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I ran across some of these same issues (and some others) trying to create a Perl wrapper for STL sets and priority queues. My solution was incomplete, and the module never quite made it to CPAN, but maybe the experience could be useful. If anyone wants to take a look at the code, email me (educated underscore foo at yahoo) and I'll be happy to tar it up and send it.

First, implementing the data structure manipulation in C is a big win, as is using C for the comparison function. So when creating an instance of the data structure, you can either pass in a code ref or a special value for the standard number and string comparisons ({NUM,STR}_{LT,GT}). With one of these special values, the C code does the appropriate comparison directly.

Second, I just punted on modifying elements that had already been inserted. This is the wrong decision for heaps, but it makes the interface much simpler, and I had recently been traumatized by Heap::Element. For ordered trees, it's not as bad -- the implementation has to remove the old value and re-insert the new one anyways, so you can just do that yourself (or create a Perl member function to do it). I like your idea of returning a reference, though I probably wouldn't use a real Perl reference. For one thing, it needs to keep some sort of index into your data structure. For another, a tied scalar with a STORE method will look nicer.

Third, arrays are handled naturally in Perl, and RAM is cheap, so I avoided iteration with callbacks. Instead, I provided a range() function to take slices of ordered sets:

$x->range($a, $b) Return all elements $i in $x such that $a <= $i < $b. If $a is undef, treat it as less than all elements in $x. If $b is unde +f, treat it as greater than all elements in $x.
So you do things like this:
@foo = grep { something } $x->range($a, $b) $y->insert($x->range($a, $b))
This leaves efficient joins and splits unaccounted for, of course. I was planning on having a second function just like range() to grab opaque slice objects, which could then be put into existing trees (join) or used to create new ones (split). Then I ran into some wierd XS/Inline::CPP problems and moved on before figuring out what was going on.

Finally, it's nice to be able to insert arrays of things in a single call, rather than looping over them.

Good luck,

In reply to Re: Standardized Interface Design for Search tree by educated_foo
in thread Standardized Interface Design for Search tree by demerphq

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