Calling internal functions - foo::bar() ?

Kostis Sagonas kostis@REDACTED
Mon Mar 7 20:36:12 CET 2005

"Thomas Lindgren" <thomasl_erlang@REDACTED> replied to my post:
 > >  > Introducing :: may, as you say, still be a bad idea.
 > > 
 > > Indeed it is.  A very bad one in fact.
 > Given the prevalence of export_all all the way to
 > deployed code, there still seems to be a customer, er,
 > developer need for this sort of functionality :-)

Just in case some of my points were too implicit, let me make them
more explicit:

Most of us agree that "export_all" is a terrible kludge, but some
feel that is is occasionally helpful in developing/debugging.

However bad it may be, note that at least it has the property that
it allows the compiler to optimize internal functions in modules
that do NOT contain an "export_all".  This is something detectable
at compilation time (i.e., when the .beam file is generated) and
trivially also detectable by using "grep".

The BEAM/native code code compiler is thus allowed to say: "Aha, the
programmer has used an export_all in this module; I will punish her
by not performing any optimizations in that module, and will only
optimize the internal functions in the rest of her modules."

The latter is possible _because_ there is currently no construct to
call internal functions.

In the presence of a :: construct, no sophisticated optimizations
are possible to perform without having a fall-back mechanism.
This puts an unnecessarily big implementation effort to the compiler's
optimizer and significantly increases the size of the generated .beam

Good that the OTP team opted against it.


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