[erlang-questions] Sharing data by reference

Tony Rogvall tony@REDACTED
Mon Mar 30 09:53:22 CEST 2009

On 30 mar 2009, at 01.49, Yogish Baliga wrote:
> I read in this post
> http://www.erlang.org/pipermail/erlang-questions/2009-March/ 
> 042503.html
> that compile time constants are in constant pool and are used by  
> reference in each process. This works well for compile time  
> constants. What about the the run-time constant, for example  
> configuration read from the file. This configuration remains  
> constant through-out the life time of the VM. Is it possible to put  
> that in the constant pool and have a reference to it in each process  
> instead of copying around?

A couple of years ago I implement a (yet an other) configuration  
system that
generated a module for some of the constants on the fly. At that time  
reason was to have a faster access to constants.

With the latest development using shared module constants this  
approach may
be even better.

Since compilation is a bit slow (compared to accessing the constants)
The rate the constants are updated should be slow :-)

The idea is basically:

- System change it's configuration.
- Generate some part of the configuration to a module.
- Compile and load that module.

If the configuration change is done asynchronously in a live system,   
some code may require
a consistent view of constants in the generated module (The constants  
are related somehow).
Then a access function reference may come in handy, since it will be  
connected to
the module version that it was created with.


-export([name/0, version/0, value1/0, value2/0]).

name() -> "System name".
version() -> "1.1".

value1() ->  100.
value2() -> 200.

Assume that value1 MUST be less than value2. Then we MAY have a  
problem when if this module is reloaded
while executing the following code:

	true = my_globs:value1() <  my_globs:value2().

Since the configuration may be reloaded between the calls to my_globs!
If we add an access function to my_globs:

-export([name/0, version/0, value1/0, value2/0]).

name() -> "System name".
version() -> "1.2".

value1() ->  50.
value2() -> 100.

access() ->
	fun(value1) -> value1();
	     (value2) -> value2()
% -

We can now use a transaction like test like:

	Access = my_globs:access(),
	true = (Access(value1) < Access(value2))

This will work as long the code is not reloaded twice during the  
evaluation of the 'Access' function.
In which case I guess the code would be killed anyway ;-)

Hope this may be useful idea.


> Thanx,
> -- baliga
> "The quality of programmers is a decreasing function of the density  
> of GOTO statements in the programs they produce." - Edsger W. Dijkstra
> http://dudefrommangalore.blogspot.com
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