Using shared_ptr for refcounting - shared-ptr

I have a class whose objects are extensively used using shared_pointers. However, I want to track the usage of these objects and when the refcount goes to a particular value I want to delete the object. How can we do this ? I was thinking of overriding the shared_ptr's destructor so that I can decrement the refcount when every shared_ptr reference goes away. However, looks like that is not possible. What are the alternatives ?

You really wouldn't want to do that because if the refcount is greater than zero it means there are still pointers pointing to the object out there, probably intending to access it.
If you really wanted to do something like that, you'd have to make your own shared_ptr class, but I'd also add functionality for checking if the pointer is still valid since it might disappear on people.


Shared pointer in rust arrays

I have two arrays:
struct Data {
all_objects: Vec<Rc<dyn Drawable>>;
selected_objects: Vec<Rc<dyn Drawable>>;
selected_objects is guarenteed to be a subset of all_objects. I want to be able to somehow be able to add or remove mutable references to selected objects.
I can add the objects easily enough to selected_objects:
However, if I later try:
for obj in self.selected_objects.iter_mut() {
This gives a runtime error, which matches the documentation for get_mut: "Returns None otherwise, because it is not safe to mutate a shared value."
However, I really want to be able to access and call arbitrary methods on both arrays, so I can efficiently perform operations on the selection, while also being able to still perform operations for all objects.
It seems Rc does not support this, it seems RefMut is missing a Clone() that alows me to put it into multiple arrays, plus not actually supporting dyn types. Box is also missing a Clone(). So my question is, how do you store writable pointers in multiple arrays? Is there another type of smart pointer for this purpose? Do I need to nest them? Is there some other data structure more suitable? Is there a way to give up the writable reference?
Ok, it took me a bit of trial and error, but I have a ugly solution:
struct Data {
all_objects: Vec<Rc<RefCell<dyn Drawable>>>;
selected_objects: Vec<Rc<RefCell<dyn Drawable>>>;
The Rc allows you to store multiple references to an object. RefCell makes these references mutable. Now the only thing I have to do is call .borrow() every time I use a object.
While this seems to work and be reasonably versitle, I'm still open for cleaner solutions.

How does one implement weak references with Boehm GC?

I have a personal project which I implement using the Boehm GC. I need to implement a sort of event type, which should hold references to other events. But I also need to ensure that the events pointed to are still collectable, thus I need weak references for this.
Let's say we have events A, B and C. I configure these events to signal event X whenever any of them is signaled. This means A, B and C must hold a reference to event X. What I want is that if event X is unreachable the events A, B and C don't need to signal it anymore. Thus a weak reference is what I thought of.
Is there any other way to do this? I don't want to change the GC but if necessary (the allocation interface remains clean) I could.
The project is written in C. If need be, I will provide more info. Notably, if there is any way to implement such events directly with this semantics, there's no need for actual weak references (events MAY have a reference cycle though while they are not signaled).
The Boehm GC does not have a concept of weak references per se. However, it does not scan memory allocated by the system malloc for references to managed objects, so pointers stored in such memory do not prevent the pointed-to object from being collected. Of course, that approach means that the objects containing the pointers will not be managed by the collector.
Alternatively, it should be possible to abuse GC_MALLOC_ATOMIC() or GC_malloc_explicitly_typed() to obtain a managed object that can contain pointers to other managed objects without preventing those other objects from being collected. That involves basically lying to GC about whether some members are pointers, so as to prevent them from being scanned.
Either way, you also require some mechanism for receiving notice when weakly-referenced objects are collected, so as to avoid attempting to access them afterward. GC has an interface for registering finalizer callbacks to be invoked before an object is collected, and that looks like your best available option for the purpose.
Overall, I think what you're asking for is doable, but with a lot of DIY involved. At a high level,
use GC_MALLOC_ATOMIC() to allocate a wrapper object around a pointer to the weakly referenced object. Allocating it this way allows the wrapper to itself be managed by GC, without the pointer within being scanned during GC's reachability analyses.
use GC_register_finalizer to register a finalizer function that sets the wrapper's pointer to NULL when GC decides that the pointed-to object is inaccessible.
users of the wrapper are obligated to check whether the pointer within is NULL before attempting to dereference it.

Is it bad programming practice to store objects of type Foo into a static array of type Foo belonging to Foo in their construction?

Say I wanted to store objects statically inside their own class. Like this:
public class Foo
private static int instance_id = 0;
public static List<Foo> instances = new List<Foo>();
public Foo()
instances[instance_id++] = this;
I don't need to create unique array structures outside the class (one will do).
I want to map each object to a unique id according to their time of birth.
I will only have one thread with the class in use. Foo will only exist as one set in the program.
I did searching, but could find no mention of this data structure. Is this bad practice? If so, why? Thank you.
{please note, this question is not specific to any language}
There are a couple of potential problems I can see with this setup.
First, since you only have a single array of objects, if you need to update the code so that you have lots of different groups of objects in different contexts, you'll need to do a significant rewrite so that each object ends up getting associated with a different context. Depending on your setup this may not be a problem, but I suspect that in the long term this decision may come back to haunt you.
Second, this approach assumes that you never need to dispose of any objects. Imagine that you want to update your code so that you do a number of different simulations and aggregate the results. If you do this, then you'll end up having your giant array storing pointers to objects you're not using. This means that you'll (1) have a memory leak and (2) have to update all your looping code to skip over objects you no longer care about.
Third, this approach makes it the responsibility of the class, rather than the client, to keep track of all the instances. In some sense, if the purpose of what you're doing is to make it easier for clients to have access to a global list of all the objects that exist, you may want to consider just putting a different list somewhere else that's globally accessible so that the objects themselves aren't the ones responsible for keeping track of themselves.
I would recommend using one of a number of alternate approaches:
Just have the client do this. If the client needs to keep track of all the instances, just have them always create the array they need and populate it. That way, if multiple clients need different arrays, they can do so. You also avoid the memory leak issues if you do this properly.
Have each object take, as part of its constructor, a context in which to be constructed. For example, if all of these objects are nodes in a quadtree, have them take a pointer to the quadtree in which they'll live as a constructor parameter, then have the quadtree object store the list of the nodes in it. After all, it seems like it's really the quadtree's responsibility to keep track of everything.
Keep doing what you're doing, but using something with weak references. For example, you might consider using some variation on a WeakHashMap so that you do store everything, but if the objects are no longer needed, you at least don't have a memory leak.

Is there a way to ensure that a single reference to an object exists at a point in time?

I am not sure the practical value of such a thing, but I am wondering if in for example Java, an object can be instantiated so that if a variable holds a reference to it, no other variable can do so unless the first variable no longer does. The object could only be in a single list. Intuitively, this would correspond more to real life objects that can only be in one place at a time.

How to initialize a Ref<?> field in objectify to a dummy value

I have a collection(arraylist) of Ref `s ,the objectify documentation says that I need to initialize collections for them to be persisted and hence modified in the future.....
Now , Ref points to an object but when I launch my app for the first time I dont have any objects in the data whats the best way for me to initialize a dummy value......
Is my assumption that a Ref<> needs to point to a real object in the data store?
Two things:
You should just initialize an empty collection. You don't need to add anything to it. eg, field = new ArrayList<Ref<Thing>>();
It's actually not even required that you initialize the collection. It's just a good idea for reasons that will become apparent if you use the system for a while.