random memes }

Musing about cumulative impact

About 15 years back I was working on a C++ GUI application with a cyclic workload and a lot of string manipulation. For both performance and reliability I came up with a lightweight string class that did allocations off a free list. The class benchmarked well, and performed very well in practice. About 10 years back I started writing a C++ back-end bulk processing application with massive string manipulation, and re-used the same lightweight string (with excellent results). Five years back I again ran benchmarks (with good results) and wrote up the results.

The lightweight string class is simple enough to be reproduced from memory (nothing over-complicated), but can make quite a difference in performance. I had hoped to make a point.

Since posting, after the initial burst, the articles have collected what looks like a few new hits, every day, for the past five years. Counting hits is a pretty foggy indicator, but it seems possible quite a few folk have read the article (though a relatively small fraction of the programming community). Some may have copied the C++ string class in their code. (What I hoped!)

But there is no sure way of knowing. What is the cumulative impact of this steady trickle of readers?