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D Language Foundation Monthly Meeting Summary for December 2022
Jan 21
Sergey
Jan 21
Mike Shah
Jan 22
ryuukk_
Jan 24
Hipreme
Jan 28
Johan
January 21

The December meeting took place on the 3rd of the month at 15:00 UTC. The following people were present:

  • Andrei Alexandrescu
  • Walter Bright
  • Ali Çehreli
  • Dennis Korpel
  • Mathias Lang
  • Átila Neves
  • Razvan Nitu
  • Mike Parker
  • Robert Schadek

The meeting lasted around an hour and a half.

The summary

Dennis

Dennis opened by reporting that he had begun working on a DIP to use @default as a means of resetting attributes. He had a question about what it should affect: should it reset all attributes (including visibility attributes like private), or only function attributes? The unanimous consensus was that it should only affect function attributes. He has since submitted the DIP for Draft Review.

Razvan

@property

In his ongoing effort to resolve old Bugzilla issues, Razvan had encountered a number of old issues regarding @property. Walter and Andrei had said in the past that we shouldn't support the feature anymore, and it's often recommended that people not use it. But people do still use it. So what are we going to do about it? Should we attempt to fix these old issues? Should we deprecate @property?

Walter suggested one possible approach is just to leave it as is. Those who see a benefit in using it can continue to do so, and those who don't can avoid it. He hadn't looked into the issues surrounding @property in a long time and asked if this was a viable approach. As far as he understood, the only time @property has an effect is when you take the address of a function it annotates. Razvan said @property sometimes interacts with other features in unexpected ways and the spec says nothing about what it's supposed to do. Maybe we could just add something to the spec saying it shouldn't be used.

Andrei said that's not what a spec is supposed to do. A spec tells you what happens when you, e.g., move your hand like this. A spec doesn't give you advice. If we're keeping it, we should spec it out even if we then never touch it again. Guides will say whether or not to use it. But we can't just leave it hanging unspecified.

Ali noted that he didn't include it in his book other than to say using it is discouraged.

Razvan asked how he should handle these @property issues in Bugzilla. Find someone to fix them or just document the behavior? Walter said the latter. He also suggested adding a recommendation to avoid @property in the best practices section of the documentation.

Robert spoke up then to suggest deprecating @property and releasing a tool that removes it from a code base. Then we should apply that tool to create pull requests for all dub packages using @property, and then in a future release, we kill it. Anyone affected by the removal can then run the tool on their own code. He added that we should do this with any feature we decide to remove. This is the modern way of software development: you don't just break someone's code, you break their code and give them a tool to fix it.

Átila said that would work fine here except in cases where someone is taking the address of an @property function. We aren't going to be able to make a tool for that. Robert said that's true but do it anyway. The tool should tell them, "This doesn't work for this case. Sorry." He said that if we test the tool with all the D code we can find on GitHub, he'd bet beers at DConf that we'd find no more than ten instances of code that would break.

After more discussion in a similar vein, Razvan said what it comes down to is that this is a broken feature and we don't know how to fix it. We need to just deprecate it. We shouldn't be keeping broken features around if we aren't going to fix them. Robert agreed. A tool to remove it from code will handle most cases, and for those people whom it doesn't help we'll have to help them migrate.

There was then some discussion about whether or not @property is fixable. Dennis brought up the case of when the property is a callable (and linked the docs for Adam Ruppe's arsd.jsvar module as an example of the problem manifesting; see Adam's comment in the example code and his notes near the bottom of the page). If we want to support this kind of type that can store callables, then we need some kind of fix. Walter said that's an ambiguity for which no one had been able to settle on a solution.

Andrei said one intent of @property is to be a replacement for a data member. That's a good goal. Any improvement of @property should serve that purpose. If there's an ambiguity, it should go in favor of that. Átila thought that made sense. If there's an ambiguity, then just pretend it's a field. If there's only one set of parentheses, you call the callable. If there are no parentheses, you call the callable.

Robert countered by saying we're trying to make D simpler, and @property makes it more complicated for very little benefit. Properties are functions and then attributes like @safe play into it. Simpler is better.

Walter said that when you have special cases for a feature like this, you have to ask, is it carrying its water? He thinks @property isn't. Átila argued that there is something to be said for what it enables when it comes to refactoring. It increases the plasticity of the code. Robert said that's fine for existing users, but it doesn't help new users. Kill it and make a tool.

To wrap this up, Walter said that on the list of problems that we have to deal with, @property is down towards the bottom. Unless this is something affecting a significant number of our users, it's not something we should spend time on. He's happy with just deprecating or ignoring it.

Razvan noted that simplifying the language is part of our vision, and this seems like a good candidate. Walter agreed. Dennis suggested going through DRuntime and Phobos to look at all instances of @property and seeing if they could be removed. Walter agreed.

CTFE writeln

Razvan next brought up a PR to implement a __ctfeWriteln built-in. It was currently stalled and needed Walter's approval. Walter asked Razvan to email him about it. He subsequently approved it.

Reducing Phobos template bloat with traits

Razvan next noted that compile time was a recurring topic these days and cited a recent thread. Template bloat in Phobos is often cited as one of the culprits. He brought up the std.traits.fullyQualifiedName template as a specific example. Every instantiation of it results in an additional 10 to 15 template instances. In this case, changing it to a __traits would be a big improvement. On the other hand, we've been reluctant to add new traits. What should the policy be when there is an obvious opportunity to reduce Phobos template bloat with a new trait?

Walter said that __traits is meant to be ugly. It's meant to be a sort of catchall for random stuff. Reducing template bloat for a commonly used template is a very worthwhile reason to add a trait.

Walter then noted that isPointer had come up in the same thread. He looked at its implementation and found it was trivial. Trivial stuff generally shouldn't go into Phobos. The library shouldn't be a mile wide and an inch deep of functions. He went through Phobos and removed all the uses of isPointer, though he left the template there for backward compatibility. He also did that with implicitlyConvertible. In both cases, he replaced the usage of the templates with the equivalent is expression. Átila noted that the templates are still necessary if you're static mapping or filtering, and Walter said that's why he didn't remove them.

Walter said that's one approach to getting rid of template bloat: flattening out the number of instantiations. There are a number of cases where Phobos templates forward to another template when they really didn't need to. Andrei said that's mostly historical, in some cases it was done to avoid bugs, and he agreed that flattening out instantiations is a good thing to do.

Andrei said that we should discourage bad practice as a matter of course, but the notion that we have template bloat because of abstraction is a bit of a problem. Consider that __traits is ugly because it was intended to discourage direct use and for use instead inside an abstraction layer. Now we're kind of changing the charter and saying you should use __traits because if you wrap it in a template it's going to produce code bloat. What's the deal?

Walter said the problem isn't wrapping __traits in templates. Templates should use __traits, not a whole bunch of wrapper templates. The problem is that we have to ensure that we aren't creating a nest of template instantiations because too many nested templates slow compilation. We want Phobos to serve as an example of how to do things, but it also needs to be performant. That means making some concessions to performance.

Robert said that doesn't solve his problem with compile times. He has a project that doesn't use much of Phobos, but compile times still suffer. The compiler is slow. Making Phobos a tiny bit faster doesn't change that. Changing the template implementations is like saying you can't use our screwdriver with big screws. Doing that gets you maybe from Level 30 to Level 29, but it doesn't solve the problem.

Walter said Robert was right about the compiler. But that's a big and difficult problem to solve. What we can do right now is reduce the nesting of templates.

Razvan sees these as two completely different problems. One is that the compiler is slow. The other is that Phobos has template implementations that are wasteful. We need to solve both. And even Walter's changes are only a minor dent in the Phobos bottleneck. He had previously dug into hasUDA and it was scary how many recursive expansions he found. And we don't provide the tools for the user to understand where the bottlenecks in their template usage are at.

Walter brought up the -vtemplates compiler switch for reporting template statistics which was added at Weka's request. Razvan said there had been some complaints raised that it doesn't provide enough information. Átila said what we're really missing here is compile-time profiling.

Andrei suggested a longer-term project we can consider. Most of the time when people modify their code, they aren't changing the template instantiation but the code around it. That goes to the idea of caching or pre-compiling the template so that further compilations don't take so long and only compiling the template when the instantiation has changed. This idea has come up a number of times over the years, and it may be time to bring it to the front burner. Átila brought up C++ 11's extern templates. Andrei said that's not what he meant. He's talking about a little database that the compiler creates to save the instantiations. It's not extremely difficult, but it's a big project. And he suspects it will transform the problem into a non-issue. He thinks it would be an excellent project.

(This discussion ended after that, with Razvan saying, "Sounds good to me". My impression is that we're going to explore the caching idea at some point.)

Mathias

Mathias wanted to let us know about two things he was working on regarding dub.

The first involved dub's settings file, settings.json. As he put it, have you ever seen a program that asked you to write its settings using JSON? There had been some favorable responses to the idea of moving to YAML from some core contributors a few years back. It just needed someone to do it. He asked if we were okay with the move. Átila said we probably shouldn't keep JSON, but wondered if YAML was the best choice. What about TOML? This sparked a minor bikeshedding discussion, but there was no major opposition to Mathias's plan. (He has since opened a draft PR. Sönke Ludwig wants to see a broader discussion of this before finalizing it, so I expect Mathias will ask for community feedback at some point.)

The second issue was dub's build cache. When you build something with dub, you end up with a large number of build artifacts in the working directory of the package being built. It's not just a few MBs, but hundreds. Different flags and compiler versions create separate directories, so it can quickly go into GBs. He had an open pull request to change that behavior so that the artifacts go into a .dub/cache directory rather than the CWD (the PR has since been merged). That's the first step, getting output into a single location. The next step was to make it configurable for the users.

I asked Mathias who is the best POC (point of contact) for dub. Was it still Sönke? Was it Mathias or Jan Jurzitza? He said that would be him (Mathias). Several months ago he had gotten annoyed with the state of dub and had done a bunch of work on it. Sönke is around from time to time, but he has little time for it these days. Mathias usually leaves his PRs open for a while so someone can review them, and sends them to Jan, but he manages most of the PRs himself.

Robert

D frustrations

Robert let us know about a programmer in Symmetry who had a project in D that was going to transition from a toy to production. The programmer ultimately decided to use C# on the production version. There were a number of little annoyances and pain points with D that led to that decision. Robert said that he had been with D so long that those little things don't hurt him anymore, but on reflection, they do hurt.

He noted that with the 2.101 release, Jan Jurzita's LSP (Language Server Protocol) implementation started crashing. Compile times keep getting slower. Why doesn't an LSP implementation come with DMD? Why don't we have a compiler daemon? Why aren't his build times sub one second? Why are we talking about adding @live, tagged enums, and all that stuff? He just wants a simple language that works out of the box with LSP that isn't too crazy. We're talking about how to fix memory safety, but it's such a complicated issue. We're trying to make the language simpler, but the combination of features being added is exploding in our faces.

When Robert uses D, he feels there's a simple, straightforward compiled language in there that knows what it is. Sometimes he feels he's the only one that sees that and that other people want more elaborate features. Átila agreed and mentioned his DConf '22 talk, saying we need to fix what's already there before we consider more features.

Robert feels like the way we write and build software with D is 15 years behind the curve. Compiling isn't really a batch job anymore. The compiler should be a daemon with built-in LSP that compiles files when they change. Andrei's earlier comments on caching templates would benefit from this. He knows it's a gigantic change, and would require a complete rewrite, but it's easier to start now than two years down the line. He knows he's not capable of doing it, and he doesn't have the time even if he were, but he thinks it needs to be done.

Though this frustrates him sometimes, he enjoys writing D every day and wants to do it for the rest of his life.

Walter asked if Robert could get the Symmetry programmer who moved on to C# to provide a list of the issues that caused him to give up on D. Robert said he would try. Walter said that the horse has left the barn with this programmer, but those issues are probably affecting other people. He noted the forum posts about the guy who dropped D for Jai. Walter had the impression that the person had filed multiple bugs, but it turned out he had filed three. Walter had been able to fix two of them. He then sent an email asking if there were other bugs to fix, and the person was very nice but couldn't come up with other bugs to fix. However, those bugs he'd fixed were important ones, and Walter hadn't been aware of them before. They were ABI problems with the Microsoft C compiler. The MS documentation was wrong about the ABI, so the code generation was wrong.

This was followed by a discussion about how to solve the small annoyances and issues people have that they find so frustrating. Walter said the big problems aren't so easy, but the small ones should be. He said we absolutely need to fix them, but we need to know what they are. He expressed frustration that he often has a hard time getting actionable items from people when it comes to the small stuff. That's why he's always asking for Bugzilla issues.

Robert understood, and he had seen the same. He reiterated that his Number One actionable item was adding an LSP implementation to the compiler. He then explained the benefits this could provide if the compiler were running as a daemon, with the example of incorporating tools to automatically change code in the editor when we make breaking changes to the language. He said Jan's work with serve-d was great, but this would probably be better and quicker if implemented natively in the compiler.

Razvan said the problem is that we don't support incremental compilation. He brought up past work done attempting on dmd as a library that encountered problems because of that. Robert said that's one reason why moving to a daemon would require a complete rewrite. Incremental compilation is a thing, and we should have it. He suggested everyone install Android Studio and play around with Flutter and Dart. The developer experience is like very good crack. Razvan wondered if SDC supports incremental compilation.

We ended this discussion with Walter being open to looking into this. Robert said he would email a link to an interesting talk about a compiler design that he thinks will lend itself to running as a daemon and supporting incremental compilation. He emphasized that he wants to still be discussing D with us 40 years from now and that all of his feedback, even the critical bits, should be taken as loving input.

Bugzilla to GitHub migration

I then asked Robert about the script for the Bugzilla to GitHub migration. He said he planned to set things up so that I could run it myself, but he needed to make the time to get there.

JSON parser

Robert had recently implemented a quick JSON file parser using SumType. He'd wanted to see if he could use SumType to represent HTML/XML/JSON/YAML/TOML. Apart from assigning void as a value to the sumtype, it worked in @safe and was very nice. The implementation was only around 150 lines. It took him only half an afternoon. SumType is really awesome, and we should really do something with it. std.json works, but could use a revamp. We don't have std.xml anymore. We don't have std.yaml or std.html or std.toml, etc., and those should be in Phobos. Átila agreed. We just need someone to write them.

Ali

Ali reported that he had finished the new D program at work he had told us about in the November meeting. It had uncovered a performance issue with std.file.dirEntries. As for the program, he was happy with the end result.

He said he'd used std.parallelism.parallel again and speculated he's probably among the people who've used it most. He said it helps tremendously. It's very simple and everything becomes very fast.

Andrei

Andrei said he had been doing a fair amount of C++ coding at work, and it had given him an interesting perspective on things. One area in which the D language can do a lot of good is simplification. A simpler language is really useful. He'd noticed that some of the features in C++ were designed to fight against other features that were poorly designed or implemented, and that adds complexity.

He suggested that going forward we should consider removing limitations of existing features, making them simpler and more general. This should be a high-level goal, and new features should be targeted at that. Caching template instantiations, for example, would be a compiler addition that would be high impact toward that end. He'll let us know if he has more such ideas. Walter thinks that's a good goal. Andrei said the main thing is that we have things that don't work that should (like @property), and things that work that shouldn't. It's a bizarre situation, and people latch onto that.

That segued into a brief discussion about removing features. Átila said that we can't do that until we have something like "Editions" so that we can make non-breaking breaking changes.

Átila

Átila said he had been trying to figure out what to talk about for DConf Online. He went back to something he was doing a long time ago that Andrei had talked to him about, which is a better, simpler way of doing reflection. The disparate APIs we have are complicated to use. And with all the talk about templates and compile times, why not do it using string mixins? He'd started working on a library called "mirror", but never finished it because the only way to know if the API was good and worked was to use it for something real. So he had been trying to write another Python wrapper library from scratch using only string mixins. It had been relatively easy, but there's no prior art in this space, so it's kind of hard to figure out how to do it. He thought it would be an interesting talk. He noted that the first thing he noticed was how fast the compile times were. (I think his talk turned out to be interesting).

I brought up a problem I'd had years ago when I implemented a mixin-based OpenGL binding for Derelict that could be configured via string mixins as a free-function API or as a struct-wrapped API (e.g., glClearColor vs. GL.clearColor). Something was causing the struct configuration to take over 10 minutes to compile. I could never pin it down, so ultimately gave up. We have no good way to debug string mixins. (Atila and I talked a bit about this in our DConf Online Q & A session). Átila said that debugging templates isn't a great user experience either.

Andrei said he and Walter had talked about this in the past, and he thinks there's an opportunity there. With string mixins there are two stages: one is creating the strings and the other is mixing them in. He speculates there's a cost to each side. His suspicion was that the creation of the strings was more expensive. Walter's idea back then, which Andrei thinks is worth revisiting, was that the compiler could easily create the reflection for a module/struct/class in one shot, rather than assembling it piece by piece. You ask for the reflection, and it gives you a struct whose fields are strings representing the info. Átila said that's what his library does, and Andrei suggested it would be more performant if it were in the compiler. Átila's intuition is that a bytecode interpreter for CTFE would have more impact on speed.

And anyway, just by mixing stuff in rather than using templates, Átila had found the performance improvement surprising. The challenging part had been deciding how to structure the code. With templates, everything is neat and tidy and clean. If he needs to manufacture a function out of the aether, he can put it in a template and just instantiate the template, whereas with mixins he has to generate the string for the function and then put it somewhere.

I noted that Átila's talk was a complement to Steven Schveighoffer's. (Steven's talk was Model all the Things!).

Walter

Walter had been working on a long-standing bug with ModuleInfo which had been around for 10 years. Reading the bug reports on it, no one seemed to understand how ModuleInfo actually works. Part of the problem was a documentation problem. He was going to see if he could unstick all of that. This was a barrier to people using D and it needed fixing.

He then said that he had noticed in discussions on HN and elsewhere a tectonic shift appears to be going on: C++ appears to be sinking. There seems to be a lot more negativity out there about it these days. He doesn't know how big this is, but it seems to be a major shift. People are realizing that there are intractable problems with C++, it's getting too complicated, they don't like the way code looks when writing C++, memory safety has come to the fore and C++ doesn't deal with it effectively, etc.

For us, that's good news. The bad news is that Rust, not D, is filling in that gap. He wants to keep plugging away at memory safety. That won't help us in the marketing department, but at least in the technical department, we can get it there.

Robert thinks Rust has won that game. We're the second person to the moon. Put @safe on top, disallow taking addresses of the stack, don't allow returning ref, and don't allow pointer arithmetic. That's as safe as we need to be. D's niche is on top of Rust and under TypeScript. That's where we need to be. That may not be the most popular opinion in the group, but he was alone in his room and no one could hurt him. He thinks C++ has been sinking, but it's probably going to keep sinking until he's dead and will never sink completely, but Rust will take that over. Rust is also taking over some of the web world because it compiles easily to web assembly.

Walter agreed that C++ will never disappear, but he thinks it will fade into the background. He appreciates Robert's opinion. It's something we need to think about.

Next, Walter said he needed to record his DConf Online talk and send it to me.

Then he said something else he'd been doing lately was asking people to provide specific lists of problems they're having. Vague generalizations aren't useful. He needs action items that he can fix.

As always, he just has too much work to do. He has to prioritize what he's getting done. Looking ahead, he was thinking about a built-in sumtype. He wasn't sure about the implementation schedule for it, but a spec that is vetted and would work is a good thing to have. Don Allen had posted a number of problems with ImportC that he needed to look at. He was hoping to fix all the low-hanging fruit with it that he could.

Conclusion

The next meeting was a Quarterly meeting, meaning industry reps were involved, and took place on January 13, at 14:00 UTC. "D frustrations" was a major topic of discussion in that meeting. I'll have the summary as soon as I can. Unfortunately, it's going to be less detailed than usual. I managed to botch the OBS Studio settings once again and ended up with no audio output. My mic came through, but that's all (this is the second time I've done that with a meeting, and I'm determined to make it the last). This means that I'm going to have to rely on help from the participants to cobble together a summary. I know several people enjoy reading these, and I feel terrible for such a silly mistake, so I'll try to gather as much detail as I can.

I would like to remind everyone to continue sending me your own frustrations with D and your wishlists for the future (social@dlang.org). We're going to use this information to help guide changes in processes and management and to mark a path forward.

I can't provide details at this time, but I can report that we have recently taken a big step toward our long-term goal of getting a handle on the chaos. Most of the people (everyone?) involved found it to be a positive experience. I think I can safely speak for them when I say we're looking forward to what comes next. At some point, hopefully next month, I'll be able to say more about it.

January 21
A very big problem we have right now is that we are on pretty shaky foundations with how symbols are represented at the binary image level due to DLL's not be fully implemented in dmd.

Any work for things like incremental compilation must be done with the knowledge that the foundations right now are just not there to do this reliably cross platform.

I.e. is incredibly easy to run into: https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/cpp/error-messages/tool-errors/linker-tools-warning-lnk4217?view=msvc-170

I believe we are going to have to modify export (and with that removing it as a visibility modifier) quite significantly.

In the C/C++ world you can use macros and compiler level defines to swap out DllImport and DllExport, or remove it all together. We can't do that. Which means we are going to need to make export a whole lot smarter if we don't want to run into these issues on Windows.
January 21

On Saturday, 21 January 2023 at 04:29:28 UTC, Mike Parker wrote:

>

The December meeting took place on the 3rd of the month at 15:00 UTC. The following people were present:

  • Andrei Alexandrescu
  • Walter Bright
  • Ali Çehreli
  • Dennis Korpel
  • Mathias Lang
  • Átila Neves
  • Razvan Nitu
  • Mike Parker
  • Robert Schadek

Thank you Mike and all D foundation. It was very pleasant read.
I am surprised how many things and details were discussed in an hour and a half!

January 21
On Saturday, 21 January 2023 at 04:29:28 UTC, Mike Parker wrote:
> As far as he understood, the only time `@property` has an effect is when you take the address of a function it annotates.

It is when you do typeof(thing.prop), not &thing.prop.

> Walter said that `__traits` is meant to be ugly.

We should revisit this decision. I don't think it ever made sense, and especially now with the benefit of hindsight it looks like a clear unforced error.

> Robert said that doesn't solve his problem with compile times. He has a project that doesn't use much of Phobos, but compile times still suffer. The compiler is slow.

I'd like to know more about this project....

> He had previously dug into `hasUDA` and it was scary how many recursive expansions he found.

We should also revisit the abstractions here. The more I use these the more I've been landing on something like what Steve described in the dconf online. It is faster to compile, more flexible with runtime reuse, and just generally easier to document and use.

Then we can just let hasUDA and friends die.

> That goes to the idea of caching or pre-compiling the template so that

Please note that the compiler does cache templates right now, and it takes gigs of memory. A lot of work would have to be done to make this good since work not done is still better than work unnecessarily done... and if it is cached too aggressively you just run out of memory.

If the end result is simple, we ought to be able to discard intermediate results, but the current implementation doesn't even allow this!

> We don't have [...] `std.html` [...] We just need someone to write them.

Yes, if only some did that 13 years ago and has been continuously maintaining it ever since. If only ~someone~ wrote that.

> Something was causing the struct configuration to take over 10 minutes to compile.

If you did any string replacements that'd slaughter your performance, the ctfe engine is *extremely* bad at this.

In my arsd.jni, I had a string like:

enum code = q{
     PRETEND_MACRO void foo() { implementation; }
};

mixin(code.replace("PRETEND_MACRO", ""));
mixin(code.replace("PRETEND_MACRO", "static"));

Those two simple lines added 30 seconds to the compile time! Just copy/pasting it and replacing the pretend macro ahead of time cut 95% of the build time off. It was astonishing.

You can optimize some of these with mutable buffers, avoid the concat operator in ctfe even if it means two passes through the data. This helps a lot.

But also just using template mixins tends to work well when you know the proper techniques.
January 21

On Saturday, 21 January 2023 at 11:25:37 UTC, Sergey wrote:

>

On Saturday, 21 January 2023 at 04:29:28 UTC, Mike Parker wrote:

>

The December meeting took place on the 3rd of the month at 15:00 UTC. The following people were present:

  • Andrei Alexandrescu
  • Walter Bright
  • Ali Çehreli
  • Dennis Korpel
  • Mathias Lang
  • Átila Neves
  • Razvan Nitu
  • Mike Parker
  • Robert Schadek

Thank you Mike and all D foundation. It was very pleasant read.
I am surprised how many things and details were discussed in an hour and a half!

Agreed 100%, these summaries and the transparency into the decision making are great!

January 22

On Saturday, 21 January 2023 at 04:29:28 UTC, Mike Parker wrote:

>

Robert spoke up then to suggest deprecating @property and releasing a tool that removes it from a code base. Then we should apply that tool to create pull requests for all dub packages using @property, and then in a future release, we kill it. Anyone affected by the removal can then run the tool on their own code. He added that we should do this with any feature we decide to remove. This is the modern way of software development: you don't just break someone's code, you break their code and give them a tool to fix it.

I agree with that 100%, perhaps the feature should be built in into DUB, it can already detect the compilers and its version, so it can do all the heavy lifting already

>

Compile times keep getting slower. Why doesn't an LSP implementation come with DMD? Why don't we have a compiler daemon? Why aren't his build times sub one second?

All my projects fully recompile in around 1s, i am sad when i see libraries that tank the compile speed to multiple seconds..

I ended up writing my own runtime and my own std, this is why i advocate for language enhancements rather than putting more template soup into the std

And i agree even more on the language server, Jan did an amazing work with serve-d, but it highlights 2 problems:

  • slow to compile, wich makes contributing a pain
  • DCD is basically too basic, doesn't even support most D features including templates
>

SumType is really awesome, and we should really do something with it.

I agree, SumType is a great piece of library, it should be promoted as a language feature

>

The first involved dub's settings file, settings.json. As he put it, have you ever seen a program that asked you to write its settings using JSON? There had been some favorable responses to the idea of moving to YAML from some core contributors a few years back. It just needed someone to do it. He asked if we were okay with the move. Átila said we probably shouldn't keep JSON, but wondered if YAML was the best choice. What about TOML? This sparked a minor bikeshedding discussion, but there was no major opposition to Mathias's plan. (He has since opened a draft PR. Sönke Ludwig wants to see a broader discussion of this before finalizing it, so I expect Mathias will ask for community feedback at some point.)

I agree, json is not a good file format, it doesn't even support comments and is annoying to parse

A simple ini file would be 10x better already, no need complicated parsers like YAML or TML

>

Robert thinks Rust has won that game. We're the second person to the moon. Put @safe on top, disallow taking addresses of the stack, don't allow returning ref, and don't allow pointer arithmetic. That's as safe as we need to be. D's niche is on top of Rust and under TypeScript. That's where we need to be. That may not be the most popular opinion in the group, but he was alone in his room and no one could hurt him. He thinks C++ has been sinking, but it's probably going to keep sinking until he's dead and will never sink completely, but Rust will take that over. Rust is also taking over some of the web world because it compiles easily to web assembly.

I DISAGREE fully, Rust has not won "that game", there is a similar negative sentiment about rust, "too complicated", "too hard", "bad syntax", "slow to compile", etc

The future will be many languages, each being best at certain domains, we seen it with the rise of Go, doing what it do best with the cli/web/server/containers and nothing else

WASM? C/C++ won the game, Abobe is the perfect example, it's not simple hello world Rust people are doing, it's full commercial projects https://web.dev/ps-on-the-web/

Same with games

January 23
On Sat, Jan 21, 2023 at 04:29:28AM +0000, Mike Parker via Digitalmars-d-announce wrote: [...]
> __CTFE writeln__
> 
> Razvan next brought up [a PR to implement a `__ctfeWriteln` built-in](https://github.com/dlang/dmd/pull/12412). It was currently stalled and needed Walter's approval. Walter asked Razvan to email him about it. He subsequently approved it.

This may seem like a small item, but it's a landmark!!  The first PR for
this was submitted back in 2011 (https://github.com/dlang/dmd/pull/296),
superceded in in 2012 (https://github.com/dlang/dmd/pull/692), revived
in 2016 (https://github.com/dlang/dmd/pull/6101), re-attempted in 2017
(https://github.com/dlang/dmd/pull/7082), submitted in its present form
in Apr 2021 (https://github.com/dlang/dmd/pull/12412), and finally
approved in Dec 2022.  This is monumental!

OTOH, it begs the question, is there any way to improve our present process so that relatively small features like these don't take 11 years to get implemented?


[...]
> ### Ali
> Ali reported that he had finished the new D program at work he had
> [told us about in the November
> meeting](https://forum.dlang.org/thread/citxnklerlvqmybyoaat@forum.dlang.org).
> It had uncovered a performance issue with `std.file.dirEntries`. As
> for the program, he was happy with the end result.
> 
> He said he'd used `std.parallelism.parallel` again and speculated he's probably among the people who've used it most. He said it helps tremendously. It's very simple and everything becomes very fast.

Just wanted to chime in here to say that std.parallelism.parallel is absolutely awesome, and I've been using it in a few of my projects for what amounts to instant speed-up "for free".

The original design hit jackpot in making it as easy as possible to turn a regular foreach loop into a parallel loop: just add .parallel to your aggregate. This makes it trivial to test the performance gains of parallelizing any given foreach loop (with independent iterations, of course). You didn't have to invest a ton of time writing code to instantiate task managers, task pools, create threads, manage threads, wait for them to finish, etc.. For highly-specific performance tweaks, you'd probably want to do all that, but for one-off quick evaluations of whether a parallel approach is even worth it in the first place, the design of .parallel is exactly the thing needed. Once you've confirmed it works, you can, if needed, invest more effort into managing task pools, etc..  If not, you haven't wasted any effort except writing `.parallel` -- it's basically zero cost.  And for script-like helper utilities, .parallel is just the thing you need to get the job done in the shortest amount of time possible.  No need for anything more elaborate.


[...]
> ### Walter
[...]
> He then said that he had noticed in discussions on HN and elsewhere a tectonic shift appears to be going on: C++ appears to be sinking. There seems to be a lot more negativity out there about it these days. He doesn't know how big this is, but it seems to be a major shift. People are realizing that there are intractable problems with C++, it's getting too complicated, they don't like the way code looks when writing C++, memory safety has come to the fore and C++ doesn't deal with it effectively, etc.

The inevitable is happening.  Has been happening, just on a smaller scale.  But it will only grow.


[...]
> Robert thinks Rust has won that game. [...] Rust is also taking over some of the web world because it compiles easily to web assembly.

LDC already compiles to WASM.  It's a crucial first step.  But the usability level of D in WASM is currently wayyy below what it would take to win people over.  If we want to win this game, we need to get WASM support to the point that you could in theory just recompile a D program and have it work in WASM without any change.  Well, excepting, of course, stuff that WASM fundamentally can't do.

Currently, you can compile individual functions, but you can't have main(), you can't use Phobos, you can't use the GC, and you need to write a lot of JS boilerplate to have your WASM D code interact with anything outside its own little bubble.  Strictly speaking this isn't D's problem, but that's cold comfort for anyone who wants to develop for WASM in D.  Yeah, writing JS and HTML is part-and-parcel of targeting WASM, but why can't we make our packaging better?  There should be a tool for auto-generating JS wrappers, perhaps even HTML snippets, so that a user literally can just write:

	import std;	// OK, maybe import std.wasm or something
	void main() { writeln("Hello, world!");

and get a webpage that prints that message in a browser window without writing a single line of JS or HTML.  All the JS boilerplate and HTML tedium should be automatically taken care of, unless the user overrides something.

Using WASM with D should be on the level of usability of appending .parallel to your aggregate to get a parallel foreach loop; it shouldn't require you to write a ton of JS boilerplate and constrict your D code to the equivalent of jumping backwards with one hand tied behind your back.


> Walter agreed that C++ will never disappear, but he thinks it will fade into the background.
[...]

That I agree with.  My prediction is that C will also gradually fade into the background and eventually be confined to small niches, but won't entirely disappear.  Merely become irrelevant.  From my POV, C may outlast C++ in terms of persistence before becoming irrelevant.  In spite of all its flaws, C is overall still a cleaner language than C++ and has fewer fundamental design issues that make it unusably frustrating.


T

-- 
Let's call it an accidental feature. -- Larry Wall
January 23
On Monday, 23 January 2023 at 20:06:46 UTC, H. S. Teoh wrote:
> There should be a tool for auto-generating JS wrappers, perhaps even HTML snippets, so that a user literally can just write:
>
> 	import std;	// OK, maybe import std.wasm or something
> 	void main() { writeln("Hello, world!");
> and get a webpage that prints that message in a browser window without writing a single line of JS or HTML.

http://webassembly.arsdnet.net/

Paste in
import std.stdio;
void main() { writeln("hello world"); }

to the box on that page

and get
http://webassembly.arsdnet.net/usertemp

Webassembly is a trash target but like been there done that.

Of course there are some caveats in what works, there have been come contributions coming in from hipreme recently to extend it a lil.
January 23
On 1/23/23 12:06, H. S. Teoh wrote:

> `.parallel` -- it's basically zero cost.  And for script-like helper
> utilities, .parallel is just the thing you need to get the job done in
> the shortest amount of time possible.  No need for anything more
> elaborate.

Yes! :)

As a heads up to those who haven't tried it yet, there are cases that may benefit from reducing the work unit size from its default value of 100.

Especially when it's about file processing and there are a few files that take disproportionate amount of processing time, then the thread that is working on the largest file(s) would be holding on to 99 others to process them later in serial fashion. This may happen when the other e.g. 20 threads have already finished their tasks.

So, I recommend experimenting with smaller work unit sizes; I currently use 1 for such file processing. Something like this:

  auto tp = new TaskPool(totalCPUs / 2);   // Thread count
  foreach (e; tp.parallel(elements, 1)) {  // Work unit size
    // ...
  }
  tp.finish(); // Don't forget

as seen here:

  https://youtu.be/dRORNQIB2wA?t=1692

Ali

January 23
On Mon, Jan 23, 2023 at 08:43:03PM +0000, Adam D Ruppe via Digitalmars-d-announce wrote:
> On Monday, 23 January 2023 at 20:06:46 UTC, H. S. Teoh wrote:
> > There should be a tool for auto-generating JS wrappers, perhaps even HTML snippets, so that a user literally can just write:
> > 
> > 	import std;	// OK, maybe import std.wasm or something
> > 	void main() { writeln("Hello, world!");
> > and get a webpage that prints that message in a browser window
> > without writing a single line of JS or HTML.
> 
> http://webassembly.arsdnet.net/
> 
> Paste in
> import std.stdio;
> void main() { writeln("hello world"); }
> 
> to the box on that page
> 
> and get
> http://webassembly.arsdnet.net/usertemp

Ahahahaha...  just like Adam to have already dunnit while I'm still twiddling my fingers wondering how to go about doing it. :-D  Now all we need is to package your little page up into a dub package or something (personally I prefer just a tarball) and we're good to go. :-D


> Webassembly is a trash target but like been there done that.

Yeah TBH after dabbling with it a little I realized just how much it was still dependent on JS to do the heavy lifting.  You can't even pass strings across the JS/WASM boundary without truckloads of JS boilerplate.  The C-like API isn't officially part of the WASM standard yet, and they're still trying to figure out how GC might work. As far as I'm concerned, it's still early adopter tech, not yet stable enough for me to invest in.


> Of course there are some caveats in what works, there have been come contributions coming in from hipreme recently to extend it a lil.

Nice.  Can it handle WebGL yet?  I betcha that'd be the second question a newbie to D would ask after asking about WASM. :-P


T

-- 
I see that you JS got Bach.
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