Monday, July 11, 2016

Dictionary lookup - Garbage collection

If we need to use our keyed dictionary lookup functions for a purpose where we will change the values for any or all keys the string we save in dictionary$ will get larger each time we set a key and value.  This is because the setValueByName subroutine sets a key and value by adding onto the front of the dictionary$ variable but it does not remove any preexisting value for that key.  So if for example I set a key of "storeFolder" and a value of "c:\myStoreFolder" and then later I change the value to "c:\myOtherFolder" I will have two different entries for the key "storeFolder".  Only the latest value will be returned by the getValue$() function.

So, how do we fix this?  We implement a garbage collector.  We can create a subroutine that makes a copy of dictionary$ that only has the latest value for each key.

Here is a first stab at a garbage collector subroutine.

sub collectGarbage
  pointer = 1
  while pointer > 0
    'get the next key
    pointer = instr(dictionary$, "~key~", pointer)
    if pointer then
      keyPointer = pointer + 5
      pointer = instr(dictionary$, "~value~", pointer)
      key$ = mid$(dictionary$, keyPointer, pointer - keyPointer)
      if instr(keyList$, key$) = 0 then
        value$ = getValue$(key$)
        newDictionary$ = "~key~" + key$ + "~value~" + value$ + newDictionary$
        keyList$ = keyList$ + key$
      end if
    end if
  dictionary$ = newDictionary$
end sub