[PD] symbol anxiety

Phil Stone pkstone at ucdavis.edu
Mon Feb 23 00:28:33 CET 2009

Hi everybody,

Ever since I first started programming with Pd, I have had a vague 
anxiety about symbols, or to be more exact, symbol table growth.  Now, 
I've never run into a problem in real life, but the worry is still 
there, nagging at me, ever since I read on a Pd-list thread that each 
symbol takes up permanent, un-reclaimable space in a symbol table.  So, 
I've always been wary about employing many symbols, or having some 
dynamic process that creates many symbols on the fly.

Attached is [maketime], a lovely little timer/stopwatch.  I've long 
since lost track of who made it, so I'm sorry can't give you 
well-deserved credit here.  At any rate, it creates *at least* one 
symbol per second (probably more, I'm not sure if each [makefilename] 
generates a new symbol, but I'm guessing it does).  This makes me 
nervous, as I have no idea what the symbol table capacity is, or how to 
see how "full" it is.  It seems likely that this abstraction would crash 

A) Is it true that [maketime] would continually grow the symbol table?

B) Is it possible to tell how full the symbol table is?  How much memory 
is allocated to it in the first place?

C) Wouldn't it be nice to have some truly transient symbols, that could 
be abstraction-local, or at least, re-usable?


Phil Stone

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