I’ve been helping here and there with a C++ developer get attuned to C# and web development lately. I’ve talked with C++ developers a number of times through the years and I tend to get the same sentiments over and over
1. that C++ is the most efficient language out there and nothing else can compete.
2. That .net is too inefficient to do any real work
My answer to #1 is: that depends on the developer — and code maintainability is more important to me than code efficiency. I’ve often brushed off for that answer, I guess I have to work on my delivery.
The second one is flat out wrong, but harder to answer. If your dealing with a die hard C++ developer your are dealing with a control freak (they will usually admit to that with a grin — as they should). But convincing a C++ developer that garbage collection is not a huge performance hit can be difficult without them experiencing it themselves.
Another part of this argument is that the things that a developer thinks are expensive are not. Like creating objects. I bring this up specifically because of web development, where for every page load, hundreds to thousands of objects are created every time — and then thrown away a moment later once the page is done loading.
So I devised a simple test. How many object can I create in a second using C#? Honestly, I didn’t know.
But first, my machine specs, because results will vary:
Windows Vista SP1
2 gig of ram (1 gig already used before my tests run)
2.4 GHz AMD Athlon 3800
4.1 Windows Experience Index
This is not a beast by any stretch — is isn’t even dual core!
Here is the class I’m creating
Here was my test:
Quick note: when you run your unit test through ReSharper, there is an option where it will time your tests for you. That is what I was using to time my tests. I’m sure if I had used a console application these number could have been even better.
My average time was 1.5 seconds to create 500,000 Customer objects and add them to a list. This also means I was creating 500,000 immutable string objects. Which is really 1,000,000 object created in 1.5 seconds.
Here are some further timings:
|Object Count||Time (seconds)|
When was the last you created that many object to make a web page?
Now a quick note. I’m sure you see an upward trend line forming with the data presented. 500,000 came out at 1:30 while 1,000,000 came out at 4.40 for instance. As with any technology, there comes a point where you are being plain stupid. If you are initializing 1,000,000 object to create a web page — you’re doing it wrong. If you are creating 1,000,000 object on a desktop program, I’d check your reasoning — and then I’d make sure it wasn’t happening too often.
So this is the same argument I give to people who don’t like ORMs because they feel the ORMs wont be efficient enough: this technology isn’t a licence to be stupid. You still have limitations to be aware of. But it is far better than the alternative 90% of the time.
Anyway, next up is getting him to understand the page life cycle, how to work with a stateless environment, and making him understand that Object Oriented development techniques still apply in these circumstances. It should be fun.