28 Mar 2001 yole   » (Journeyer)

We have a very nice exception handling system... except for it doesn't work

Today, finally, after a couple of days of totally unproductive coding and a sudden inspiration, I've fixed the exception emulation system in the C++ libraries of our project at work.

We have a set of class libraries that is supposed to be portable between Win32 and various hand-held devices (Palm, EPOC, WinCE), but the small devices do not provide C++ exception handling, and the libraries rely on it heavily. So last summer we implemented a complex exception emulation framework with more or less complete support for stack unwinding. It worked very fine, pushing objects on the stack and pulling them from there, except for one minor thing: every time you threw an exception, it crashed.

Nobody did any active development for the devices, so nobody pushed too hard to get this thing fixed, but now the time came that my colleagues needed the code working. The project that I promised to do in two or three days (updating the code for the latest version of the Symbian platform and fixing the exceptions) stretched into more than two weeks of Web surfing, complaining about the bloated emulator that loads for 3 minutes and hangs your PC to death once in a while and other not really productive tasks. Well, I did write some code, but not too much of it...

And today at last, after my colleague advised me to look if the problem could be reproduced in a minimal test under Win32, I found the reason of the problem in just some half an hour... (When working on something that is totally uninteresting and unmotivating, I sometimes feel like I'm doing everything possible to avoid getting the problem solved. Not a really professional attitude, I guess.)

When I saw the reason, I first thought that it was theoretically impossible to get the problem fixed. But once I explained the problem in details to my friend over ICQ, I immediately came up with the solution... So much for having someone to listen to you, even if he doesn't say a word.

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