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Compiler optimisation of expressions containing #defines or constants

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  • Compiler optimisation of expressions containing #defines or constants

    Hi All,

    When trying to slim down my code I noticed the following unexpected behaviour -

    Line of code is

    if (sFull[znum] != xpts-1) sFull[znum]++;

    xpts is a constant, defined from another constant, eg

    #define totalx 100
    #define xpts totalx/2

    On changing the "xpts-1" term in the code to "49", which is the result of the #defines, it compiles using 3 less bytes. Is it actually doing the "-1" at run-time rather than optimizing it out ?

    Now if you code like I do and have lots of #defines to control operation this would result in a considerable saving.

    So now I'm just wondering how the pre-processor optimizes constants.....

    I did check that the memory usage was the same when using a #define or constant that contains an expression without using it in a line of code with further manipulation.

    NOTE - The #define is redeclared using the provided examples available on 4D website.

  • #2


    Hi Nicko,
    constant folding is applied as much as possible in the first pass of the compiler, optimizing any initializations , sizes etc. and attempts no rval otimizations.
    Second pass of the compiler generates intermediate language code with some minor optimizations on the fly (checks for unreachable code etc.)
    The third pass builds the actual code, and uses a rule based optimization scheme to analyse reduntant constant math.
    This phase of the compiler is quite tricky, and falls into the trap that many other compilers do regarding peephole optimization.
    Some of the seemingly simple optimizations become a major headache.
    We will continue to improve the compiler as time goes on, but as it stands at the moment, this one falls through the cracks.
    Regards,
    Dave

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