Vatsal Manot Vatsal Manot - 6 months ago 34
Swift Question

How can I make a container with copy-on-write semantics? (Swift)

I have a very large structure, which I want to ensure is not copied needlessly. How can I make a copy-on-write container for it?

Answer

It's simple:

public final class MutableHeapStore<T>: NonObjectiveCBase
{
    public typealias Storage = T

    public private(set) var storage: Storage

    public init(storage: Storage)
    {
        self.storage = storage
    }
}

public struct COW<T>
{
    public typealias Storage = MutableHeapStore<T>
    public typealias Value = T

    public var storage: Storage

    public init(storage: Storage)
    {
        self.storage = storage
    }

    public var value: Value
    {
        get
        {
            return storage.storage
        }

        set
        {
            if isUniquelyReferenced(&storage)
            {
                storage.storage = newValue
            }

            else
            {
                storage = Storage(storage: newValue)
            }
        }
    }

    public init(_ value: Value)
    {
        self.init(storage: Storage(storage: value))
    }
}

extension COW: CustomStringConvertible
{
    public var description: String
    {
        return String(value)
    }
}

The trick lies in asserting isUniquelyReferenced every time the boxed value is mutated. If the underlying storage object is singly referenced, nothing is to be done. However if another reference exists, one must create a new storage.

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