[pypy-dev] Why CFFI is not useful - need direct ABI access 4 humans

Markus Unterwaditzer markus at unterwaditzer.net
Sun Mar 30 11:20:11 CEST 2014

On Sun, Mar 30, 2014 at 12:05:06PM +0300, anatoly techtonik wrote:
> On Sat, Mar 29, 2014 at 3:58 PM, Markus Unterwaditzer
> <markus at unterwaditzer.net> wrote:
> > On Sat, Mar 29, 2014 at 02:49:00PM +0300, anatoly techtonik wrote:
> >> I know what C in CFFI stands for C way of doing things, so
> >> I hope people won't try to defend that position and instead
> >> try to think about what if we have to re-engineer ABI access
> >> from scratch, for explicit and obvious debug binary interface.
> >>
> >>
> >> CFFI is not useful for Python programmers and here is why.
> >>
> >> The primary reason is that it requires you to know C.
> >
> > You're using C if you're calling it from Python. Knowing the language (to some
> > degree) when using it is inevitable.
> This is the problem that I've tried to describe:
>      All standard Python tools for ABI level access require C knowledge.
> >> And knowing C requires you to know about OS architecture.
> >
> > The PyPy team (especially fijal) has always strongly discouraged from
> > porting Python code to C for performance. If you have a good reason to use C,
> > it is not surprising that you're going to be confronted with the dangers of
> > such a language. I am not sure if you're trying to make a point against C or
> > CFFI here.
> Against C. As I said, CFFI is good, but not enough to work conveniently with
> binary interfaces, and the reason for that is that it is C-centric.

I am not trying to dogmatize anything here, but i don't see a reason why
efforts should be made to eliminate that property you're seeing as a problem,
and i am not sure it'd be *worth it*. To me, the main usecase of CFFI seems to
be embedding existing C libraries, not directly accessing ABIs.

> I support fijal - my position is that rewriting the same code in faster language
> is not a way to solve performance problems. Language as a problem is a
> failed smoke test for app architecture.
> > I am also not sure if the rest of your post actually means anything, or if it
> > is just way above my head. But given that you're throwing around with
> > statements like "this is useless", i don't feel compelled or motivated to try
> > to understand your ramblings.
> Fair point. Thanks for the feedback. Sometimes I feel like I should just stop
> wasting my time on ideas, and start eating some pills so that I could better
> concentrate on a mindless coding.

That's not what i meant. It doesn't matter whether your ideas are good or bad:
The way you're formulating your ideas is incredibly insulting to authors of
existing solutions.

> -- 
> anatoly t.

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