Wednesday, October 28, 2009

DevDays

Posted by Hidayat Hidayat at 8:46 AM
If you want to see some interesting chatter, take a look at the Dev Days backchannel on Twitter. It's very amusing. There's lots of ignorant hyperbole, including claims that Apple is the most evil thing on the planet because they chose to use Objective-C along with the typical complaints that it's not what they're used to, so it's bad, or ugly.

There's also a fair amount of positive chatter as well. It's interesting to see just how different people's opinions can be.

Most of the negative comments are just people expressing their honest (though sometimes ignorant or ill-informed) opinions, but some are just downright snarky as well as being ignorant.

I know most of my readers know this, but Objective-C has a garbage collector. A really, really good garbage collector. Apple chose not to use it for the iPhone SDK (yet) because the iPhone is an embedded device with processor and memory constraints. It was felt that the benefit to the programmer of not having to do some basic memory management was simply not worth the overhead cost. Unlike languages like Java or C#, we have the flexibility to do memory management manually when there's a performance reason to do so.

There's a reason why GC didn't become popular earlier than it did. On slower, single-core machines (especially ones with limited memory or without virtual memory), the overhead of GC is non-trivial. Discarding a technique because it's no longer popular is idiotic. Discarding it because it's no longer valuable makes sense, but understanding memory management always has value, and in this case, using it very much has value.

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