Things I Learnt The Hard Way - Optimization Is For Compilers

1 minute read Published: 2019-07-15

Let say you need more performance on your application. You may be tempted to look at your code and think "How can I keep this same logic and still remove a few cycles, so things seem to go faster?" Well, if you want performance, you need to change your logic.

But before jumping into the code, you may have to check your compiler options. Maybe you're not generating the optimized version. Maybe there is an option that you don't use that you can remove from the compilation.

'Cause "optimization" is what a compiler is for. They know where they can extract most of the underlying architecture, and people have been finding ways to make the compiled code more performance for decades. Heck, compilers can even delete parts of your code 'cause they can "see" that a piece of code will always produce the same result and, thus, isn't necessary and they will just put the same result where that piece of code was.

What you need to do is to think about a better design for your code, not how to improve the current code. And trying to trick the compiler by messing with the types, although may produce faster code, will really screw you in the future -- specially cause maintenance and code understanding will take long and figuring out what went wrong will always be harder.

Code is written for humans to read. ALWAYS. Optimization is what compilers do. So find a smarter way to explain what you're trying to do instead of using shorter words or messing with that your code is saying.

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