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Matthew Wild wrote:
> I've come into a little debate recently. We're working on an API,
> which will be used to create *lots* of small objects. Performance is
> critical above everything else (don't shout at me for this :) ).

Measure first, then optimize.

> The debate is whether to represent objects the standard way - as
> tables of methods (the methods being closures for efficiency),

That's what the __index table is for: shared method lookup across
instances. Making them closures (over the instance?) is pointless.

> or as just a single closure each, that takes the method name as
> its first parameter, and has if/elseif. We're looking at about a
> dozen fixed methods max per object.

Why do you want to replace a hash table lookup with a chain of
linear comparisons? Why do you think you can beat Lua's hash table
lookup? Hint: you can't.

> The latter seems like it would win out, and produce less garbage, etc.

No it doesn't. Shared methods have zero per-instance cost. Adding
a dozen closures for every instance is expensive.

> The downsides are obvious - it isn't possible (well, easily) to add
> properties to the object dynamically- so I don't want to do it
> needlessly. Is this the only thing I'm trading for speed?

Needless complexity comes to mind ...

> One of the main things I'm also interested in is which approach would
> be most JIT-friendly. The latter representation of objects is
> uncommon, so I'm concerned LuaJIT may already be optimised for
> tables-as-objects, and I'll be wasting my time.

LJ2 very happily deals with metatables and can hoist most method
lookups out of the inner loops. And the remaining hash table
lookups with constant keys are extremely cheap (zero or one
machine code instruction in the dependency chain). I doubt you can
make that go any faster ...

> In anticipation of replies... the argument that any gain wouldn't be
> noticeable and therefore isn't worth it doesn't really hold out...
> *everything* becomes noticeable once you multiply by a large number :)

Ah, but, of course. The downsides of this strange approach will
certainly be noticeable (especially once you're stuck with it).