceptions by sysutils. I'm not sure if this really is sufficient reason, but I skipped floating point using routines initially for this reason.
+
* Floating point usage can raise exceptions that are converted into catchable exceptions by [[sysutils|<code>sysUtils</code>]]. I'm not sure if this really is sufficient reason, but I skipped floating point using routines initially for this reason.
 +
 
 +
If you detect problems with these changes please contact [[User:Marcov|Marco]].
  
If you detect problems with these changes please contact Marco.
+
== demo program ==
  
==Demo program==
 
 
Below is a small demo program that
 
Below is a small demo program that
* When run, clearly shows that avoiding an implicit try ... finally block can make code a lot faster. When I run this program on my system, I get
+
 
  Time of Foo_Normal: 141
+
* when run, clearly shows that avoiding an implicit <code>try finally</code>-block can make code a lot faster. When I run this program on my system, I get
  Time of Foo_Faster: 17
+
  time of fooNormal: 141
* Shows a trick how to avoid implicit try ... finally block (without changing the meaning or safety of the code) in some cases (when you don't need to actually use that AnsiString/Variant/something every time procedure is called but e.g. only if some parameter has some particular value).
+
  time of fooFaster: 17
 +
* Shows a trick how to avoid implicit <code>try finally</code>-block (without changing the meaning or safety of the code) in some cases (when you don't need to actually use that [[Ansistring|<code>AnsiString</code>]]/[[Variant|<code>Variant</code>]]/[[Data type|something]] every time procedure is called but e.g. only if some parameter has some particular value).
  
 
<syntaxhighlight>
 
<syntaxhighlight>
{$mode objfpc}{$H+}
+
program implicitExceptionDemo(input, output, stderr);
 +
 
 +
// for exceptions
 +
{$mode objfpc}
 +
// data type 'string' refers to 'ansistring'
 +
{$longstrings on}
  
 
uses
 
uses
  {BaseUnix, Unix needed only to implement Clock} BaseUnix, Unix,
+
// baseUnix, unix needed only to implement clock
  SysUtils;
+
BaseUnix, Unix,
 +
sysUtils;
  
function Clock: Int64;
+
function clock(): int64;
var Dummy: tms;
+
var
 +
dummy: tms;
 
begin
 
begin
Clock := FpTimes(Dummy);
+
clock := fpTimes(dummy);
 
end;
 
end;
  
procedure Foo_Normal(i: Integer);
+
// Note: when fooNormal and fooFaster are called
var S: string;
+
//      i is always >= 0, so no exception is ever actually raised.
 +
// So string constants SNormal and SResString are not really used.
 +
 
 +
procedure fooNormal(i: integer);
 +
var
 +
s: string;
 
begin
 
begin
if i = -1 then
+
if i = -1 then
begin
+
begin
  S := 'Some operation with AnsiString';
+
s := 'Some operation with AnsiString';
  raise Exception.Create(S);
+
raise exception.create(s);
end;
+
end;
 
end;
 
end;
  
procedure Foo_Faster(i: Integer);
+
procedure fooFaster(i: integer);
 
+
procedure raiseError;
  procedure RaiseError;
+
var
  var S: string;
+
s: string;
  begin
+
begin
  S := 'Some operation with AnsiString';
+
s := 'Some operation with AnsiString';
  raise Exception.Create(S);
+
raise exception.create(s);
  end;
+
end;
 
 
 
begin
 
begin
if i = -1 then RaiseError;
+
if i = -1 then
 +
begin
 +
raiseError;
 +
end;
 
end;
 
end;
  
{ Note that when I call Foo_Normal and Foo_ResourceString
 
  i is always >= 0 so Exception is never actually raised.
 
  So string constants SNormal and SResString are not really used. }
 
  
 +
// M A I N =================================================
 
const
 
const
  TestCount = 10000000;
+
testCount = 10000000;
 
var
 
var
  i: Integer;
+
i: integer;
  Start: Int64;
+
start: int64;
 
begin
 
begin
Start := Clock;
+
start := clock();
for i := 0 to TestCount do Foo_Normal(i);
+
for i := 0 to testCount do
Writeln('Time of Foo_Normal: ', Clock - Start);
+
begin
 
+
fooNormal(i);
Start := Clock;
+
end;
for i := 0 to TestCount do Foo_Faster(i);
+
writeLn('time of fooNormal: ', clock() - start);
Writeln('Time of Foo_Faster: ', Clock - Start);
+
 +
start := clock();
 +
for i := 0 to testCount do
 +
begin
 +
fooFaster(i);
 +
end;
 +
writeLn('time of fooFaster: ', clock() - start);
 
end.
 
end.
 
</syntaxhighlight>
 
</syntaxhighlight>
 +
 +
By putting <code>raiseError</code> into a nested [[Scope|scope]] of <code>fooFaster</code>, exception handling does not become part of the main thread of execution.
  
 
[[Category:Tutorials]]
 
[[Category:Tutorials]]
 
[[Category:FPC]]
 
[[Category:FPC]]

Revision as of 15:29, 3 February 2018

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Overview

When optimizing code it helps to know that the compiler will wrap certain code constructs in an implicit try … finally-block. This is needed whenever you use variables such as ansiStrings, variants or dynamic arrays which require initialization and finalization (i.e. where the standard procedures initialize and finalize are needed for correct allocation and release of acquired memory).

For example, a procedure like

procedure doSomething;
var
	msg: ansiString;
begin
	// do something with msg
end;

is actually expanded by the compiler to look like this:

procedure doSomething;
var
	msg: ansiString;
begin
	initialize(msg);
	try
		// do something with msg
	finally
		finalize(msg);
	end;
end;

The compiler thereby ensures that the reference count of msg will be properly decremented when procedure doSomething exits with exception[s]?. However, often this may have significant adverse effects on the generated code's speed.

This is issue was a subject on the fpc-devel list in the TList slowness classes thread.

Note, that temporary ansiString variables can be created implicitly. The only way to be completely certain about what actually is being done is to read the assembler output.

possible solutions

  • use {$implicitexceptions off}: Ensure this applies to release versions only. Debugging can become cumbersome with that switch especially locating memory leaks and corruption.
  • split off rarely used code that causes an implicit try…finally into separate procedures. (You can use procedures in procedures)
  • use const parameters rather than value parameters. This avoids the need to change refcount but temporary variables could still be an issue.
  • use global variables: You have to be careful with reentrancy issues here though and temporary variables could still be an issue.
  • use non-reference-counted types like shortstrings.

risks and when to apply

Warning-icon.png

Warning: These exception frames are generated for a reason. If you leave them out any exception in that code will leave a memory leak

In 2007 {$implicitExceptions} was added to the strutils unit. Meanwhile, sysutils has probably followed. For this, the following approach was followed:

  • A routine that calls a routine that raises exceptions is unsafe – e.g. strToInt, but not strToIntDef.
  • A routine that raises exceptions itself is unsafe.
  • Very large routines are not worth the trouble, because of the risk and low gains – e.g. date formatting routines.
  • Floating point usage can raise exceptions that are converted into catchable exceptions by sysUtils. I'm not sure if this really is sufficient reason, but I skipped floating point using routines initially for this reason.

If you detect problems with these changes please contact Marco.

demo program

Below is a small demo program that

  • when run, clearly shows that avoiding an implicit try … finally-block can make code a lot faster. When I run this program on my system, I get
time of fooNormal: 141
time of fooFaster: 17
  • Shows a trick how to avoid implicit try … finally-block (without changing the meaning or safety of the code) in some cases (when you don't need to actually use that AnsiString/Variant/something every time procedure is called but e.g. only if some parameter has some particular value).
program implicitExceptionDemo(input, output, stderr);

// for exceptions
{$mode objfpc}
// data type 'string' refers to 'ansistring'
{$longstrings on}

uses
	// baseUnix, unix needed only to implement clock
	BaseUnix, Unix,
	sysUtils;

function clock(): int64;
var
	dummy: tms;
begin
	clock := fpTimes(dummy);
end;

// Note: when fooNormal and fooFaster are called
//       i is always >= 0, so no exception is ever actually raised.
// So string constants SNormal and SResString are not really used.

procedure fooNormal(i: integer);
var
	s: string;
begin
	if i = -1 then
	begin
		s := 'Some operation with AnsiString';
		raise exception.create(s);
	end;
end;

procedure fooFaster(i: integer);
	procedure raiseError;
	var
		s: string;
	begin
		s := 'Some operation with AnsiString';
		raise exception.create(s);
	end;
begin
	if i = -1 then
	begin
		raiseError;
	end;
end;


// M A I N =================================================
const
	testCount = 10000000;
var
	i: integer;
	start: int64;
begin
	start := clock();
	for i := 0 to testCount do
	begin
		fooNormal(i);
	end;
	writeLn('time of fooNormal: ', clock() - start);
	
	start := clock();
	for i := 0 to testCount do
	begin
		fooFaster(i);
	end;
	writeLn('time of fooFaster: ', clock() - start);
end.

By putting raiseError into a nested scope of fooFaster, exception handling does not become part of the main thread of execution.