I’ve been experimenting with coroutines recently and I found that information on C++ coroutines are very difficult to find. I’m planning to write a series of C++ coroutine blogs on how to use C++ coroutines, how they work, and how to write your own library that uses C++ coroutines. My last post Basic Concepts are probably a bit too high-level and is not really meant for people who are new to C++ coroutines. So I’m going to start over with a simple C++ coroutine tutorial instead.
It is sort of puzzling for me why C++ standard doesn’t have a implementation of reader/writer lock. So just like every other C++ developer, I’ve decided to roll my own.
I’ve been spending some time looking at how to wrap some of our existing C API that is based on completion callbacks, with C++ coroutines. I just got it working tonight and I thought I’d document what I’ve learned in this process and hopefully help other folks. My focus is the stackless coroutine / resumable functions proposed by Gor Nishanov et al and it is supported by Microsoft VC++ and Clang. I won’t be talking about boost::coroutine. I also won’t be talking about how to use coroutines - this is about how to write your own light-weight coroutine plumbing for library authors.
If you come from a C++ programming background, you are most likely already familiar with C++’s template code bloat problem. Each template instantiation gets its own copy of the code (of course, compiler/linker can optimize by throwing away unused methods). The reason being that C++ template are more like C macro on steriods. I know this is a great simplification, but at the end of the day, it is pretty much a code expansion feature with type safety. This grants C++ some powerful capabilities that C# developers don’t have - like template specialization, or calling arbitary methods on a template class, or a whole different programming paradigm that’s known as template meta-programming. On the other hand, .NET generics require you to define what operations can be perform on T using constraints (otherwise you are limited to a small set of operations such as casts, assignments, etc). However, this does give .NET a unique advantage - it can do a better job at code sharing.