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A faster way to compile code out of a system is to hide it behind an if(CONSTANT) or unless(CONSTANT), as in

use constant DEBUG => 0; if (DEBUG) { warn( "This code is only compiled into the program ", " when DEBUG is true.\n"; ); }
The bonus is that you don't introduce more delay in the compile time, which a lot of people apparently dislike. I discovered this in POE, a project where I gained about 20% runtime performance with POE::Preprocessor by replacing small, commonly used functions with macros. A contrived example:
macro num_max (x,y) { ((x) > (y) ? (x) : (y)) }

This macro is then used, template-like, in the main body of source as:

print "You owe: \$", {% num_max $total-$paid, 0 %}, "\n";

Back to compile-time inclusion. POE::Preprocessor uses the common if/elsif/else syntax, tagged with an "# include" marker. That is, if you comment a construct with "# include", it will be evaluated at compile time (using the CONSTANT trick), and the code in the block will be included (or not) depending on the condition's outcome.

unless ($expression) { # include ... lines of code ... } elsif ($expression) { # include ... lines of code ... } else { # include ... lines of code ... } # include
Problems with macros and source filters in general:
  1. They alter your source's line numbers, which interferes with warnings and error messages. POE::Preprocessor takes great pains to insert "# line" directives that not only preserve your original line numbers but also indicate where in your macros the problem may really lie.
  2. They confound packagers, most notably perlapp and perl2exe. These Perl "compilers" do not evaluate source filters at runtime. They don't even evaluate them at "compile" time. Instead, the original, non-Perl syntax becomes an error when you try to run things.
  3. Source filtering is slow. I got no end of complaints about slow startup times, even though POE::Preprocessor attempts to be optimal Perl.
  4. Any non-Perl syntax, no matter how trivially like any number of template toolkits, is greeted with shock and confusion. (Heck, people still don't like @_[CONST1, CONST2], even though it is standard Perl syntax.)

Liz's solution is much smarter than mine. It addresses all these problems. Very nice!

-- Rocco Caputo - rcaputo@pobox.com - poe.perl.org


In reply to Re: Debug code out of production systems by rcaputo
in thread Debug code out of production systems by liz

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