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Re: Problem with PFE approach [Was: Faster compilation speed]

On Friday, August 16, 2002, at 01:43  PM, Devang Patel wrote:

In both cases work around is same. A file needs to undef, as I explained in previous email.
I didn't see that on the PB list before I posted to the gcc list :)

At any rate, this seems like a horrific and non-obvious workaround. This is a support burden waiting to happen. (Of course, this header usage is silly, so I'm reaping the foul returns of the Win32 header design :)

Actually, it doesn't seem to work for me either... I'll take this up on the PB list, though...

It is a different model. All models which follows prefix header mechanism, will behave same as PFE.

I'm not a fan of prefix headers in general, certainly not for huge globs of crud like a PFE. As a stylistic issue, I really only like prefix headers for replacing simple -D flags on the command line and such.

I still maintain that the developer should not have to build and maintain a massive header for their project -- the IDE/compiler should deal with it transparently. This falls into the Achilles Heel area of free software -- moderately experienced developers can figure this stuff out, but Joe Bob is going to sit down with gcc and see that his project builds slowly and switch back to his proprietary compiler. Ease of use is important.

The fact that you have to build this massive single header that acts as a prefix header is the broken part -- implementation details like this should not be exposed to the user. Just like Apple doesn't make users manually configure their Apache server for personal web sharing, Apple shouldn't make their developers do a bunch of work to get decent compile speeds. It should "Just Work (TM)".

Clearly this is the ideal, but maybe it is too hard to realize this ideal. I'd feel remiss if I didn't point out this flaw in the PFE approach, though.


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