A Pure C Implementation of Go Channels 🔄📣


Go channels are a powerful feature in the Go programming language that allows for easy and safe communication and synchronization between concurrent goroutines. While Go channels are highly regarded for their simplicity and effectiveness, implementing them in other languages can be a challenge.

This is where a project by @Rochus comes in. The project aims to provide a pure C implementation of Go channels, with blocking selects. While the term “pure” doesn’t imply “language purity,” it means that the library can be used with a C89 compatible toolchain without requiring any additional tools or libraries.

The Quest for C89 Compatibility 🚀⚙️

Reaching C89 compatibility is not an easy task, as pointed out by @kazinator. The author acknowledges that certain aspects of the code may not adhere to strict C89 rules, but the focus is on compatibility with C89 toolchains. In response to concerns about language purity, @Rochus highlights that it is an academic quibble since no C89 compatible toolchain perfectly adheres to the C89 standard.

@Rochus has updated the project description to reflect the goal more accurately. The library is now described as “A pure C (-std=c89) implementation of Go channels, including blocking and non-blocking selects.”

The Importance of Documentation and Community Engagement ✍️🗣️

Several users have raised valuable points about the need for better documentation. @openasocket emphasized the importance of documenting the API’s memory allocations, error handling, and potential edge cases. Additionally, @openasocket mentioned the need for benchmarks to assess the library’s performance.

@smabie contributed insights regarding the performance of ZeroMQ inproc sockets, citing potential latency issues. This highlights the importance of considering different options and their trade-offs when choosing a communication mechanism for a specific use case.

Leveraging Existing Libraries and Frameworks 📚🔌

Users also mentioned alternative libraries and frameworks that offer similar functionality. @Matthias247 and @samuell pointed out libmill and libdill, which provide lightweight tasks (coroutines), IO multiplexing, and async timers. However, it seems that using libmill together with this library may not be feasible due to potential blocking issues.

@Zambyte suggested considering ZeroMQ inproc sockets as an alternative. While ZeroMQ inproc sockets provide similar semantics to Go channels, @smabie highlighted potential latency issues that users should be aware of.

Conclusion 🏁✨

While implementing Go channels in C might not be a common task, @Rochus’s project provides an interesting and valuable approach for those who want to explore this implementation. The project’s compatibility with C89 toolchains makes it accessible to a wider range of developers.

The discussions surrounding this project highlight important aspects such as language compatibility, documentation, performance considerations, and alternative libraries. By incorporating these insights, developers can make informed decisions when choosing communication mechanisms for their concurrent applications, whether they are using Go channels or exploring other options in languages like C.

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