ruby wish-list

Discussion in 'Ruby' started by Roger Pack, Oct 15, 2007.

  1. Roger Pack

    Roger Pack Guest

    My personal ruby wish-list (for any feedback):

    1) the ability to rescue arrays (or some way to rescue multiple classes
    without pain), like this:

    all_socket_interrupts_array = [SocketError, Errno::EHOSTUNREACH,

    # stuff
    rescue all_socket_interrupts # non ugly, yet precise!


    2) a GC that is 'user-definable' (run after this definable threshold,
    this often), and (asidedbly), a GC that can run in its own (native)
    thread so it doesn't pause execution of normal threads.

    3) an ensure block that's uninterruptible, a la:

    # do stuff
    # rescue stuff
    ensure_uninterruptible # (or call it ensure_critical)
    # do stuff which is guaranteed to get run, and not interrupted.

    4) the optional ability to have it display the whole backtrace on
    uncaught exceptions (and also for all existing threads).

    Guess that's it :)

    Any thoughts?
    Roger Pack, Oct 15, 2007
    1. Advertisements

  2. Roger Pack

    Alex Young Guest

    rescue *all_socket_interrupts_array => e

    Should work, I think. At least, it appears to under my brief tests...
    Alex Young, Oct 15, 2007
    1. Advertisements

  3. Roger Pack

    rogerdpack Guest

    Works great thanks Alex!
    rogerdpack, Oct 15, 2007
  4. Roger Pack

    Roger Pack Guest

    Thanks Matz.
    Comments on comments:
    Yeah a smarter collector would be even nicer.
    I agree. One definition would be to mark Thread.critical, then runs the
    block, then unmark. I would use it :)
    Good point :) My suggestions are thinning down quickly :)
    Roger Pack, Oct 15, 2007
  5. Bad idea in light of native threads IMHO. Every construct that halts
    all threads should be avoided. If you need exclusive access to
    resources you need to proper synchronize on them.


    Robert Klemme, Oct 15, 2007
  6. I meant: in the light of the fact that native threads will come at a
    certain point in time. Your suggested feature would make it
    unnecessarily complex and slow to use native threads (there would have
    to be regular synchronization on some hidden global lock, which defies
    the whole purpose of using (native) threads).

    Robert Klemme, Oct 15, 2007
  7. Roger Pack

    James Tucker Guest

    I don't really see the reason why the GC would need or want a specific thread to itself - for a start, such a design makes the system slower on low end systems. There may also be cases where it is possible to choose 'optimal' times to run the GC within a single thread context.

    One thing regarding the GC I am unsure about are the conditions under which the GC is actually run. One not uncommon problem with external libraries (classic and common example is RMagick) do not malloc using the correct api, Ruby often fails to call the GC, at all.

    A call to GC.start under these conditions can prevent an OOME, as calling GC.start does in fact cause RMagick to free memory - but ruby doesn't know about this.

    The simplest solution to this issue I can see is to ensure that the GC is run when an OOME occurs, or more particularly, all loaded extensions are told to free when an OOME occurs (this does not seem to happen under these conditions). Whilst I know this is not really the responsibility of Ruby, this simple addition could solve problems for quite a number of scripts, thus removing a FAQ.

    More regular GC runs may actually be sensible, depending on the real performance issues that might arise with longer running applications and fragmentation. A documented example of such a problem, and a solution is here:
    James Tucker, Oct 15, 2007
  8. Roger Pack

    Roger Pack Guest

    I agree. Thinking out loud...with a true 'native' threaded model I
    don't know if it would be a spectacular idea to be able to block all
    threads. I've often wondered how Ruby 1.9 will implement
    Thread.critical, at all. If it does attempt to, then maybe this
    suggestion (though aimed mostly at 1.8.6) might still be useful (if you
    don't mind the possible slowdown). If not then yeah--probably not worth
    the hassle :)

    Other suggestions of how ensure_uninterruptable might work (like 'this
    thread doesn't accept interruptions [thread_name.raise's] for awhile')
    seem like even worse ideas.

    The benefit of having such a feature in the first place would be that
    you can 'nest' timeouts and other code that executes
    other_thread_name.raise, without some dangerous issues cropping up when
    two raises occur very close to the same time. Or basically that you can
    execute other_thread_name.raise on more complex code without the
    drawbacks that might occur.

    An example of this is if you nest two timeouts one within another, and
    one happens to expire when the other is not finished processing its
    ensure block. This will possibly cause a 'random' exception to be
    raised on the origin thread later. I guess basically currently the use
    of other_thread_name.raise is dangerous, this would help that.

    Just my $.02
    Thought welcome.
    Roger Pack, Oct 15, 2007
  9. Roger Pack

    Roger Pack Guest

    So you'd prefer a few tweaks:
    So if it were someday created to run as a separate thread, you'd like to
    still be able to have a call 'GC.start.join' or what not, to let it
    finish during an 'optimal' time?

    And you'd prefer a small change to the GC such that it also starts on
    OOME's, correct?
    Wow I hope I never run into any memory issues like that!

    Yeah those also sound reasonable :)
    Wish lists have no bias :)
    Take care.
    Roger Pack, Oct 15, 2007
  10. Roger Pack

    Ari Brown Guest


    Not **quite** on topic of garbage collection.... But how hard would
    it be to create maybe a style of method creation that doesn't use
    the . to represent Object.behavior ?

    In retrospect, it seems like definitely a core language feature that
    may or may not be impossible to get at... But I figured I'd ask :)

    Also, Is there an easy/hard way to define new %{} style methods? Like
    for a Rope object, maybe %m{} or something.

    Just a newbie's musings.

    If you're not living on the edge,
    then you're just wasting space.
    Ari Brown, Oct 16, 2007
  11. Roger Pack

    Roger Pack Guest

    Define your code in the global namespace, like
    def a
    is a function a 'in the global namespace' -- no dots.
    Maybe hard code in the parent class?
    The way Rails does it is by say you do the command
    if it doesn't exist it catches the error thrown for non-existence, looks
    up how and then defines the method and returns it (redefines things
    Not sure.
    Roger Pack, Oct 17, 2007
  12. This has come up before - I can't find the thread, but I believe the
    answer was that it would hinder the ability to add new ones to the
    core (since that could potentially break code that had already defined

    Martin DeMello, Oct 17, 2007
  13. Roger Pack

    Roger Pack Guest

    GC wish list:
    Isn't it possible to create your own reference checking style object?
    Would this be possible, for example.

    Class Object

    attr_reader :internal_object # only used if you call
    new_with_timely_death_wrapper for your new call--see below
    def new_with_timely_death_wrapper class_to_use, *args
    @internal_object = *args # since this object is
    'only internal' deleting it later will be OK

    def assign_to_me this_wrapped_object
    @internal_object = this_wrapped_object.internal_object

    def do_method name, *args
    eval("@internal_object.#{name} *args") # ok there's probably a better
    way :) maybe object.internal_object.do_whatever args

    def dec
    @internal_object.count -= 1
    recycle_current_object if count == 0

    def inc
    @internal_object.count += 1

    def recycle_current_object
    # traverse internal members of @internal_object--force_recycle them,
    unless they're wrappers, then just dec them.

    def inc
    @internal_object.count += 1

    def go_out_of_scope
    self.force_recycle # we are toast :) -- this is scary and might not be


    Then the example:

    a = Array.new_with_timely_death_wrapper(0,0)
    b = Array.new_with_timely_death_wrapper(0,0) # only time you should use
    assign is on start
    b.assign_to_me a #recycle's b's object, assigns internal_object to a's
    internal_object.a, sets count to 2
    a.go_out_of_scope # a set to 1
    b.go_out_of_scope # a set to 0 -- recycled.

    Roger Pack, Oct 18, 2007
  14. Roger Pack

    Roger Pack Guest

    Another wish for Ruby would be the power to define ones own unary or
    binary operators.

    Like I wish I could define "is_within?' for arrays, like
    if element_x is_within? array_y
    # do stuff

    That would be sweet. If such a thing were possible, then one could
    really create code that looks like complete sentences :)
    My $.02 for the day.

    Roger Pack, Oct 19, 2007
  15. Oh, wishing star! Here are my wishes:

    1. Use "new" as the name of the constructor instead of "initialize".
    You can keep "initialize" around for legacy support; just "alias
    initialize new" for the future.

    This makes it easy to connect the dots: "" actually calls
    the "new" instance method of a newly instantiated object of class

    2. Fix the Ruby parser to treat // (literal regexp) just like the
    %r{...} (also literal regexp) construct so that you aren't forced to use
    parentheses in method calls:

    $ ruby -v
    ruby 1.8.6 (2007-03-13 patchlevel 0) [i686-linux]

    $ ruby -w -e '"foo".sub /o$/, "x"'
    -e:1: warning: ambiguous first argument; put parentheses or even

    $ ruby -w -e '"foo".sub %r/o$/, "x"'
    [observe lack of warning]

    This problem becomes especially apparent when you use gsub! or sub!:

    "foo".gsub! /o$/, "x" # IMHO, sweet!

    "foo".gsub! %r/o$/, "x" # IMHO, so-so!

    "foo".gsub!(/o$/, "x") # IMHO, ugly!

    Thanks for your consideration.
    Suraj Kurapati, Oct 20, 2007
  16. Roger Pack

    John Joyce Guest

    That can't be done now?!?

    arr = ['a', 'b']

    if arr.include? 'a'
    puts "array arr includes the letter 'a'"

    should be easy to do it the other way as well.
    John Joyce, Oct 20, 2007
  17. Roger Pack

    Roger Pack Guest

    cross-post from core:
    After examining how the 1.8.6 gc works, I had a few thoughts:


    It seems that on a 'cpu intensive' program (one that generates a lot of
    discardable objects--quite common), there is a competition between two
    aspects of the gc to call garbage_collect first. They are:

    1) If you run out of available heap slots ruby calls garbage_collect,
    "FREE_MIN" slots now exist (by default 4096) then it returns and leaves
    the heap the same size. It also resets the current 'malloc'ed bytes'
    counter to 0, since it called garbage_collect.

    2) If you reach GC_MALLOC_LIMIT of malloc'ed bytes, then it calls
    garbage_collect, resets it to 0.

    Anyway so what happens in today's implementations is that number 1 is
    called often (I believe) preventing number 2 from ever even springing,
    as it
    resets the current count of malloc'ed bytes. It's like garbage_collect
    trying to serve 2 masters, and ends up serving just the one. I see this
    as curious as it basically disallows GC_MALLOC_LIMIT from being reached,
    which is not what you would expect.


    On another point, I have a question on this line of code, run at the end
    of garbage collection:
    if (malloc_increase > malloc_limit) {
    malloc_limit += (malloc_increase - malloc_limit) * (double)live /
    (live + freed); // this line
    if (malloc_limit < GC_MALLOC_LIMIT) malloc_limit = GC_MALLOC_LIMIT;

    I haven't checked this, but it seems to me that It seems to me that
    (malloc_increase - malloc_limit) will always be a very small number (?)
    which may not be what was expected. I could be wrong.

    So my question is "what should the GC do, and when?
    Any thoughts?
    In my opinion, if it runs out of heap slots available, it should call
    garbage_collect AND increase the heap size (so that next time it won't
    run out, and will have enough to hopefully reach GC_MALLOC_LIMIT).

    I think when it does reach GC_MALLOC_LIMIT malloc'ed bytes, it should
    set it

    new_malloc_limit = GC_MALLOC_LIMIT *
    (1 - percent_of_recent_allocated_memory_that_was_freed)

    to allow the malloc_limit to change dynamically, maybe with a fixed max

    So my question is what should best happen?
    Ruby rox.
    Roger Pack, Oct 31, 2007
  18. Another wish for Ruby would be the power to define ones own unary or
    I guess it is possible:

    if element_x.is_within? array_y
    # do stuff

    Ruby is flexible enough again!

    Another wish list item would be being able to use "a {var_name}" instead
    of "a #{var_name}" I hate that extra pound, as it reminds me of perl :)

    Take care.
    rogerpack2005, Nov 5, 2007
  19. I wonder if that fact that regex's always with have two /'s might

    Now my own wish. I wish ruby didn't need ,'s for method parameters.
    Why are they always necessary?
    foo a b c # as long as a, b, and c aren't functions, and aren't
    operators, this could parse!
    Take care.
    rogerpack2005, Nov 5, 2007
  20. Roger Pack

    Roger Pack Guest

    Take care.
    I wish that ranges could be descending, like
    and that Range.to_a wouldn't become obselete, as it seems quite useful
    in rails!
    Roger Pack, Nov 6, 2007
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.